Keeping the Chattahoochee: Sally Bethea to Discuss New Book about Her Efforts to Protect an Essential Southern Waterway

Sally Bethea on Keeping the Chattahoochee

| 07:00 pm - 08:00 pm

The University of Georgia Press, Avid Bookshop, and the Athens-Clarke County Library invite the public to an author event and book signing with Sally Bethea in celebration of her book Keeping the Chattahoochee: Reviving and Defending a Great Southern River on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, from 7pm-8pm at the public library. There will be a book signing after the discussion.


Sally Sierer Bethea was one of the first women in America to become a “riverkeeper”—a vocal defender of a specific waterway who holds polluters accountable. In Keeping the Chattahoochee, she tells stories that range from joyous and funny to frustrating—even alarming—to illustrate what it takes to save an endangered river. Her tales are triggered by the regular walks she takes through a forest to the Chattahoochee over the course of a year, finding solace and kinship in nature.

For two decades, Bethea worked to restore the neglected Chattahoochee, which provides drinking water and recreation to millions of people, habitat for wildlife, and water for industries and farms as it cuts through the heart of the Deep South. Pairing natural and political history with reflective writing, she draws readers into her watershed and her memories. Bethea’s passion for the natural world—and for defending it with a strong, informed voice animates this instructive memoir. Offering lessons on how to fight for our fundamental right to clean water, Bethea and her colleagues take on powerful corporate and government polluters. They strengthen environmental policies and educate children, reviving the great river from a century of misuse.


Sally Sierer Bethea is the retired founding director of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. She served as executive director and riverkeeper for two decades and continues to assist Chattahoochee Riverkeeper as a senior advisor. Bethea also publishes a monthly column, Above the Waterline, in Atlanta Intown. She lives and writes in midtown Atlanta.

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