Our Conference

May 23-24, 2017
Charlottesville, Virginia



Thank you for joining us for the 8th Annual Choose Clean Water Conference! Over 230 attendees joined us on May 23-24 in Charlottesville, Virginia for indepth discussions on our work throughout the watershed. Here are some resources that you may find helpful after the conference:

Conference Presentations

See full conference program 

Thank you to our premier sponsors! 


See our full sponsor list here


*Don't miss out on this year's office hours!*
Wondering what type of website platform to use or how to reach students
in your area with a communications campaign? Sign up for the Communications
Office Hours to speak with an expert on your communications questions. Are you
looking to incorporate more diversity, equity, and inclusion work into your
organization's mission and don't know where to start? Sign up for office
hours with Vernice Miller-Travis from Skeo. You can find the timeslots
available on the sign up form.

8:00 AM  Registration Opens

9:00 AM  Welcome to Charlottesville - Mayor Michael Signer

9:15 AM  Breakfast with Opening Plenary - Mustafa Ali, Hip Hop Caucus

10:00 AM Two Hour Workshops

Track 1: Diversity Equity and Inclusion/Environmental Justice

Walking the Talk: Applying an Environmental Justice Lens to Break Through to a New Community
Maryland League of Conservation Voters

Track 2: Agriculture

Innovative Approaches: Environment, Communications & Farming 
Fair Farms and Waterkeepers Chesapeake

Track 3: Communications

Survey Says: Using Polling to Frame Communications Campaigns
Spitfire Communications, Piedmont Environmental Council

Track 4: Collaboration

Diversifying Your Partnership: The Anacostia Experience 
Anacostia Watershed Society, Zion Baptist Church of Eastland Gardens,
East River Family Strengthening Collaborative, Anacostia Waterfront Trust

12:00 PM Lunch with Plenary - Steve Nash, University of Richmond

1:00 PM One Hour Sessions

Track 1: Diversity Equity and Inclusion/Environmental Justice

Tools for EJ: Authentic Community Engagement 
Trash Free MD, National Aquarium, Audubon Naturalist Society, National Aquarium, 
Interfaith Partners of the Chesapeake 

Track 2: Agriculture

Agriculture and America's Best Idea
National Parks Conservation Association

Track 3: Communications

Conservation Through Aviation

Track 4: Collaboration

Public Access for Profit...And Not
Piedmont Environmental Council, Rivanna Conservation Alliance, Grelen Nursery, 
Rivanna River Company, City of Charlottesville


2:00 PM Field Trips

Pollocks Branch Walkable Watershed Walking Tour - Skeo, James River Association,
City of Charlottesville
Walking tour of Charlottesville demonstrating how the Walkable Watershed process links
the concepts of clean waters and healthy communities to improve creeks and
neighborhoods simultaneously.

(SOLD OUT) Jefferson's River: An Economic & Community Asset - James River Association, 
Rivanna River Company
Participants will float a portion of the Rivanna River, a James River tributary,
highlighting a multitude of cultural, local economy, historic, restoration and public
river access projects and landmarks.

(SOLD OUT) Stream Monitoring: Engaging People & Influencing Decision-makers - Rivanna
Conservation Alliance, Audubon Naturalist Society, Izaak Walton League
Macroinvertebrate collection and identification, and bacteria monitoring and identification.

(SOLD OUT) Birds-eye view of the Rappahannock Basin - Piedmont Environmental Council,
Ecosystem Services, Friends of the Rappahannock, Grelen Nursery
Enjoy a moderate hike along the recently developed Montpelier-Grelen Trail in the
Southwest Mountains, the divide between the Rappahannock and York watersheds.

(SOLD OUT) Fly With SouthWings - SouthWings
Aerial tours of Charlottesville and surrounding area 

Flying a Drone for Conservation - Back Creek Conservancy, Severn River Association
The Flying a Drone for Conservation field trip will try to cover all the fundamentals:
deciding what you need; regulatory requirements for commercial use; pilot licensing;
deployment from land and boats; privacy issues; videography; image interpretation;
and communicating results. Basic drone
flight will be demonstrated and attendees will
have opportunity to try to operate.

Stormwater Success: Tour of The Dell at University of Virginia - University of Virginia
The tour will include a visit to (1) The Dell, a hybrid BMP that encompasses approximately
11 acres on the University of Virginia (UVA) campus and is laid out as a park providing
recreation and education opportunities for the community and wildlife habitat in an urban
setting, (2) Garrett Hall Green Roof – An example of an green roof that doubles as usable
space for those looking for an outside place to sit and relax, (3) Cabell all Biofilter, a
recently completed biofilter that provides a park like setting in a courtyard between two
historic buildings, and (4) the historic Rotunda, with renovations recently completed
including stormwater control in the form of permeable pavement.  

Art for Conservation - ariadnART
Learn and share your experiences with the Chesapeake Bay watershed through a
painting session at the Omni



8:00 AM  Breakfast Roundtables
Public Need and Necessity for Natural Gas Pipelines: Is there a need? 
Kirk Bowers, Sierra Club
The Land, Water, Food Connection: How can we all work together?
Caitlin Wall, Potomac Conservancy, Jennifer Miller Herzog, Land Trust Alliance,
and Kristen Suokko, Local Food Hub
Meet the Press: Press Outreach 101
Brian Wheeler, C-Ville Tomorrow, Nora Neus, NBC29, Sefe Emokpae, CBS19
Using Natural Defenses to Adapt to Climate Change - Avalon Bristow, National Wildlife Federation
Holding Our Elected Officials Accountable-Peter Marx, Choose Clean Water
Coalition and Maddie Urbish, New Jersey Audubon
Stormwater Success Stories - TBA
Choose Clean Water Coalition Strategic Planning - Angie Rosser, WVRC and Jim Foster, AWS
Choose Clean Water Coalition Communications Work Group Meeting 
Young Professionals of Color Mentorship Program Meeting 

9:00 AM  It's The Final Countdown, To the Mid-point Assessment
Rich Batuik, Chesapeake Bay Program and Beth McGee, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

10:00 AM One Hour Sessions

Track 1: Diversity Equity and Inclusion/Environmental Justice

Creating a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy for Chesapeake Bay Funders
and Watershed Organizations 
Skeo, Choose Clean Water, Chesapeake Bay Funders Network

Track 2: Stormwater

RiverWise Education
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Bidford Middle School

Track 3: Communications

OneWatershed: How Young People Rate Our Messaging
West Virginia Rivers Coalition

Track 4: Collaboration

Better Together: Lessons Learned From the Merger of Two Local Watershed Group
Rivanna Conservation Alliance, Water Words that Work

11:00 AM One Hour Sessions

Track 1: Diversity Equity and Inclusion/Environmental Justice

Creating a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy for Chesapeake Bay Funders
and Watershed Organizations
Skeo, Choose Clean Water, Chesapeake Bay Funders Network

Track 2: Stormwater

This Is Stormwater Jeopardy!
James River Association and Choose Clean Water Coalition

Track 3: Communications

Making Connections in an Ecosystem
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

Track 4: Collaboration

Ewe Care About Clean Water?
Land Trust Alliance and Piedmont Environmental Council

12:00 PM Lunch - Panel Discussion on Political Landscape
Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania,
Maryland League of Conservation Voters, West Virginia Rivers Coalition,
Delaware Nature Society, New York League of Conservation Voters 

1:00 PM One Hour Session

Track 1: Diversity Equity and Inclusion/Environmental Justice

Building Cultural Competence Workshop (4 hour session)

Track 3: Communications

How to Sell Riparian Buffers to Farmers 
Bobby Whitescarver 

Track 4: Collaboration

Designing for Coastal Climate Resilience 
University of Virginia