Riverkeeper event goes on despite rain

Published 4:44 pm Monday, May 6, 2019

WEST POINT — The threat of thunderstorms may have canceled the fourth annual Chattahoochee Valley River Rally, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of those who showed up for a low county boil and music at the Downtown River Park in West Point.

Henry Jacobs, Middle Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Outreach Director, made the decision to cancel the three-mile paddle trip from Hardley Creek Park to Downtown River Park due to the threat of harsh weather. However, he said people showed up to the pavilion for live music and food from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“I was happy to see the folks who came out and joined us,” Jacobs said. “The rain kind of picked up for a brief moment, but people hung out.”

He said the crowd was about a quarter of the size that the organization hoped for, noting the weather kept some people away. He said Riverkeeper is considering rescheduling another paddle, but it wouldn’t be until the fall.

“We did what we came to do, which was raise awareness of Riverkeeper,” Jacobs said. “All the folks were there to support us and the proceeds from the food and those who signed up for memberships went to supporting the West Point Lake Floating Classroom.”

The West Point Floating Classroom is a 420-foot vessel that Riverkeeper operates on West Point Lake to teach school and community groups about basic environmental stewardship about water, Jacobs said.

He said the school has about 4,000 students and adults on the boat each year, and since 2015, there have been 13,000 people on the boat.

“We are working with the schools, and they bring students out of the classroom,” Jacobs said.

The program is about two or three hours long and it lines up with the educational standards of Georgia and Alabama. He said the lessons on the floating classroom are reinforcing what teachers are teaching in the physical classroom.

“The majority of students we serve are the kids that need the experience the most,” he said. “They have usually never been on a boat before and have never been on West Point Lake before.”

For more information about the Riverkeeper or the floating classroom, contact Jacobs, at hjacobs@chattahoochee.org.