RiverWay summit set for March 5-6 at Blackshear

Preserving and promoting this region’s river valleys will be the focus of the nonprofit RiverWay South’s 2009 summit set for March 5-6 at the Lake Blackshear Resort Conference Center, on the shore of Georgia’s 8,700-acre Lake Blackshear in Veterans Memorial State Park near Americus.

Representatives from 60 counties are to discuss working together to promote the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint River system, often called the ACF.

Here are the speakers and topics for the two-day summit:

Former W.C. Bradley Foundation director Peggy Theus provides a template for cities that want to grow while preserving their natural and cultural resources.

Susan Peacock, a senior community economic development consultant with the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, will present ACF success stories.

Grey Brennan of the Alabama Department of Tourism talks about tourism from a marketing perspective. A former broadcaster, Brennan is the marketing manager and supervisor of the department’s marketing and group travel division.

Bruce Means, executive director of Coastal Plains Institute and adjunct professor of biology at Florida State University, gives a virtual eco-tour of Florida’s coastal and marine ecosystems. Danny Bivens outlines Project RiverWay and three years of achievements along the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola rivers.

Patricia Simmons, a United States Department of Agriculture rural development specialist, will talk about getting grants for community projects.

Wade Harrison from the Nature Conservancy will delve into protecting the environment amid sprawling development.

Folklorist Fred Fussell will discuss recognizing and protecting the region’s unique cultural resources.

Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Carol Couch will address the state’s water issues.

To find out more or register for the conference, visit www.riverwaysouth.org, e-mail Carole Rutland at crutland@knology.net or call 706-566-5267.