Recent Berry College graduate Ashley Ray joined the Coosa River Basin Initiative (CRBI) staff as Outreach Coordinator earlier this month. 

A Chattanooga native, Ray previously served as a Crew Member for the Southeast Conservation Corp based out of Chattanooga, where she spent several months building and restoring trail systems along the Hiwassee River to prevent excess rainwater runoff. 

She is a 2015 graduate of Berry College, where she studied Environmental Science.  She is currently seeking a Masters in Business Administration at Berry College, through which she has discovered a passion for marketing.

As Outreach Coordinator, she will be responsible for acting as a liaison between CRBI and local communities to promote CRBI efforts; develop and lead educational programs; plan and coordinate events; and promote CRBI’s online and social media presence.

“I’ve always wanted to be on the front lines of protecting our water so this is a dream job for me,” Ray said. “I’m looking forward to working with Coosa River communities to make a difference for our drinking water.”

As Ray joins the organization, Advocacy and Communication Coordinator and former Executive Director Joe Cook is stepping down from his position. Cook leaves the organization after nearly two decades of involvement, including 10 years serving as Executive Director, to pursue his work with Georgia River Network. Cook organizes the organization’s annual Paddle Georgia event, a week-long canoe and kayak adventure, and is also producing a series of river guidebooks.

“My years at CRBI have shown me the power of the people in our Coosa River communities,” Cook said. “It has been an inspiration seeing citizens stand up for what they believe in and create change.”

Jesse Demonbreun-Chapman will continue to lead the organization as Executive Director and Rivekeeper. “We’re excited to have Ashley on board and the energy that she brings to the organization.” Demonbreun-Chapman said. “I can’t overstate our gratitude for Joe and the years of service he has given to this organization.”