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Waccamaw Conference scheduled for Feb. 9

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Winyah Rivers Foundation and its Waccamaw Riverkeeper program, along with its partners North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium and Horry County (S.C.) Museum, will host the 2019 Waccamaw Conference from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Horry County Museum, 805 Main St. in Conway, S.C.

Learn about the important connections between our coastal communities and the land, rivers and ocean at this free and family-friendly public education event. The Waccamaw Conference is an opportunity to increase community involvement in the protection and appreciation of the rivers and coasts that we all depend on.

This year’s theme is “The Journey of Trash: Pollution to Solution,” highlighting common sources and impacts of trash in waterways throughout the Winyah Bay Watershed and what you can do to help. Understanding the journey of trash from land-based sources all the way to the ocean helps communities better protect our local waterways to ensure fishable, swimmable, drinkable water for our future.

The 2019 Waccamaw Conference will feature presentations, interactive exhibits and a student poster contest. This year’s speaker is Dr. Stefanie Whitmire of the Clemson Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science. She will discuss her research on microplastics on the South Carolina coast in her talk. It also will host “Let’s Get Trashy: Discussing the Journey of Trash with the Experts,” a panel discussion with local experts including Kelly Thorvalson, S.C. Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital; Ranger Mike Walker, Huntington Beach State Park; Michelle LaRocco, Georgetown County (S.C.) Environmental Services Division; Michael Hughes, Horry County Solid Waste Authority; and Bo Ives, Keep Horry County Beautiful.

Students (K-12th grade and post-secondary) will participate in a poster contest that will showcase the work of individuals or groups within the categories of science and art. Posters will be displayed during the conference and special time will be dedicated to allow attendees the opportunity to meet the poster presenters and ask questions.