Sally Bethea

Sally Bethea, Founding Director

Sally Bethea is the founding director and riverkeeper of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper; she served in this capacity for 20 years until 2014, when she retired and became a senior advisor to the organization.

Sally has an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in city planning from Georgia Tech, and an honorary doctorate from LaGrange College — as well as more than 30 years of experience in environmental issues. She has served on the national boards of Waterkeeper Alliance and River Network, the Georgia Board of Natural Resources (1999-2007) and EarthShare oF Georgia. Currently, she is a member of the board of trustees of LaGrange College.

In 2012, Sally received the James R. Compton River Achievement Award from River Network for leading, educating and advocating for clean water in the Chattahoochee River Basin and throughout the country. Also in 2012, she was named a “Hero of the New South” in the Eco-Preservation category by Southern Living magazine. In 2008, Georgia River Network established the Sally Bethea River Champion Award and recognized her as its first recipient. That same year, she received the Ullman Innovative Leadership Award presented by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. Sally was named one of the 100 Most Influential or Most Notable Georgians by Georgia Trend magazine in 2002-2008 and 2012-2014,

Other recognition of Sally’s work includes being named one of the 100 Most Influential Atlantans in 2001 and 2002 by theAtlanta Business Chronicle and receiving the 1998 Southern Environmental Leadership Award from Southern Environmental Law Center and the Water Conservationist of the Year Award from the Georgia Wildlife Federation in 1989. She has lived in Atlanta’s Ansley Park neighborhood for more than three decades and is the proud mother of two grown sons, Charles and Robert.