Opening Ceremony

Drum roll please…

With the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympics still fresh in our minds, it seemed appropriate to have our own introductory parade of Team Water!  I wanted to introduce you to my teammates, those who have taught, inspired, challenged, and led me this summer.  Each member of Team Water gives something vital to our team: each member contributes in his or her own unique way which makes Team Water worthy of much more text than I’ve given them here.

Marilyn Hall: The staunch leader of Team Water, Marilyn has been working at the Water Conservation Office for 3 years.  Her kids affectionately call her a “water conservation geek,” and she has been a lifelong water enthusiast.  She grew up in San Diego, a city that only receives about 11 inches of rain a year, so if anyone is prepared for the drought we’re currently experiencing, it’s Marilyn.  She hopes to instill a water conservation ethic in the Athens community, through educational programs, running and participating in festivals, and other community outreach opportunities.

Laurie Loftin:The education specialist of Team Water, Laurie has been working at the Water Conservation Office for just over a year.  When she began working here, her outlook on the importance of water changed: it is necessary to everything!  She hopes to foster that same appreciation she found for water within the rest of the Athens community.  Laurie believes that a greater understanding of the role water plays in our everyday lives leads to a desire to protect this valuable natural resource.  As Mark Twain said, “water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.”

Will Cottrell: An offsite member of Team Water, Will is the Operations Coordinator of the JG Beacham Water Treatment Plant (on Barber St).  He is the resident tour-expert there, and is now also teaching kids and adults about water treatment at various camps and classes.  His quiet leadership has kept things running beautifully over there, and we’re all very thankful for his dedication to the Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department and to the conservation of our beloved water.


Jackie Sherry:The new graduate assistant, Jackie began working with the Water Conservation Office this summer, and will continue with this office until she finishes her Master’s of Natural Resources at Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources (UGA) in 2 years.  She feels that educational programs with kids are the most important thing this office does, and her main goal is to get the students she comes in contact with interested in water and excited about conserving it!  She thinks it is important that this up and coming generation appreciates where our water comes from and how it is treated, cleaned, and returned.

Annaliese Ashley: Me, the summer intern.  I began work here at the beginning of June, and will continue keeping up with the social media (this blog, our facebook, and our twitter feed ) through the fall, until my (hopeful) graduation from Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources (UGA) in December.  I cannot begin to describe how much I have learned this summer, but the biggest lesson I will take away from this internship is: you cannot escape your responsibility to water.  What I mean is, it’s everywhere, it’s always used, it’s always important, and it’s our job to be conservation-minded.


Lily Anne Phibian:Our beautiful mascot Lily hatched on the shores of the North Oconee River in July of 2009.  She loves meeting new people and spreading the word about how to conserve our earth’s precious water.  Lily loves to visit classrooms, meet kids, and cheer for water conservation! She has generously lent us use of her gmail account for this blog.  She loves being on the cutting edge of social media, and is hopping with excitement to watch this blog grow.

Phileap: He is our other mascot.  He is a green tree frog and is an integral part of some of our outreach programs.  Phileap spends his office hours eating crickets and basking in the lamp-light.  To him, water conservation and wise water use is a matter of life and death.

As this blog continues to grow, I hope to have all of the members of Team Water share their experiences with the WCO, goals for the WCO and for Athens, and their excitement about water conservation.  If it were up to me, I’d give each of my teammates a gold medal for their stellar achievements in the event of water conservation.  But, I’ll leave that to the official Olympics.  GO USA!

Annaliese Ashley-Intern

Originally posted on, 7/31/12


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