Women and Water Quilt
Around the world, women and girls bear most of the responsibility for collecting and preparing water and are often on the front lines of water issues in their communities. Across the United States, too, women rely on fresh water for their health and their happiness.

Now, women everywhere are stepping up to encourage smarter choices about water and the natural places that provide it. This spring, get inspired by visionary women around the globe, then take action yourself.
Enter »
Photo ©Erika Nortemann/TNC
Patricia Quillupongui
member of the Ilinizas Women's Cooperative in Quito, Ecuador
Member of the Ilinizas Women's Cooperative in Quito, Ecuador, a women-owned dried fruit and herb company committed to protecting water
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Photo ©Zahra Oliphant
Kimberly John
connects the dots between people and water in Jamaica
connects the dots between people and water in Jamaica as a Nature Conservancy freshwater specialist
Read an Interview with Kimberly»
"I work in water because I've retained my childhood fascination with running water, how it moves and feels and catches light, and the life below the surface. I've combined this with an adult neurotic fear of not having access to clean water and a deep-seated sadness whenever healthy aquatic life is harmed."
Photo ©Suzi Eszterhas
Nolmekiji Lenkilili
Kenyan woman whose trek for water went from 10 hours to 20 minutes
Kenyan woman whose trek for water went from 10 hours to 20 minutes daily with the instillation of a new, gravity-fed reservoir
"We believe water is life. It is the mamas' responsibility to get water from the river. Before this project, it took four hours to walk to the river. With the drought the river is dry, and it took another hour to dig a well in the riverbed, and then another five hours to carry the full water jugs back to the village. Then the whole day is gone and all you have done is haul water. Every day. Now, I can walk 10 minutes to this new [reservoir], and when the project is complete there also will be watering areas for our livestock and another for elephants and other animals at a safe distance. And there is water at the school now so children do not need to carry [five liters of] water to school every day. Now, the mamas can do other things."
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Photo ©Vince Patton
Liza Jane Nichols
helped restore the Wallowa River's natural curves
Oregon rancher who helped restore the Wallowa River's natural curves
Explore Liza Jane's Story »
"As a 4th generation rancher and mother, my greatest hope for water is that its value will be acknowledged today and in the future, so that it will flow naturally through our land, supporting life many generations from now. To keep it healthy, we planted trees and native grasses; and we recently completed a river restoration project to restore historic habitat for Chinook salmon and other fish and wildlife. The Wallowa River is my connection to the Earth, and it is the place where I feel safe.”
Photo ©Mark Godfrey
Wangari Maathai
Nobel Peace Prize laureate, founder of the Green Belt Movement and mother
Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of the Green Belt Movement Wangari Maathai with her daughter Wanjira, international liaison for the Green Belt Movement
"A growing tree needs to be watered to survive. My hope for the future is for people everywhere to understand that we are like trees. We can’t live without fresh, clean water."

Wangari Maathai
Photo ©HaroldoPaloJr
Rosélis Remor de Souza Mazurek
Nature Conservancy indigenous project specialist
fisherwoman of Brazil's Purus River and Nature Conservancy indigenous project specialist
"I was conducting research about fishing among riverine and indigenous people in the lower Purus River, a main tributary to the Amazon River. It was 2 a.m. and the snoring of hundreds of pescada fish marching nine feet underwater was the only sound breaking the stillness. There, in the middle of Ayapuá Lake, standing in their fragile wooden canoes, dark-skinned men checked their nets. After hours of fishing solitude, the canoes congregate. A fisherman says: 'When I stay home some nights, I feel an immense claustrophobia, and the walls of my hut seem to steal from me all the air I need to breathe. This is what I love: Here, in this silence, with the blanket of the sky and the smell of freshwater of the Purus River. I am a fisherman of the Purus River.' I shared those same feelings."
Photo ©Kate Dempsey/TNC
Teona Williams
social and environmental advocate and friend of great blue herons
social and environmental advocate and friend of great blue herons, worked on policy issues as a Nature Conservancy intern in Maine
"My interest in conservation started in high school. I had the opportunity to work at the Bladensburg Waterfront Park, where for the first time I was surrounded by nature and wildlife. I became intimate friends with the Anacostia River, wetlands and great blue herons. After such exposure, how could I not be interested in conservation? I wanted to make sure that the beauty I found at Bladensburg would be around for the rest of my life."
Photo ©Scott Warren
Qiaoyu Guo
helps make China's dams more sustainable
helps make China's dams more sustainable as The Nature Conservancy's program manager for the Yangtze River
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Photo ©Jeff Childre Photography
Eloise Kendy
environmental engineer, protector of flow, whitewater rafter
environmental engineer, protector of flow, whitewater rafter
"Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland, taught me the meaning of clean water. We immersed ourselves in the cool stream, drinking its waters as we swam. We snorkeled in its lagoon, marveling at the myriad of fish. We harvested clams from its beach, savoring their freshness. We wanted to stay forever."
Photo ©TNC
Mari-Beth Delucia
Delaware River program director and expert eel-wrangler
Delaware River program director and expert eel-wrangler
Explore Mari-Beth's Work with Eels »
"To me, clean water means undammed rivers teeming with migratory fish. To protect fresh water, I am working to conserve migratory fish such as American eel. By monitoring their numbers, we can use the data to inform fisheries managers responsible for the management of American eel coastwise. My greatest hope for water is that in 100 years there will once again be large runs of migratory fish in our rivers."
Photo ©Blue Legacy
Alexandra Cousteau
founder and president of Blue Legacy
founder and president of Blue Legacy
Read More About Alexandra »
"As an explorer and story-teller, I am helping communities understand and connect with our water planet. Water is one of the defining issues of our time and my hope is to inspire people to act so that our water is one day swimmable, fishable and drinkable."
Photo ©Adrienne Egolf/TNC
Akiima Price
helps city dwellers make connections between their taps and nature
helps city dwellers make connections between their taps and nature as chief of education and programs for the New York Restoration Project
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Photo Courtesy of Kusum Athukorala
Kusum Athukorala
chair of the Sri Lanka Water Partnership and NetWwater
chair of the Sri Lanka Water Partnership and NetWwater
"My greatest hope for water is that we get geared up for action now. We used to say we need to save water for the next generation. But the crisis will hit us in our own times."
Photo ©Eliza Wiley
Laura Ziemer
director of Trout Unlimited's Western Water Project, attorney, mom
director of Trout Unlimited's Western Water Project, attorney, mom
"Water magnifies the wonder and magic in the world - my daughters are invariably drawn to it, no matter what the occasion."
Photo ©Bridget Besaw
Bridget Besaw
photographer, conservationist, adventurer
photographer, conservationist, adventurer
Explore a Nature Conservancy Magazine Feature on Salmon Runs »
"I am blessed with warm feet. I've been known to spend hours happily wading barefoot in freezing rivers with my camera just at or under the surface of the water. My job is to photograph people working, playing and protecting the planet: I've photographed women scientists conducting critical river research and teen girls transformed by their first experiences swimming in rivers. But it wasn't until I photographed salmon up close in the chilly waters of the Shasta River that I realized what a magical world awaited me when I put my head (and camera) under the water's surface. Being lens to nose with a Chinook that had traveled far and wide to return to that spot to lay her eggs was a powerful experience - one that made me hopeful that the river can remain healthy for her returning young."
Photo ©Ted Wood
Heidi Redd
Utah cowgirl and conservationist
Utah cowgirl and conservationist
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Photo Courtesy of Kari Vigerstol
Kari Vigerstol
pedaling across Africa to raise funds for clean water
Nature Conservancy hydrologist who is pedaling across Africa to raise funds for clean water
"To me, clean water means saving lives. I am excited by the potential for positive impact when conservation and human well-being organizations work together. In February, I am embarking on a 12,000-mile bike trip from Ethiopia to South Africa. My travel partner and I are teaming up with Water 1st International on this trip to raise money and create awareness about the urgent need for clean water around the world. At the Conservancy, I am working with corporations to help them determine their impacts on freshwater and reduce their impacts so that there's enough clean water for everyone."
Photo ©Jim Steinberg
Taylor Hawes
water rights lawyer and champion of the Colorado River
water rights lawyer and champion of the Colorado River
Watch Alexandra Cousteau's Interview with Taylor »
"Our challenge is to reconnect people to rivers. The Colorado River is our lifeline - we depend on the river just like any other species. And we are the only species planning for its future, so it's up to us to get it right. We're all in this together. We can make a difference."
Photo ©Blue Legacy/Oscar Durand
Stephanie Flack
helps keep water clean for Washington D.C.
helps keep water clean for Washington D.C. as The Nature Conservancy's Potomac River director
"The Potomac watershed is my home. It's where I've lived for 15 years now, where I get my water and where I'm raising my children. It's a place I'm deeply committed to. Being able to live and work in your own backyard is a very gratifying thing."
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Photo ©Adrienne Egolf/TNC
Jasmine Santana
teaching others to strive for cleaner, more beautiful rivers
teaching others to strive for cleaner, more beautiful rivers as an educator with the New York Restoration Project
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Photo ©Kevin Brusie
Ana Rapp
member of the Penobscot Nation who worked on Penobscot River research
member of the Penobscot Nation who worked on Penobscot River research as a Nature Conservancy intern
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Photo ©Annie Griffiths Belt
Karin Krchnak
The Conservancy's top advisor on international freshwater policy
top advisor on international freshwater policy for The Nature Conservancy
"Throughout my travels, I've collected thousands of photos of women in different parts of the world carrying water. But women and girls aren't only tasked with collecting water, they're often responsible for everything it takes to keep a household running - from processing food, to cleaning, to taking care of livestock and gardens. All of these tasks involve water. And when family members become ill from water-borne diseases, women are the ones who take care of them. Despite these facts, women are still excluded from decision-making about water in many places around the world. To make a real difference for water on a global scale we need ministers of environment to be focused on water issues, but we also need ministers of finance, agriculture and energy thinking about water - and we need more of them to be women."
Photo ©Mike Van Buskirk
Jo Ann Barefoot
seeker of steelhead and Nature Conservancy trustee in Ohio
seeker of steelhead and Nature Conservancy trustee in Ohio
Read Jo Ann's Essay on Fly-fishing »
"As a fly fisherwoman, my greatest hope for water is that we can keep it healthy enough to support the kind of game fish populations that I and so many others love angling for. Nothing beats fly fishing for steelhead on Northeast Ohio's gorgeous Grand River!"
Photo ©Scott Copeland
Holly Copeland
self-proclaimed nerd for nature who is protecting Wyoming's wetlands
self-proclaimed nerd for nature who is protecting Wyoming's wetlands
Read an Interview with Holly »
"Living in the middle of a high-elevation desert, it seems the places with water are sources of everything good - an abundant diversity of wildlife, rich soil and irrigation for growing food, clean drinking water and fantastic recreation. The success of all life largely revolves around water."
Photo ©Jim Steinberg
Connie Holsinger
longtime Colorado conservationist and philanthropist
longtime Colorado conservationist and philanthropist, president of the Terra Foundation
"Nature sustains my spirit the way the flow of the mighty Colorado River sustains the West. Supporting conservation through philanthropy is a powerful way to ensure the future of all species; it's also my way of being thankful for what nature gives me."
Photo ©TNC
Chanel Ramirez
graduate of The Nature Conservancy's LEAF program
graduate of The Nature Conservancy's LEAF program, New Yorker, future policy maker
Read Chanel's Interview »
"Thanks to my experience with The Nature Conservancy, I see fresh water as far more than just an environmental matter. I'm able to make connections with social and political aspects of it as well. As a New Yorker, I’m lucky to have such good water available. But too many people don't have that luxury. It shouldn't even be a luxury; it's a human right to have fresh water available to sustain basic life."
Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Rich
Jennifer Rich
recruits scuba divers and stream samplers
recruits scuba divers and stream samplers
Watch a Video of the Eelgrass Restoration Project »
"As a volunteer coordinator for The Nature Conservancy, my greatest hope is to connect people with their local environment and show how hands-on projects like stream sampling and forest restoration help protect our rivers and the fresh water we all need to survive."
Photo ©Daniel Bessette
Alison Bowden
destroys outdated dams for the benefit of fish and people
Massachusetts freshwater director, destroys outdated dams for the benefit of fish and people
Read an Interview with Alison »
"To me, clean water means healthy rivers and healthy people. To protect fresh water, I am working to reconnect river and ocean habitats for migratory fish and enhance public safety by removing outmoded dams throughout Massachusetts. My greatest hope for water is that we'll make decisions now that allow us to have enough fish for people and ecosystems in the future."
Photo ©Bob Klein/TNC
Sandra Kuehn
Vermont teacher and invasive species warrior
Vermont teacher and invasive species warrior
"The freshwater resource I most want to protect is Lake Champlain and its tributaries. I feel a sense of connectedness when navigating the quiet waters of the Poultney River, which flows into Lake Champlain. I share my love of this area with students, perhaps future stewards, by exploring the rich biodiversity of these waters."
Photo ©TNC
Pat Harden
tenacious fighter for Florida's springs
tenacious fighter for Florida's springs
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Photo ©Rob Mason
Morgan Sherburn
Michigan fly-fisherwoman
Michigan fly-fisherwoman
"To me, clean water means a healthy ecosystem. A healthy ecosystem is a more resilient one: more resilient to non-native species and more resilient to any pollution that might enter it...because in the coldwater world, a healthy ecosystem includes trout - and will for many years to come."
Photo ©Jim Steinberg
Sheila Grother
strikes fear in the heart of tamarisk and other riverside weeds
San Miguel County's weed control manager, strikes fear in the heart of tamarisk and other riverside weeds
"Why care? Because we are losing what we love. Controlling invasive weeds and restoring native plants is an opportunity to do something meaningful in my life and beyond."
Photo ©Tricia Gerrodette
Holly Richter
walked 174 miles to keep Arizona's San Pedro River flowing
walked 174 miles to keep Arizona's San Pedro River flowing
Read an Interview with Holly »
"At one point, we were actually running door to door in close to 100-degree heat. It was nuts, but a lot of fun too, and it sure got the attention of those answering their doors. A common question people asked us was: 'Do you want a cold drink of water?' The water district measure failed by a narrow margin, but we made a lot of people more aware of the need to safeguard their water."

Holly Richter and four other women walked 174 miles in the suburbs of Sierra Vista, Arizona last fall to encourage voters to approve a new water district that could help sustain the flows of the San Pedro River. They met their distance goal, which was to walk farther than the San Pedro River is long.
Photo ©James Miller/TNC
Erica La Spada
Northern Everglades swamp wader and wetlands watcher
Northern Everglades swamp wader and wetlands watcher
"To protect fresh water, I wade into swamps at The Conservancy's Disney Wilderness Preserve to take water readings that help ensure wetlands - once ditched and drained for pastureland - are restored. As a native Floridian, I want Florida's water to be clean and plentiful to support the amazing plants, animals and people that need it."
Photo Courtesy of Becky Stowe
Becky Stowe
protects Mississippi's Pascagoula River
protects Mississippi's Pascagoula River, her family's home for more than 100 years
Explore the Pascagoula River »
"I grew up exploring Mississippi's Pascagoula River, its myriad of fine blackwater tributaries and its backswamps. I've boated, swam, fished, hiked it and traversed its banks on horseback. It has entertained me, fed me and now I make my living working to protect it. I have a tie to this river system. My family has lived along it for well over a hundred years, and my ancestors made their living rafting logs down it. I want to inspire others to work to protect those special waterways that they love and that are important to them."
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Photo ©Nancy Maneely/TNC
Ann Harrington
innkeeper and gatekeeper of the Verde River headwaters
innkeeper, equestrian, nature lover and gatekeeper of the Verde River headwaters
Explore the Verde River »
"Seeing the springs - the actual birthplace of the Verde River - gives people a deep connection to this place. Suddenly they understand why it's so important to protect it. I wake up every morning and look outside at this beautiful view, and I think how lucky I am to partner with the Conservancy to protect this extraordinary place."

Ann's B & B, which is a short hike from the Conservancy's Verde River Springs Preserve, has become the preserve's unofficial headquarters and point of access.
Photo ©Kerry Brophy Lloyd/TNC
Andrea Erickson Quiroz
cares for Wyoming's rivers, streams and wetlands
cares for Wyoming's rivers, streams and wetlands as state director for The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming
"Recently I found myself traveling through a winter storm, wondering about my sanity. In the middle of a whiteout on I-80 near Wyoming's Elk Mountain, it's hard to imagine the hot dry months when water runs scarce. But the hazards of winter provide hope for another year of good water, whether you irrigate, fish or just hope to have water in your tap. In fact, without the snowpack from winter's storms, we'd be hard pressed to live here at all."
Photo ©Jeff Danter/TNC
Barbara Stiefel
longtime Conservancy supporter who volunteers for Florida’s fresh waters
longtime Conservancy supporter who volunteers for Florida’s fresh waters
"To me, clean water means people's health and nature's health and beauty. To protect fresh water, I am learning as much as I can about the Earth's water and volunteering to help keep it clean and safe. My greatest hope for water is that someday people won't have problems getting clean, fresh water."
Photo ©John Taylor
Rachael Franks Taylor
Great Lakes coastal conservation director and mom
Great Lakes coastal conservation director and mom
"As a conservationist and a mom, my greatest hope for water is that we learn to not take it for granted. In the Great Lakes, I am sometimes troubled by language that reduces water to a commodity; it may be that, but it's also life-sustaining. My favorite water quote: 'If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.' -Loren Eiseley"
Photo ©Mike Heiner/TNC
Michele DePhilip
Pennsylvania freshwater director and admirer of mayflies
Pennsylvania freshwater director and admirer of mayflies
Read an Interview with Michele »
"In Harrisburg, the Susquehanna River is nearly a mile wide. It supplies drinking water for millions and generates electricity for northeastern cities. Bald eagles fly overhead. Mayflies indicate good water quality; some evenings, they cover my screen door. I walk to work along the river, grateful to contribute to its recovery."
Photo ©Erika Nortemann/TNC
Jaymee Marty
vernal pool scientist, Air Force Major, marathon runner
vernal pool scientist, Air Force Major, marathon runner
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Photo ©TNC
Jin Jin Huang
member of the Conservancy's New York Young Professionals Group
member of the Conservancy's New York Young Professionals Group
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Photo ©Jim Steinberg
Joan May
Colorado volunteer and mom looking to make a difference
Colorado volunteer and mom looking to make a difference
"I volunteered to help remove tamarisk on the San Miguel River because what happens within our watershed affects the whole Colorado River system. It was so satisfying to be part of a project that demonstrated how ordinary people can make a difference."
Photo Courtesy of Joanie Lukins
Joanie Lukins
coordinates 45 clean water systems in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula
coordinates 45 clean water systems in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula for Living Waters for the World, a ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
"My greatest hope for water is that one day, by the grace of God and the efforts of many compassionate people, all of God's children will have clean, healthy water to drink. To protect fresh water, I am working with Living Waters for the World, a ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA), training and equipping mission teams to partner with communities in the developing world to decontaminate their water and reduce future contamination of its source."
Photo Courtesy of Pamela Garrison
Pamela Garrison
trustee of the Florida Conservancy and friend of the Everglades
trustee of the Florida Conservancy and friend of the Everglades
"As a healthcare professional, my greatest hope for water is better comprehension, understanding and appreciation of its value. Clean water means a good healthy life. The Everglades provides South Florida, my home and that of millions of people, fresh water-our most valuable resource-which I strive to protect daily through water conservation."
Photo ©TNC
Rhonda Vassar
leading conversations about diversity and the future of the conservation movement
leading conversations about diversity and the future of the conservation movement, director of operations for The Nature Conservancy in Georgia
Read Rhonda's Blog about Diversity and Conservation »
"To protect fresh water, I want my daughters to know water is a thread that ties all people together. I share with them memories of playing in creeks as a child and canoeing in college, and now pride of the work I do to help safeguard the waters of Georgia."
Photo ©USFWS
Karen Herrington
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist
"To me, clean water means a place for aquatic species to survive and thrive. To protect fresh water, I work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conserving endangered fish, mussels and their habitats. My greatest hope for water is that we'll work together to find sustainable solutions to share water."
Photo ©Ann Birch/TNC
Kaija Langley
joined with 500 volunteers to build an oyster reef in Alabama
Massachusetts fundraiser who joined with 500 volunteers to build an oyster reef in Alabama
"To me, clean water means freedom. As a lover of nature, my greatest hope for water is that we'll value it as much as we do oil. The water resource I most want to protect is the Mississippi River."
Photo ©Daniel Roth/TNC
Sandi Matsumoto
California project manager for migratory birds and mother-to-be
California project manager for migratory birds and mother-to-be
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Photo Courtesy of Randy Edwards/TNC
Meg Edwards
river explorer and neighborhood car washing patrol
river explorer and neighborhood car washing patrol
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Photo Courtesy Kim Lutz
Kim Lutz
restores connections in the Connecticut River watershed
restores connections in the Connecticut River watershed, North America's most heavily dammed watershed
Meet Kim and 4 other freshwater scientists who are part of a new partnership with Neutrogena® Naturals »
"To me, clean water means a lake to swim in, a stream to fish in and a river to paddle along. To protect fresh water, I am working to protect and restore floodplain forests that slow down floodwaters, filter storm water, protect our cities and towns and provide a home for many of our biggest trees. As a mother, my greatest hope for water is clean lakes, rivers and streams for my children to play in and to gain inspiration from."
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Photo Courtesy of Randy Edwards/TNC
Randy Edwards
protecting water for his daughter's future
media relations manager for The Nature Conservancy who is protecting water for his daughter's future
"When my daughter Meg was a baby we would dip her toes in each body of water we encountered in our travels - sort of a baptism in the outdoors that we hoped might lead to a reverence for nature. It seems to have stuck: Meg loves to go creeking, kayaking and swimming. As her dad, I hope she'll always be able to dip her toes - and her daughter's - in clean fresh water across the country."
Photo ©Jay Sarles
Marilyn Sarles
physician and Nature Conservancy trustee in Massachusetts
physician and Nature Conservancy trustee in Massachusetts
Read an Interview with Marilyn and Jay Sarles »
"As a physician, I know that water is life-sustaining, and access to it is critical to improve health care delivery worldwide. Many public health efforts are undermined by poor local infrastructure and mismanagement of watershed resources, resulting in exposure to infectious agents and toxins. My support for The Nature Conservancy targets watershed protection in Massachusetts and the Colorado River Basin, and I know that the Conservancy's scientific approach in these places extends to projects around the globe."
Photo Courtesy of Nahaku Kalei
Nahaku Kalei
cares for Hawaii's waters today and teaches others to protect them
cares for Hawaii's waters today and teaches others to protect them in the future as a Nature Conservancy conservation fellow
"To protect fresh water, I am teaching the next generation its relevance at our shores, where it attracts our native freshwater-loving seaweeds and repels invasives. The freshwater resource I most want to protect is the mist, which calls Hawaii's native lowland forest home at dawn and dusk."
Photo ©TNC
Alicia Grimaldi
business owner who donates a portion of her water bottle sales
New Hampshire business owner who donates a portion of her water bottle sales to The Nature Conservancy
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Photo ©TNC
Kristen Blann
swimmer, ecologist and protector of Minnesota's waters
swimmer, ecologist and protector of Minnesota's waters
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Photo ©TNC
Jacinta Edebeli
bringing her experience on the Connecticut River to Nigeria's mangrove forests
Conservancy intern who hopes to bring her experience in Connecticut River floodplain forests to the mangrove forests of Nigeria
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Photo ©TNC
Cindy Mann
saving water on her Idaho farm with "pivotal" new technology
saving water on her Idaho farm with "pivotal" new technology
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Photo ©TNC
Leslie Colley
helps protect Tennessee's Duck River
helps protect Tennessee's Duck River, widely considered the most diverse river on the continent
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Photo ©TNC
Maria Lemke
manages Illinois wetlands to clean water
manages Illinois wetlands to clean water, aquatic ecologist for The Nature Conservancy
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Photo ©TNC
Rebecca Flack
works with Texas ranchers to keep rivers flowing
works with Texas ranchers and others to keep rivers flowing and groundwater available
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Photo ©TNC
Vicki Brooks
uses water-friendly practices on her Kentucky farm
mother and grandmother using water-friendly practices on her Kentucky farm
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Photo ©TNC
Mata John and Catherine Robyn
members of the
Urumarav village in
Papua New Guinea
members of the Urumarav village in Papua New Guinea, a community that worked with the Conservancy to secure a grant for new rainwater collection tanks
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Photo Courtesy of Shelly Morris
Shelly Morris
manages the mighty Mississippi
manages the mighty Mississippi, western Kentucky project director for The Nature Conservancy
"To protect fresh water, I am working to reduce sediment entering the Mississippi River. My greatest hope for water is that people will realize how small changes in how they manage their land can have large, positive impacts on our water resources. The freshwater resource I most want to protect is Bayou du Chien, home of the Relict Darter.
Photo © Jason Crawley
Janisse Ray
Georgia writer, naturalist, activist
Georgia writer, naturalist, activist
"The body of water I most want to protect is my own body. People are more important than money, more important than the stock exchange, more important than corporations so I hope water remains a part of the commons, owned and accessible by all. The body of water I watch over is the Altamaha River in Georgia. To care for it, I am singing its praises and protecting forests that keep silt out of the water, asking people not to pollute and eating as much local and organic food as possible to reduce the chemical load in water and use less irrigation. My watershed address is Slaughter Creek @ Altamaha River @ Altamaha Sound @ Atlantic Ocean."
Photo ©TNC
Silvia Benitez
pioneer of water funds in Latin America
pioneer of water funds in Latin America
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Photo ©Carl Vinson Institute of Government
Shelly Lakly
Georgia state director who travelled to Kenya on a leadership trip
Georgia state director, ecologist and mother of twin eight-year-old boys
"As a mother, my greatest hope for water is that the women I met in Kenya will no longer have to live knowing their children are thirsty. That's why our work to protect freshwater in Georgia and globally is so important."

Shelly recently traveled to Kenya on a women's leadership trip through the University of Georgia and met many women who have been struggling to provide water for their families since a drought that began in 2000.