New Executive Director Has Big Plans for Friends of Deckers Creek

The State Journal
22 May 2014
By Cynthia McCloud

As a hiker, kayaker and wilderness camper, the new executive director of Friends of Deckers Creek has appreciated the organization’s work since long before she applied for the job.

“My husband and I live in the watershed so the rail-trail is close to our house,” Suzanne Moore said. “I can bike to work, which is great.”

Moore was raised in North Carolina and has lived in West Virginia for nearly 10 years.

Her enthusiasm for the outdoors coupled with her resume of managing nonprofit organizations made Moore the best candidate for the executive director job, according to a FODC spokesperson.

“This deep-rooted love of outdoor recreations instills a conservationist mentality that most lovers of nature could relate to,” FODC said in a press release announcing Moore’s appointment. “This conservationist mentality is vital to the mission of FODC and makes her an excellent fit with our organization.

“In addition, Suzanne has performed a management role for an outdoor recreation company as well as a director role for the Alzheimer’s Association, West Virginia Chapter.”

Moore started work April 22. In the six years since she left the Alzheimer’s Association, Moore was raising her children, a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

“I was ready to get back into the workforce and I wanted to find something I could be really passionate about and something I really wanted to do,” Moore said. “When this opportunity came up it fit my lifestyle perfectly.”

Moore said she’s brainstorming projects she’d like to start while learning about other FODC initiatives that she’ll continue.

“There are several really big projects that are sort of in the works. They’re so new I can’t speak about them right now,” she said. “There are a lot of ongoing projects I’d love to keep going.”

One of those is the Citizen Scientist Monitoring project. Thirty people from the community volunteer to collect bi-weekly water quality measurements at 38 sites throughout the watershed, providing important pre-gas drilling baseline data. Moore will work to get the $5,500 grant that funds the program renewed.

She’ll also work on a 10K that’s coming up in October called the Deckers Dash.

Education is also really important to Moore.

“Getting out into the school system and educating youth about what they can do to help preserve the watershed is one of my most important things to make sure stays alive and grows,” she said.

Two ways that happens is with the Youth Advisory Board and the outdoor learning park.

FODC Youth Advisory Board members are people age 18 and younger interested in clean water and helping the community. Their mission is get more youth involved in helping clean up the Deckers Creek watershed for conservation, preservation and recreation through youth-led projects and research. They do hands-on activities including stream monitoring, litter pick-ups, fund-raising and educating younger children. YAB members come up with service project ideas and write grants to fund them.

In 2009, FODC developed the Sabraton Outdoor Learning Park. It includes an outdoor classroom pavilion, community mosaic mural, walking trails, seating, native gardens and plants, public art created by local youth, interpretive signs, and is located on a local rail-trail.

“The Youth Advisory Board likes to go out there and meet,” Moore said. “It’s open for the public too. It has some great information about some of the aquatic life in the creek. That’s a really nice area. It’s still new and we’re still working to expand and improve it.”

FODC is also working on its water remediation efforts.

“One of our biggest concerns is the Richard Mine area,” Moore said. “It’s an old abandoned mine that’s pretty much the main source of pollutant in the creek. Our water remediation director deals with things like that. The biggest threat to the watershed is acid mine drainage in that location. We need to get something going to help clean that area because right now it’s hard to concentrate on things in the upper watershed when we have that source down here that’s really a major problem. In the future we’ll be working to remedy that.”

FODC is always seeking help, especially with summer coming, she said. “We always have things for volunteers to do.”