Meet the UERA

Who We Are


Our Mission

Provide regional leadership, resources, consultation, training and educational materials to protect, conserve, and enhance the natural resources of the Upper Etowah River Basin for present and future generations.

Our Vision

To inform and educate citizenry committed to working together to conserve, sustain and enhance the beauty and environmental health of the Upper Etowah River Watershed.

Watershed Director

Rebekah Shelnutt – Contact the Director at

Alliance Board

Lori Forrester – Eva Gumbert – Jane Graves – Nolton Johnson – Robert Morrison – Ken Owen – Richard Osborne – Linda Teachey – Laine Wood – John Clark – Sally Winchester – Lori Downs – Bob Kendall – Nedal Shawkat - Ken Fahey

Meet the Board

Executive Committee

Chair: Jane Graves
Vice-Chair: Nedal Shawkat
Secretary: Lori Forrester
Treasurer: John Clark

Participating Organizations Include:

  • Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority
  • Chestatee-Chattahoochee RC&D
  • Etowah Water and Sewerage Authority
  • Forsyth County
  • Forsyth Water and Sewer
  • Georgia Mountains RDC
  • Institute of Ecology-UGA
  • Lake Allatoona Preservation Authority
  • Limestone Valley RC&D
  • Limestone Valley Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service – USDA
  • US Environmental Protection Agency
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • US Forest Service

Meet the Board


Executive Director, Rebekah Shelnutt - A Canton native, Rebekah Shelnutt spent much of her youth enjoying the Etowah River.  After graduating from the University of Georgia, Rebekah became a Peace Corps volunteer and completed her law degree at Georgia State University.  Upon returning to Canton, Rebekah has been an active member of the community and served as a JAG officer with the United States Army Reserve. She practices law in Canton and currently serves as Executive Director of the Upper Etowah River Alliance.


John Clark – UERA Board Member since 2017.  5-year Canton resident and outdoor enthusiast with interests in hiking, cycling, kayaking, trail development.  10 years in support service management at Emory University. BS in Health Admin, Master of Health Science (Student).  Active member of Georgia Hospital Association and American Operating Room Nurses Association (AORN).  Serving 2nd term as vice chair of City of Canton Board of Zoning Appeals.  10-year volunteer with AID Atlanta and American Diabetes Association.  Currently reside in Canton’s East Main Historic Corridor with partner Cory and a 14-year-old opinionated Siamese.  


Lori Downs - 2018 UERA Board Member.  Veteran Pilot USAF. International missions and community development in Cambodia. Arsenic mitigation and safe water focus. Business Development/Investor Reformation Brewery. Officer/Board member of BeTA, supporting mothers who are raising children with complex trauma and attachment issues. Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in Cherokee County.  Hiker and outdoor enthusiast.


Lori Forrester - Ohio native, came to Georgia to attend Brenau University where she graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science. Employed by Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority as an Environmental Affairs Specialist and Public Information Specialist. Lori has 18 years of water quality monitoring and chemical laboratory analysis experience.  An active Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Trainer of 15 years. The most rewarding part of her job is as a non-formal environmental educator and teaching citizens about the significance of the Upper Etowah Watershed. Lori has served on the UERA Board for 12 years and served as Board Chairman for the last 7 years. 

Jane Graves – UERA Board Member since 2011. BSc.Hons.UCLondon. Retired from International Oil Industry (UK & Norway) Foods Marketing (UK) and Cosmetic Marketing and Sales (USA) to Dawson County. Community volunteer, advocate and organizer with special interests in local planning and development and its impact on people and the environment. World traveler, mother of 3, grandmother of 2. Lives with Lionel and 3 clever cats. 


Eva Gumbert - Board Member of UERA for too many years to count. BA in French, Newcomb College (Tulane University), with jr. year at the Sorbonne, MA, Emory University. Since 1970 have owned and cared for 200 acres on the Etowah River. Experienced endurance rider and gardener.


Nolton Johnson - Member of UERA since 2007, as Cherokee County appointee. Past Board Chairman 2008-2011. Retired from Georgia Environmental Protection Division. Employed by City Of Atlanta Dept of Watershed Management. Professional Engineer, CPESC, and Treasurer of Georgia Association of Water Professionals. Member of Toonigh Neighbors Adopt A Stream in Cherokee County since 1998. 


Bob Kendall - MS Forest Hydrology, UGA, BS Biology-Environmental Studies, Williams College. Certified Professional Soil Scientist. UERA Board Member since 2017. President of Kendall & Associates, an Environmental Consulting firm specializing in soil and ground water investigations for on-site wastewater management systems; wetland delineation and permitting. Avid paddler, cyclist and backpacker having led week-long backpacking trips to most of the iconic National Parks in the western US and Canada. Lives in Dahlonega with wife Margret. Soon to be proud grandfather.


Robert Morrison – UERA Board Member since early 2000s, currently Treasurer. Native Georgian, residence on Lake Allatoona. Retired public finance investment banker and municipal advisor. Currently member of Cherokee County Water & Sewerage Authority, Cherokee County Educational Foundation, and former Chairman and acting General Manager of the Lake Allatoona Preservation Authority. Graduate of UNC-CH and MBA Emory Univ.


Richard Osborne - Serves as Planning & Development Director for Pickens County. Richard has an MPA and is a nationally certified (AICP) planner. A North Georgia native, he is glad to serve on the Board of UERA and North Georgia Water Partnership, as well as various planning groups. Richard and his wife Jennifer enjoy hiking as well as herding their daughters and rescue terrier Luna. 


Kenneth Owen - UERA Board Member representing the Superintendent of Schools since 2003.  Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Georgia, 1986.  Employed with Cherokee County School District since 2001, serving as Chief Financial Officer since 2015.  Also serve on the Board of the Cherokee County Educational Foundation and as a School District representative on the Pine Bluff Citizen Advisory Panel.  Previously served on the Chamber of Commerce’s Teen Leadership Cherokee Steering Committee, Education Committee and Workforce Development Council, as well as the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Workforce Development Board, Youth Committee. Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Cherokee, Class of 2003.


Nedal Shawkat -  Grew up in Augusta and graduated from Georgia State Law School. Prosecutor for 10 years prior to settling in Forsyth. After retirement from his legal career, he now spends his time caring for 36 acres on Settingdown Creek in Forsyth County with his wife and two sons. His hobbies include agriculture and tinkering with everything. He is basically a hero after fixing a nasty leak that has plagued the Alliance Office for years.


Linda Teachey - UERA Member since 2008, Board Member since 2011, Adopt A Stream Volunteer, Master Naturalist. Studied Horticulture at NCSU, NC Certified Plantsman, former municipal horticulturist for City Of Wilmington, NC. UNCW Biological Science Dept. Greenhouse Manager. Currently a senior at KSU in Visual Arts BFA program with a concentration in ceramics (sculptural). Plays well with others, particularly outdoors.


Sally Winchester - UERA Board Member, at large, from Cherokee County since 2017. Retired marketing professional with the State Parks & Historic Sites Division of the GA Dept. of Natural Resources. Experience in advertising, market research, product development, media relations and strategic planning in the financial services, newspaper publishing and higher education fields as well. Resides in the Lake Arrowhead community in Waleska, GA.  Enjoys hiking and paddling and just being outside.


Laine Kirby Wood – UEAR Member since 2010, Board Member since 2016. Senior Mixed Media Ad Rep for Georgia Magazine and American MainStreet Publications. Previous Publisher Hines & Land Magazine Brevard County Space Coast FLA. Certified River Rat.


Our Office Locations

Upper Etowah River Alliance Central Office

Mail: UERA P.O. Box 307
Canton, GA 30169

Visit: 180 McClure St.
Canton, GA

Dawson Satellite Office

Dawson County Agricultural Services Center
298 Academy Ave.
Dawsonville, GA

Pickens Satellite Office

Keep Pickens Beautiful Office

56 S Main St, Jasper, GA 30143
Jasper, GA

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Upper Etowah River Alliance

P. O. Box 307, Canton, Georgia 30169, United States

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