2019 Waccamaw Conference: The Journey of Trash: Pollution to Solution

You may have seen the video of a plastic straw being yanked from the nostril of a sea turtle. You may also have seen the photos of the giant trash island in the Pacific. Maybe you have even seen our beaches and riverbanks littered with trash. We are constantly reminded that trash impacts our waterways.


At the 2019 Waccamaw Conference, we will explore the journey of trash. How do cigarette butts flicked onto the sidewalk travel to our sandy beaches? How does a plastic bottle thrown from a passing car make its way to our ocean? How does a plastic straw from your soda cup end up in a turtle’s nostril? Join us and investigate these questions and more.


This year our theme is “The Journey of Trash: Pollution to Solution.” The conference will feature presentations, interactive exhibits, and a student poster contest. Held at the Horry County Museum, the conference also presents an opportunity to explore the museum’s exhibits displaying the history of our watershed.


Join us as 1:00 pm in the auditorium for a welcome followed by our featured speaker. Dr. Stefanie Whitmire of the Clemson Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science will present “Out of Sight, But Here to Stay: Microplastics in the Coastal Environment.” Dr. Whitmire will discuss her research on microplastics along the South Carolina coast. You will be astonished to learn the sources of microplastics from our everyday items and how these tiny pieces of plastic impact aquatic species.


At 2:00 pm, grab some light refreshments and take some time to explore the museum and visit our exhibitors. Local organizations are excited to share with you how trash impacts their lives and what you can do to help fight against the pollution in our waterways. With interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and even live animals, our exhibitors are sure to entertain and educate family members of any age. While you’re exploring, be sure to check out the poster and art submissions by local students. Their amazing work shows the impact of trash on our environment and invites you to think about your own environment.


You’re invited to come back to the auditorium at 3:00 pm to participate in our panel discussion. “Talking Trash: Discussing the Journey of Trash with the Experts” features several local experts who will answer your questions about how trash is impacting our waterways. Join Kelly Thorvalson, S.C. Aquarium Sea Turtle Hospital; Ranger Mike Walker, Huntington Beach State Park; Michelle LaRocco, Georgetown County Environmental Services Division; Michael Hughes, Horry County Solid Waste Authority; and Bo Ives, Keep Horry County Beautiful to talk trash.

We hope you will join us for this free, fun and family-friendly event! The 2019 Waccamaw Conference is sure to be as entertaining as it is educational. Join us to celebrate our Waccamaw River watershed on February 9th at the Horry County Museum! Find out more by clicking here.