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Susquehanna Life

Carol Parenzan Named Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper: Newly Formed Environmental Group to Patrol and Protect the Susquehanna River

Dec 08, 2015 07:56AM ● By Erica Shames

The Waterkeeper Alliance Board of Directors has approved Carol Parenzan as the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper. As the newly appointed Riverkeeper, she will work to protect and preserve the Main and West Branches of the Susquehanna River. Parenzan will combine her firsthand knowledge of the waterway with an unwavering commitment to the rights of the community and to the rule of law. 

“Waterkeeper Alliance is thrilled to have Carol Parenzan to be the eyes, ears, and voice for this vital watershed,” said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Waterkeeper Alliance President. “The theft of our public waters by polluters,” said Mr. Kennedy, “is not acceptable. Carol Parenzan is the right leader to fight for clean water in the region.”

The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper will be a full-time advocate for the Susquehanna River and its tributaries, protecting and restoring water quality through community action and enforcement. “The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper’s aim,” said Parenzan, “is to provide strong advocacy that will result in an improved quality of life for all citizens, whether they rely on the Susquehanna for drinking water or recreation, or whether they simply value the river’s continued well-being.”

“Carol Parenzan will have a big job. Waterkeepers defend their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water—from law-breaking polluters to irresponsible governments,” stated Marc Yaggi, Executive Director, Waterkeeper Alliance. “Until our public agencies have the means necessary to protect us from polluters and the will to enforce our laws, we need to stand up with grassroots advocates like the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper and fight for our right to clean water.”

The Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper will work on watershed-related issues on the Susquehanna River, commencing at the dam at Sunbury and traveling north on the Main Branch of the Susquehanna River to the New York State border and west on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River to its source in the Allegheny Mountains.

Pennsylvania native Carol Parenzan is returning to Pennsylvania as the Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper. Born and raised in Hershey, she is a graduate of Hershey High School and Penn State University, where she earned an environmental engineering degree with a focus on water with honors. In addition to being an avid paddler and an open water swimmer, Parenzan is a children’s book author, and her work includes creative nonfiction materials for schools and libraries that focus on the environment. “The river is an ideal classroom,” explained Parenzan.

“The Susquehanna can teach us many things about our world and ourselves.” The environmental advocate plans to write books and create educational programs about her new role and the river she is passionate about.

The Lewisburg-based Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) pending organization, was formed to support the efforts of its Riverkeeper. The organization will be hosting a series of “Meet the Keeper” events throughout the watershed over the next months to introduce Carol Parenzan and the Riverkeeper program and to solicit input from the community which it serves. “I look forward to partnering with individuals, communities, colleges and universities, and other environmental organizations and programs throughout the watershed,” shared Parenzan. “It’s an honor to be coming home to Pennsylvania to take care of our river.

The Susquehanna is a Pennsylvania treasure and deserves our attention and commitment to protect and preserve it.”

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 260 Waterkeeper Organizations in 33 countries and focusing citizen advocacy on the issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. Waterkeepers patrol more than 1.5 million square miles of rivers, streams, and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. Waterkeeper Alliance was founded in 1999 by veteran Waterkeepers and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Learn more at: or follow @Waterkeeper on Twitter and Facebook. Follow the launch of Middle Susquehanna Riverkeeper at

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