PR: Florida man wins Suwannee Riverkeeper kayak raffle drawing at Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia


Hahira, Georgia, December 13, 2017 — People got kayak raffle tickets for three months at festivals from Alapaha, Georgia to Live Oak, Florida, and online, until the drawing at a Suwannee Riverkeeper outing Sunday at the top of the Suwannee River in the Okefenokee Swamp. The lucky winner of a kayak donated by Malibu Kayaks is Chris Newton from the Atlantic coast of Florida. “No way!” he said.

At Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, Georgia, Gretchen Quarterman, Acting Executive Director for WWALS Watershed Coalition, said:

“These are all the tickets that we sold. And these are the ones that Shirley [Kokidko, WWALS board member] sold. These are the ones that came from Phil [Hubbard, WWALS board member of Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia]. These are the ones that came from Hulaween [Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida]. These are the ones that came from Skillet Fest [Quitman, Brooks County, Georgia, suggested by WWALS member John Horton of Quitman and Suwannee, Dixie County, Florida] ….”

Gretchen Quarterman assembles the tickets at WWALS kayak raffle drawing 2017-12-10

WWALS board member Shirley Kokidko of Pearson, Atkinson County, Georgia, had the video camera at that WWALS Okefenokee Outing to Minnies Lake, Sunday, December 10. Here is Shirley later at the platform at Minnies Lake:

Getting out, 12:59:19,, Minnie Lake

Shirley briefly pointed the camera at some birds flying over, then refocussed on the proceedings. Gretchen read more ticket sources: Suwannee River Roots Revival (Suwannee County, Florida), Hahira Honeybee Festival (Lowndes County, Georgia) and Alapaha Station Celebration (Berrien County, Georgia) where WWALS board member Dave Hetzel of Tifton, Tift County, Georgia, got raffle tickets to many people, and online. The online tickets were transcribed onto paper just like all the others.

Gretchen said, “We sold 370-some tickets.” and shook the box of tickets.

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman picked Dennis James Price of Hamilton County, Florida, to do the actual drawing, because he did not buy a raffle ticket, and was thus unbiased. WWALS member Dan Phillips of Hahira, Georgia, lent moral support.

Dennis J. Price picks the winner at WWALS kayak raffle drawing 2017-12-10

After thorough stirring, Dennis picked the winner, as you can see in the video:

The winner is: Chris Newton.

At Suwannee Hulaween at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Chris donated to get one kayak raffle ticket, and his ticket is the lucky winner.

When I told him that on the telephone, Chris said, “Stop it!”

The winner lives on the Atlantic coast of Florida, and we’re organizing with him about meeting in the middle to get him the kayak.

Gretchen Quarterman said,

“Thank you, Malibu Kayaks, for the generous donation of the Trio-11 Fish and Dive Kayak for our fundraiser, and thank you John Phillip Ramsey for organizing that. We appreciate your support.”

Raffle kayak, Hulaween

Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman added,

“Thank you to all those who participated in the raffle, helping us to raise money for our on-going projects. Because Malibu Kayaks generously donated the kayak, all proceeds go to support the work of WWALS Watershed Coalition, in conserving swimmable, fishable, drinkable water in the Suwannee River Basin and the Floridan Aquifer in Georgia and Florida.

“Plus thank you, Scotti Jay and Sara Squires, for camping at Hulaween all weekend. Chris Newton probably got that winning raffle ticket from you, or from me or Gretchen or Shirley or WWALS Board member Eileen Box of Live Oak.”

Return of the kayak, Sailing Lake Ave.

About WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS)

WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities.

Founded in June 2012, WWALS has supported solar power and has opposed the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline since 2013. Other issues include wastewater spills from Valdosta and other cities, corporate agriculture, coal ash, banning fracking, and phosphate mining. We do monthly paddle outings and frequent cleanups, overflights and scouting hikes, commission meetings and position papers, along with occasional legal actions.

Say WWALS, Banner
WWALS cleanup at One Mile Branch at Valdosta State University, with Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse

About Suwannee Riverkeeper

John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS Watershed Coalition (WWALS) as the Member of the Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River basin.

We are starting a water quality monitoring program and we’re looking for volunteers. Plus contact us about our songwriting contest.

Detail, Suwannee River Basin


Gretchen Quarterman, Acting Executive Director
WWALS Watershed Coalition
P.O. Box 88
Hahira, GA 31632

John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper


 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!