Originally from Marietta, Georgia, Shelby Cline (them/them) now lives and works in Dallas, Georgia, on Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee) and S’atsoyaha (Yuchi) lands.
Shelby joined River Network in 2023 as the Drinking Water Program Associate, supporting the team on topics related to affordable drinking water and water infrastructure.
Shelby went to Davidson College in North Carolina and received a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. They have previously worked with state and local nonprofit organizations with a focus on environmental justice, advocating for clean, safe drinking water, farmworker’s rights, and a sustainable food system. Outside of work, Shelby is looking for fun trails to run, trying new recipes, and frequenting local coffee shops.
Which River Network value most speaks to you?
The value of inclusion really resonates with me. Everyone deserves a seat at the table, so we need to value different perspectives and opinions, promote equity and justice, and create an intentional space for people to be a part of. It’s important to me to work for an organization that recognizes this need for inclusion both internally and externally. Internally it creates a stronger, more resilient staff that feels accepted and heard. Externally it allows for better partnerships based on mutual respect. We can do so much more when we’re able to work together.
What called you to work in water?
As a kid I was obsessed with all things water. I wanted to be a water bender, or a mermaid, or an Olympic swimmer. While none of those dreams came true, I’ve stayed in close connection with the water my whole life. Whether it was exploring the creek behind my house when I was little, or rowing down the river in a regatta as a college student, I keep finding myself making core memories in these outdoor, aquatic spaces. I feel lucky to be able to work to help conserve these places for future generations, so that other people can experience the same joy I have spending time around water.
If you didn’t work in water or conservation, what would you be doing?
I would probably be in tech. Specifically, I would want to build computers or be a web designer. It’s a lot of fun creating something from scratch and seeing it turn on or work the way you wanted it to. But it could still be a hobby!
How do you recharge outside of work?
I enjoy taking time to be outside and enjoy nature. Sometimes that means going for a run, taking a walk, or even rollerblading! I also love being with friends and family.