‘A Neuse Night Out’ a smashing success!

Baby Walker joined Sound Rivers’ Staff Scientist Katy Hunt (left) and Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop (right) at The Old Theater in Oriental.

The Old Theater was awash in Neuse River-lovers last Saturday for “A Neuse Night Out” in Oriental.

First up was screening of “A Sound River,” Sound Rivers’ 40th-anniversary short film, followed by a Q&A with Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop and Sound Rivers’ Staff Scientist Katy Hunt.

“It was a good turnout, and the Q&A was full of really good, insightful questions from the community. They asked some pretty specific, hard-hitting questions, which made it clear they have existing knowledge of what the issues are, which also made it clear this is a community that cares about their river and want to know more and do more,” Katy said.

Katy and Sam took questions from the audience after the screening of “A Sound River,” Sound Rivers’ 40th-anniversary film.

“I thought it was a smashing success,” Sam added. “A lot of people came out to learn and ask great questions.”

Following the Q&A, Sound Rivers’ Executive Director Heather Deck announced this year’s recipient of the Great Blue Heron Award, an award given for outstanding, longterm contributions to the protection of the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico rivers and in support of Sound Rivers’ mission.

This year’s award went to Bill Hines, an accomplished kayaker known far and wide for making annual 190-mile kayaking trips on the Neuse to bring awareness to the river and its issues. Hines’ ongoing support dates back to the early days of the Neuse River Foundation and not only comes from continued volunteerism, but is part of his personal routine: picking up trash from the waterways, monitoring the health of the rivers and creeks, appreciating nature — and inspiring others to do the same.

Great Blue Heron award recipient Bill Hines gets rabbit ears from wife Lynn (left) and Sound Rivers’ Executive Director Heather Deck during the gathering at New Village Brewing.

After Bill’s award presentation, the crowd headed over to New Village Brewery for some cold, craft beer, live music and one-on-one conversation with their Neuse Riverkeeper, which Sam said she enjoyed immensely.

“It was great to get to know the people in Oriental,” Sam said. “I felt like we got a lot of love in Oriental, and I look forward to doing more work there. It’s clear that a lot of people care about their river and have a lot of concerns down there.”

Special thanks to The Old Theater, organizers of the event Jim and Leslie Kellenberger and New Village Brewery!

(From left to right) Sound Rivers’ Executive Director Heather Deck, Bill Hines, Neuse Riverkeeper Samantha Krop, Jim Kellenberger and Sound Rivers’ Staff Scientist Katy Hunt with her baby, Walker.