Simona Perry

Riverkeeper & Executive Director
Simona Perry

Dr. Simona Perry’s roots in southeast Georgia are deep and strong. She is a fifth generation Savannah native and seventh generation descendant of Effingham County Salzburger families. She grew up underneath her maternal grandparents pecan and pine trees, listening to stories from her father’s fishing expeditions, and coming of age in the salt marsh creeks and Atlantic Ocean waves surrounding Savannah. In 1990 she left home to pursue a college degree, and a career in theater and writing. However, she quickly found her way back to the natural world and ended up earning her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, her master’s in Marine Policy from the University of Washington, and her doctorate in the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Conservation from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Trained as an environmental scientist and ethnographer, Dr. Perry has worked as an ecologist and fisheries biologist, regulator, and grant officer at NOAA Fisheries, and as a community ethnographer in rural and urban river communities across the United States. Her work with river communities is focused on documenting and raising awareness of the interconnections between ecology, psychology, politics, and culture. Prior to joining Ogeechee Riverkeeper in 2017, she founded and served as Research Director of c.a.s.e. Consulting Services LLC where she began an oral history and cultural resources inventory of Ogeechee River places and folkways in coastal Georgia. From 2016-2017 she was Director of Civic Professionalism for the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN). She serves as a board member of Pipeline Safety Coalition, a steering group member of the International Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on the Human Rights Impacts of Fracking, and is currently serving a three-year term as a public safety advocate on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline Voluntary Information Sharing Working Group. Dr. Perry is currently writing an ethnographic memoir on her collaborative long-term research with dairy farmers and timber landowners within the Susquehanna River watershed.