Josie Newton, Watershed Scientist
A South Carolina native, Josie was raised on Lake Murray and enjoyed frequent visits to the waterfalls of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family, developing a love and deep connection to water systems at a young age. She furthered her passions for environmental conservation and stewardship while attending Furman University in Greenville, SC where she earned a B.S. in Sustainability Science.
Josie’s professional background is in stream and wetland delineation and permitting as well as sustainable agriculture initiatives and riparian buffer management. Her passions lie in biodiversity protection; stream, wetland, and riparian zone conservation; providing equitable access to the outdoors; native plant conservation, and public education and outreach within these areas to promote community engagement in protecting the Reedy River watershed's invaluable resources.
Josie has been in her role as FoRR's Watershed Scientist since August 2021 and also sits on the Saluda River Basin Planning Council, the Reedy River Water Quality Group Best Management Practice Committee, the Reedy River Water Quality Group Public Outreach Group, and is a South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream Freshwater and Macroinvertebrate Trainer. She looks forward to connecting with you regarding ways to protect and preserve the Reedy watershed, improve and monitor the water quality of the Reedy and it's tributaries, and help others learn about the intricacies of Greenville's hometown river.
In her free time, Josie enjoys spending time outdoors, seeing live music, gardening, and crafting stoneware on the potter’s wheel.
Q&A with Josie
Featured in the January 2024 Reedy Recap Staff Highlight
Q: What's your favorite thing about the Reedy River?
A: My favorite thing about the Reedy is the way it has served as such a strong centerpiece of our community in recent history. Not that long ago, the Reedy was essentially an eyesore in downtown Greenville, only being utilized for its ability to transport industrial waste downstream– out of sight, out of mind. For a river that has experienced such neglect to become one of our community’s greatest assets and most recognizable landmarks is no small feat. The community that has been built around the Reedy is very inspiring to see and I enjoy being able to play a part in its revitalization and restoration.
Q: What's your favorite native plant?
A: It’s hard to narrow it down! One of the first native plants I really fell in love with was the American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), which you can easily spot at Cleveland Park Stables and around Furman’s lake. Beautyberry is a very easy native shrub to work into a home landscape that adds great color and wildlife benefits to the yard while also stabilizing soils to prevent erosion. Some of my other favorites include red cardinal flower, purple coneflowers (also very easy to add to home landscaping), buttonbush, native flame azaleas, hearts-a-burstin’, tulip poplar trees, and river oats.
Q: What is the best vacation you've ever been on?
A: In 2015, my dad and I had the opportunity to go to Santa Clara, California to see the first of the Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead tour which featured all of the surviving members of the Dead, plus Trey Anastasio, from one of my other favorite bands, Phish. While we were in the area, we rented a car and took day trips to some of the most scenic places around the Bay Area and visited Sweetwater Music Hall and Terrapin Crossroads, which has since closed. We have so many great photos and memories from that time and I know it’s a trip my dad and I will both always remember.