DAHLONEGA - Dr. Robert Fuller, a University of North Georgia professor, Wednesday completed a 1,500-mile water quality study that took him from the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River to the Gulf of Mexico and back to Dahlonega.
Various university faculty, staff, administrators and friends who helped him along the way gathered at the home of Elvin and Nancy Hilyear at the edge of the Etowah River in Dahlonega to welcome Dr. Fuller home and congratulate him on the completion of his journey.
His study was sponsored by the Georgia Power Co., Appalachian Outfitters, the Chattahoochee Basin Group, the University of North Georgia, the university's Environmental Leadership Center, and his own personal resources. Technical assistance for the trip was provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Dr. Fuller kept a blog of his journey, which began Sept. 22. (See earlier story. Editor's note: When Dr. Fuller began his trip, UNG was still known as North Georgia College & State University/NGCSU but the name was changed in Jan. when the merger with Gainesville State College became official.)
"The really big surprise was seeing daughters, Erin and Sarah, who came over from Auburn, Alabama," he wrote after finishing the trip. "Elvin, Nancy, and Andy Leavitt had arranged the party that followed, and it was a doozy. Elvin and Nancy opened their beautiful home to us all and threw a fine party."
Fuller also writes about his future plans.
"I have notes stored in two books, on a digital recorder, in this blog, and in hundreds of photographs. In addition to sorting and trying to make sense of all of this stuff, I plan to retrace part of my route by car in April, with my Sea Wind canoe on the roof, of course, to visit a few of my new friends from the trip, to paddle (some) missed sections, and to take more photographs. I will have already begun writing, so I should have a good idea of what I need to photograph."
He says he also will begin working the experiences into his class material. "I will be back in the classroom in August, and I anticipate incorporating some of what I have learned into those classes."