WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear River is vital to our area from the massive environmental aspect all the way to it being a factor in the tourism industry. Our Extraordinary Person of the Week is making sure all of those benefits are protected.
“That’s my biggest goal,” Kemp Burdette told Daniel Seamans, “a lot of times is just to get people connected to the river.”
The Cape Fear River has a guardian angel. “If people get connected to the river, my job is done,” Burdette continued.
A riverkeeper. “People take care of what they love,” he said, “what they care about so a lot of times I feel like that’s the most important thing I can do.”
Kemp Burdette is the Cape Fear Riverkeeper and protecting our environment is his mission.
“As the Riverkeeper,” Burdette said of his job, “I’m a member of an international group called the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Waterkeeper Alliance has over 300 waterkeepers all over the world protecting the bodies of water where they live.”
Burdette works alongside the non-profit Cape Fear River Watch, offering educational programs and community building outdoor adventures.
“We have cleanups where we encourage everybody to come out and take part in where we keep litter out of the river,” Burdette said, “keep litter out of the ocean by keeping it out of the river.”
And he’s a hands on type of guy. Last year Burdette paddled 200 miles in the Cape Fear River in a week’s time.
“It was an opportunity to kind of share the river with folks,” Burdette told WWAY in a 2016 interview, “to try to raise a little awareness about the river and why it’s so special and why we need to be taking care of it.”
And he’s not just protecting the river and wildlife, he’s protecting us.
“Most of the people in our area drink Cape Fear river water,” Burdette said, “so I’m focused on pollution that’s going to have significant impacts from an environmental perspective, from a human health perspective.”
And that perspective, Kemp Burdette, makes you EXTRAORDINARY.