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Good Neighbors: Samsung & Hackensack Riverkeeper


Since 2014, Samsung has been a friend, partner, and across-the-creek neighbor of Hackensack Riverkeeper, an organization that works to protect, preserve, and restore the Hackensack River Watershed. Samsung employees based in Ridgefield Park, NJ can often be found kayaking with friends on Overpeck Creek in their time away from the office, and once a year for the company’s annual Day of Service, Samsung sends approximately 100 volunteers out to assist in Riverkeeper’s litter clean-up efforts.

To honor this special relationship, Samsung also recently donated five new Galaxy Books that have become an indispensable part of Riverkeeper’s daily operations.

“We are grateful to Samsung for their generous donation of both time and treasure” said Riverkeeper Outreach Coordinator Caitlin Doran. The Riverkeeper team uses the Galaxy Books to process point-of-sale transactions, manage email lists and social media, and capture data on the fly.

Hackensack Riverkeeper staffers like Emily Fisher have been getting the community reacquainted with the river (including tributaries like Overpeck Creek) in growing numbers. Between its two paddling centers, Riverkeeper estimates that it puts over 4,000 paddlers on the water every year. The Riverkeeper team now processes all of this data on their Galaxy Books.

For over 20 years, Riverkeeper has worked to protect and restore the wetlands and habitats of New Jersey’s Hackensack River Watershed through environmental advocacy, action, education and enforcement. A licensed captain, former rock drummer, and passionate naturalist named Bill Sheehan, known as ‘Captain Bill,’ founded Hackensack Riverkeeper in 1997.

“The whole goal is to reconnect people with the watershed,” said Captain Bill. “Getting people reacquainted with the river is a big part of our mission.”

Captain Bill considers volunteer and outreach programs to be the heart of Riverkeeper.
The organization conducts outreach events in communities along its 210 square mile watershed from New York State to Newark Bay, and provides public access opportunities at its two kayak centers. They also conduct wetland tours, called Eco-Cruises, aboard their two 32ft. pontoon boats.

Riverkeeper’s Paddle Center Manager Russ Wilke shares Captain Bill’s opinion when it comes to teaching others about the river. The retired mail carrier regards joining Riverkeeper as the best decision of his life, and especially enjoys seeing children learn about and care for the river. “The message gets out through the children we reach,” said Wilke. “They’re the ones who say, ‘mom, pick up that straw.’”

In part due to Riverkeeper’s consistent clean-up and community outreach efforts (now powered by Samsung Galaxy Books), Riverkeeper staff says paddle sports are experiencing a surge in popularity in the Hackensack watershed region.

All of this fun is possible because the watershed is clean and thriving. Riverkeeper Outreach Coordinator Caitlin Doran leads clean-up initiatives out of “Vanna White,” Riverkeeper’s well-stocked transit van. A lifelong nature enthusiast and activist, she uses one of the organizations new Galaxy Books to coordinate “wonderful mobs” of corporate and community volunteers.

Doran leads no fewer than 25 clean-ups from April into November. Each year, she and her volunteers remove as much as 20 tons of waste—mostly plastic—from the environment. The Samsung Galaxy Books will help her get the most out her volunteers’ time, checking them in faster and getting them to work quicker. What really excites me,” Doran said, “are the long-term possibilities” afforded by speedier operations which lead to more people getting out on the river.

Editor’s Note: Hackensack Riverkeeper recently honored Samsung with its Corporate Environmental Stewardship Award at its annual Clean Water Celebration on October 18, 2018.

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