Kelly Jochim brought the love of the sea and outdoors, developed as a youngster in a rustic Massachusetts whaling town, to Eastern North Carolina, where she now works to keep the rivers and sounds here healthy for wildlife and residents.
Kelly is the Development and Outreach Coordinator for the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation (PTRF), a non-profit organization that works to keep the Tar and Pamlico Rivers, along with the adjoining Pamlico Sound, alive and healthy. A Greenville resident, she works out of the organization’s Washingon office in Beaufort County.
Her job includes communicating PTRF’s programs and information updates to the public via print and web-based social media sites like Facebook (more than 1,900 followers), Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. She also coordinates outreach and volunteer programs.
“I think my love of the outdoors developed as a youngster. My mother was a teacher and she just didn’t want me indoors. She told me to go outside a lot,” she recalls.
“Outside” was in New Beford, a historical whaling village on Buzzard’s Bay south of Boston and mentioned in the classic novel “Moby Dick” written by Herman Melville.
She grew up active with a love of sports, fishing, camping and anything related to the freedom of being in nature. She came to Greenville to pursue and earn a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from East Carolina University.
During her studies she became involved in coastal programs involving the North Carolina seashore.
“I got a chance to get to know the National Seashore, but budget cuts during the recession ended the studies. However, it really got me involved in coastal issues,” Kelly recalls.
“After graduation I found a job opening on Craig’s List (an internet site) for this position and everything just came together perfectly,” she says. That was five years ago.
Kelly’s enthusiam for her job and organization comes across in a recent article of the organization’s Currents newsletter.
“The Tar-Pamlico River is a vital link to the communities residing along its banks in Eastern North Carolina. It is our source of Greenville’s drinking water, our favorite fishing holes, and our playground. Our communities exist because of the river and have grown around a deep tradition of respect for the common good,” she wrote.
The organization conducts volunteer-based river and sound clean up projects, and since 2006 has removed an estimated 11 tons of trash from local waters. It also provides information on kayaking, fishing, oyster roasts and camping throughout the region. The foundation also becomes active in legislative matters that may affect the waterways.
“I want to tell people to join us and support our work for the river. They can volunteer for events, become a member or get on our email list from the website for updates on the what we are doing,” Kelly says.
The organization’s website is www.ptrf.org. She can be reached at 252-946-7211.