Who We Are

To learn about our past Interns, or how to be an Intern for CVW, click here.


Katie Register, Executive Director, works extensively on water pollution prevention, focusing mainly on land-based sources of plastic pollution. She has done extensive research on many marine debris issues, including ways to prevent littering and the impacts of cigarette litter on aquatic organisms. With the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program staff, she helped designed a campaign (Joyful Send-off) that is focused on stopping the intentional releases of helium-filled balloons. With CZM, she created PreventBalloonLitter.org

In 2020, Katie co-founded the Virginia Plastic Polution Prevention Network along with the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and the Eco Maniac Company.

She has consulted with the National Geographic Society, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ocean Conservancy, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program as well as corporations. She also co-authored a document for the United Nations about market-based solutions to marine litter.

Katie has a Master’s degree from Miami University in Biology, and a Master’s degree from George Mason University in Environmental Science and Public Policy. Her thesis examined the environmental impacts of the #1 most common type of litter on Earth -- cigarette butts.

Email Katie Register


Charlotte Pfamatter, Assistant Manager and Education Specialist.
Charlotte, a 2021 Longwood University graduate has a B.S. in Integrated Environmental Sciences. Charlotte manages most aspects of the International Coastal Cleanup in Virginia, and assists with all other CVW projects. During her time at Longwood, she served as Vice President of the environmental science honors fraternity, a fellow of the Honors College and STEM scholarship programs, and was an independent researcher that awarded her to be Longwood’s nominee for the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship in 2020. Charlotte also worked for Longwood’s Office for Sustainability and for the Camp for Environmental Exploration, an environmental stewardship summer camp for rising 4th-6th graders. 

Email Charlotte Pfamatter


Affiliated Faculty

Dina Leech, PhD is the director of the Longwood University Water Quality Monitoring Program which is co-managed by CVW.

Dr. Leech is an Associate Professor of Biology in Longwood’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences. She is a native of Virginia and attended James Madison University, where she received a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Ecology.  In 2001, she received her Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Lehigh University and then went on to do postdoctoral work at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Leech has 22+ years of experience working in lakes, rivers, and estuaries.  Her research focuses on how human-induced environmental change affects water quality, biodiversity, and food web dynamics.  Her work has been published in top ecological and environmental journals, such as PLoS Biology, Environmental Science and Technology and Limnology and Oceanography. As the current director of the Longwood University Water Quality Monitoring Program, Dr. Leech has been actively collaborating with Clean Virginia Waterways since 2015 to assess levels of bacterial pollution in the Appomattox River and its tributaries near Farmville, VA.








Christina Trapani, a marine debris researcher in Virginia Beach created and manages the "Keep It Beachy Cleanup" community outreach campaign, and conducts monitoring of balloon-related litter on Virginia's remote beaches. She is co-author of several reports found on the CVW Publications Page.



Kathy O'Hara, a marine debris researcher based in Virginia Beach, has consulted with Clean Virginia Waterways for many years on various monitoring programs. She is the lead author of Balloon Litter Monitoring and Assessment for the Coastal Environment: A Protocol published in July 2018 by Clean Virginia Waterways.



CVW Student Interns and Volunteers

Over the years, CVW interns (mostly from Longwood University) have contributed to our community outreach programs including the International Coastal Cleanup, Rain Barrel Workshops, water quality monitoring, and litter prevention research. They have managed our social media accounts, analyzed data, reached out to the meda, helped plan regional and stateside conferences, and have lead in-the-field research and volunteer cleanup events.



hannah Photo of Ian Lower, CVW Intern 2019