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Georgia River Network will host a Fat Tuesday celebration to raise awareness of the threat that a proposed titanium mine brings to the Okefenokee Swamp.

ATHENS — With a mining company perhaps months from securing state permits to begin digging for titanium near the Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia River Network is hosting a Fat Tuesday celebration to raise awareness of this threat to the swamp and generate funds to stop the mine.

The “Save the Swamp Mardi Gras Masquerade” is set for Feb. 16, from 5-7 p.m. in person at Conklin Farm in Sandy Springs and will be broadcast live on Facebook. The all-outdoor, in-person party, limited to 50 supporters, will feature live music from Rob Jordan, a bonfire, Terrapin beer, a Vibe kayak raffle and gift package prize from legendary Athens-based rock band, R.E.M.

Tickets are $50 and may be purchased online at https://garivers.org/paddle-georgia/swamp-party-2021/.

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Supporters can also tune in to the party via a free livestream broadcast from the organization’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/georgiarivernetwork.

“The Okefenokee is one of Georgia’s seven natural wonders and is a wetland of international importance,” Rena Peck, the Georgia River Network’s executive director, said in a news release. “The state of Georgia shouldn’t risk this international treasure by allowing this mining proposal to move forward.”

To date, Gov. Brian Kemp has received more than 7,000 messages from citizens asking him to stop the mine.

In its initial phase, the proposed 8,000-acre titanium mine would impact 600 acres of land along Trail Ridge adjacent to the swamp. The mining would involve digging deep pits into this ridge and pumping groundwater from beneath the land and swamp. GRN and scientists warn that the proposed project could alter water levels in the swamp, irreparably damaging its ecosystem as well as swamp tourism that supports an estimated 750 local jobs.

The in-person and online fundraiser is highlighted by a kayak raffle with one lucky participant winning a Yellowfin 120 kayak from Kennesaw-based manufacturer Vibe Kayaks. Tickets are on sale now at https://garivers.org/paddle-georgia/swamp-party-2021/. Participants need not be present to win the kayak. Individuals or businesses interested in sponsoring the event are asked to contact Peck at rena@garivers.org

At the in-person festivities at Conklin Farm, Jordan will perform live while participants enjoy a bonfire and beer from Athens-based brewer Terrapin. In-person participants also stand a chance to win an R.E.M. gift package in a “King Cake” prize giveaway. COVID-19 social distancing recommendations will be enforced at the venue. Mardi Gras beads and masks — for festive decoration and public health protocols — will be provided.

Proceeds from the event support Georgia River Network’s advocacy efforts to protect the Okefenokee. GRN is a statewide 501(c)(3) organization with the mission of helping everyone enjoy, connect with and advocate for economically vital and clean flowing rivers.

For more information, contact Peck at (404) 395-6250 or rena@garivers.org.

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