Wil Rainer is creating the role of Cahaba River Society’s Field Programs Director, leading, planning, and implementing river restoration projects for our Stewardship (river restoration) Program and leading river paddling trips for our Recreation and CLEAN Environmental Education Program.
Wil joined the Cahaba River Society in April 2021 as part of the Stewardship Team of interns. Over the course of his internship, he worked closely with Education Director Gordon Black, and Environmental Science Educator La’Tanya Scott, on the Shane Hulsey CLEAN Environmental Education Program as well as on the Cahaba River invasive plant management program eradicating taro among the lilies.
Wil is a strong paddler and river guide, continuing CRS’ tradition of trained leadership to ensure safe, enjoyable experiences on the Cahaba. Growing up in Memphis, Wil spent time paddling along the Wolf River; his favorite section is the beautiful, cypress-clad Ghost River.
He attended Sewanee: The University of the South from which he holds a Bachelor’s in Natural Resources. Wil moved to Birmingham in 2017 and worked in land sales at Resource Management Services, LLC before moving to Wilmington, NC where he continued with RMS as a forester. After moving to Edwards, CO and working at Beaver Creek Ski Resort, Wil began work with the Bureau of Land Management on a botany crew characterizing plant and soil communities across 1.3 million acres of public land. After returning to Birmingham in 2020, Wil turned his eye towards the river systems with Osprey Initiative, LLC. He helped manage the Litter Gitter devices in the Cahaba River, the Black Warrior River and the many tributaries of each. With Osprey, Wil helped remove and recycle thousands of pounds of trash from waterways in Birmingham, Decatur and Atlanta.
When not working with CRS, Wil enjoys any outdoor activity and loves to identify plants. He is currently building a personal herbarium of plants he sustainably collects throughout the Southeast.