The EKU Center for Appalachian Studies has been involved in capacity-building initiatives within the Appalachian region over the past decade. One of the most notable has been our collaboration and alliance with the Kentucky Riverkeeper (KRK). In this essay, we first talk about the development of this alliance and what it may mean for the field of Appalachian studies or specifically, what Reid and Taylor (2002) and Reid (2005) have referred to as "critical regionalism" and "civic Professionalism." After this overview of current modes of thought and action within Appalachian studies, we discuss some of the research and teaching we have accomplished in partnership with the KRK. As we will share, Center faculty, students, and the Kentucky Riverkeeper worked together to develop and distribute a survey to assess the views of county officials regarding the Kentucky River. These survey results have been used by the Kentucky Riverkeeper and the EKU Center for Appalachian Studies to advocate on behalf of the river. In the third section of the essay, we discuss how the Center’s partnership and alliance with the KRK, and the broader Waterkeeper Alliance, have helped in other ways to advocate for, protect, and defend the Kentucky.

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