Cawaco wins three State Awards

 Awards, Cawaco Administration, Community, Conference, Grant Success  Comments Off on Cawaco wins three State Awards
Jul 012014

Paul McCaleb, Outstanding Council Member


Cawaco RC&D Council Chairman Paul McCaleb won the McCarty Award for Outstanding Council Member of the Year during the Alabama State RC&D Council Annual Meeting held in Mobile on May 30.

Paul McCaleb recognized for the following contributions to Cawaco:

  • Cawaco’s budget grew from $25,000 per year (1992) to over $500,000 (2014).
  • The Council is audited on a yearly basis
  • Parks and Recreation were made top priority for the next 2 years
  • Cawaco is one of the most successful, strongest Councils in Alabama

Paul McCaleb has been actively involved as a Cawaco Council member for over 30 years.  He serves on the Executive Board of the Alabama Association of RC&D Councils, and attends all scheduled state and local meetings. Paul is well-known and respected throughout the region.  Utilizing his influence and contacts, he has been able to identify several impactful Council projects, including: Equipment for fire and police departments, procurement and maintenance of a trailer equipped with tools for trails building and maintenance [to be used by volunteers], and educational programs for schools throughout the region.  Recently he introduced Cawaco to the Administrative Assistant to the Mayor of Birmingham, in an effort to form an alliance to help revitalize underserved areas of North Birmingham.
His commitment to the environment extends to his personal projects, utilizing sustainable methods for managing his forest land, planting wildlife plots, and installation and management of long leaf pine.

Cawaco Program Manager Wins Two Awards


Programs Manager, Patti Pennington received Employee of the Year AND Appreciation for Outstanding Service from the Alabama Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils.  The awards were received at the State RC&D meeting, May 30th in Mobile, Alabama. 
The award for Outstanding Service was due to her support and leadership of the Electrathon Project.  Specifically, Patti was instrumental in developing the initial relationship with SKY as the program was beginning; nurturing the program and encouraging them to apply for Council grants.  The program provides hands-on education in science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) to Calera High School students.  The program has moved from developing battery operated cars at Calera High School, which were donated and used as medical vehicles in Honduras, to a state wide competition that excites students to learn STEM skills while educating the public about alternative vehicles.
As Employee of the Year, Patti is in full charge of AARCDC program projects (challenge, education, and community development).  She brings an attitude of patience with grantees and nurtures their vision in service to others.  She is responsible for coordinating all public relations on behalf of the Council and does it in a way that elevates the Council in the eyes of the public.  In her administration duties, Patti also manages several successful Council projects: Seeds for Change, Tool Trailer for Trails and the River Kids Program. 

Cawaco RC&D Accepted in the Inaugural Class for Standards of Excellence

 Cawaco Administration  Comments Off on Cawaco RC&D Accepted in the Inaugural Class for Standards of Excellence
Jun 132011

Cawaco RC&D Accepted in the Inaugural Class for Standards of Excellence


Cawaco RC&D has been accepted to enter the inaugural class for the Standards of Excellence program promoted by the Alabama Association of Nonprofits (  The National Standards of Excellence Institute was formed to promote the highest standards of ethics and accountability in nonprofit governance, management and operations.  It provides nonprofits with clear benchmarks to measure performance against the highest standards of nonprofit governance and management, delivers educational programming and technical assistance, and grants the Seal of Excellence to organizations that complete a rigorous peer review process.

Kellie Johnston
Cawaco RC&D
(205) 264-8461

RC&D Federal Support Cut

 Cawaco Administration  Comments Off on RC&D Federal Support Cut
Apr 262011

On April 15, 2011 some federally funded programs were zeroed out. This budget cut to the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) program resulted in the removal of federal support for RC&D Councils across the country.

Federal funds, a coordinator, and an office support were eliminated as the NRCS cut the Resource, Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council collaboration from its budget. Funding from USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service provided the Cawaco council with a coordinator, Heidi Richards; 2 vehicles for program implementation; and office rent and expenses.

Cawaco RC&D Council will continue to receive financial support from administrative fees from grants, Challenge and ACES grant administration, and water partnership support. At this time, the council does not use fund raising events for project support.

The Cawaco RC&D mission, vision and goals will remain the same, and the 501(c)3 organization will continue to serve Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, and Walker with four board members from each county.   Collaboration with other entities – such as Soil and Water Conservation Districts – will also continue.

Former Cawaco RC&D Project Coordinator, Heidi Richards, has been transferred to the NRCS Bessemer Field Office. Projects such as the promotion of green technology for Chilton County, led by Heidi and council member Tracia Bussey will need to be re-evaluated.