Meet the State Association Council Member of the year, Cawaco’s own Sheila Baker! We are so proud of her!

We met Sheila Baker in the mid-2000’s, and approached her about becoming a Council Member. She was working for a Senior Service organization in Birmingham. She was delighted to serve, and has been an active and dedicated Board Member for at least 10 years. Sheila has always been involved in community improvement and social services, and has connected our council to many underserved, inner-city members and organizations throughout the Council area, and at times, beyond it.
Sheila rarely misses a Council meeting and if she does, she always tells us she will not be in attendance, and why. She attends every state board meeting possible, participates in board member trainings, and attends Southeastern as well as State Association annual meetings. Sheila stops by the office to catch up on Council business if she misses a meeting. She always volunteers or offers to help during meetings. Sheila serves on the Cawaco grant committee and carefully reads each application, often requesting further information before grading a grant. Sheila asks questions before making a decision.
In 2018, as in every year, Sheila actively connected Cawaco with organizations and projects in the area that affect the “invisible” members of society, whether they be handicapped, elderly, or disabled veterans. Sheila is one of the few Board Members who will tell others about the services Cawaco can provide them, and has been instrumental in establishing partnerships and projects with these organizations. Sheila has connected Cawaco with community gardens, women’s shelters, girl’s homes and the local chapter of the Disabled American Veterans. She has supported and created programs to teach seniors computer and job skills.
Sheila Baker is the only Cawaco Board Member who invested $100 in the Council and challenged the other Board members to contribute.
Sheila asks questions during meetings and reads the meeting documents and board policies prior to meetings; shares her knowledge of RC&D with everyone she meets; and is active in the State Association. Sheila demonstrates unwavering dedication and endlessly promotes the values of RC&D, and strengthens the State Association by providing diversity and identifying projects in areas we would not otherwise be able to access.

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Our Board Member and former Coordinator Paul Kennedy was added to the RC&D Hall of Fame on April 9. 2019! CONGRATULATIONS PAUL KENNEDY!


Our Board Member and former Coordinator Paul Kennedy was added to the RC&D Hall of Fame on April 9. 2019! CONGRATULATIONS PAUL KENNEDY!

Posted by Cawaco RC&D on Thursday, April 11, 2019

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You are welcome! We are always happy to support first responders.

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Are you going or do you want to attend the Mumford & sons concert Saturday night- while ALSO volunteering for a really great cause? Volunteers watch 1/2 the show and work the other 1/2 with the r.Cup program. People pay $3 to rent a cup and fill it up with their drinks from the vendor over the night. At the end of the night you can take your cup home (it says Mumford & Sons) or return it and get your $3 back. So say you have 2 drinks, instead of throwing out 2 cups you throw out no cups!! Check out the r.Cup website and Facebook page and contact them with questions and if you would like to volunteer!

Is Your Child Ready for Summer Camp?

Planning for summer care for your children can be overwhelming. You have to evaluate your options as early as the winter and prepare your child for the upcoming change in schedule. This can be particularly challenging if it is your child’s first summer camp experience. Luckily, the National Institutes of Health has helpful resources to help like how to pay for camp and different types of summer programs to make your research easier.

Are you or someone you know a veteran? Let them know about this conference! It's FREE but space is limited!

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More Educational Resources from the Smithsonian!

The tool trailer has a new look! The shop class at the Walker County Center for Technology put some fresh paint on it!

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We were happy to assist Manna Farms in getting their solar panels for their greenhouse!

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Applications Now Being Accepted for K-12 Student and Teacher Awards
Applications are due March 8, 2019
WASHINGTON — Applications are now being accepted for the President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) and The Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators Award (PIAEE).
EPA is seeking PEYA and PIAEE awards applications that highlight environmental stewardship in a variety of areas, including the following: environmental sustainability: a healthy school environment including projects that reduce food waste in school cafeterias; environmentally friendly agriculture practices; reducing human contributions to ocean litter and how to prevent it; school gardens; recycling; or using STEM to teach environmental education.
The PEYA program recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth, promoting awareness of our nation's natural resources and encouraging positive community involvement.
PEYA is an annual award administered by the Office of Environmental Education at EPA. Since 1971, EPA has recognized young people for protecting our nation's air, water, land, and ecology. Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Through environmental education and stewardship activities, students develop the critical thinking skills experience to make informed decisions and take responsible actions to address difficult environmental issues.
EPA will select up to two winners in each of EPA’s 10 Regions – one regional winner for Grades K-5 and one regional winner for Grades 6-12. Winners of this year’s awards will be invited to a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in mid-2019, and have their project mentioned on EPA’s website.
All student projects must be sponsored by at least one adult over the age of 21. The application and eligibility information are available at:
For more information, please contact
The PIAEE is an annual award program administered by the Office of Environmental Education at EPA. Since 1971, the EPA has recognized exceptional K-12 teachers employing innovative, interactive approaches to environmental education. It is one of the most important ways EPA and the Administration demonstrate commitment to environmental stewardship efforts created and conducted by our nation's teachers.
PIAEE awardees will receive an award of up to $2,500 to be used to further the recipient's professional development in environmental education. The teacher's local education agency will also receive an award of up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs (and not for construction costs, general expenses, salaries, bonuses, or other administrative expenses).
EPA will select up to two winners in each of EPA’s 10 Regions.
For information on recent winners, visit:
Details regarding application requirements and descriptions of winning projects since 2002 can be found at:
For more information, please contact:

When you plant you garden, remember the flowers aren’t just for you! Don’t spray! Do not use systemic pesticides that get into the fiber of the plant. All poisons are toxic to bees and hummingbirds.

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Check out the presentations from the 2019 Alabama Rivers & Streams Network Annual Conference!

Hey they got our name right!! 👍🏽🙂

We continue to support our first responders!

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Charles Yeager presenting Turkey Creek Rush Darter Fish Passage project. Cawaco is proud to be one of the partners supporting their work.

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We are currently delivering (and mailing) vegetable seed to community and school gardens all over Alabama!
This week we went to Adamsville Elementary, Childersburg High School, Oak Grove Elementary and also delivered to seeds banks located at the Blount-Jefferson Regional Library and the Oneonta Public Library- AND to other community gardens!
We enjoy getting out in communities and connecting with people, and learning how people create bonds through gardening.
Much of the produce is donated to lunchrooms, students, or homeless shelters.
The seed we receive are donated by Whitley’s Feed and Seed in Snead, Al. They generously donate their leftover seed to us each year, so it won’t go to waste. Their kindness makes this program possible.

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Alabama Communities of Excellence is currently accepting applications for the competitive 2019 class through March 11, 2019 and encourages towns of 2,000- 18,000 population range with a commitment towards the program to apply for the upcoming application.

Applications may be found on the website at

A free training workshop will be held Friday, January 11, 2019 in Montgomery, Alabama to assist those interested in the application process. Please note, there will be two workshop sessions held on the 11th, but each session will provide the same valuable information. Registration is expected for those planning to attend the event. The first session will be held from 9:30- 11:30 a.m., and the link for registration can be found at 2019workshop/. The second session will be held from 1:30- 3:30 p.m., and the link for registration can be found at

Attached you will find a map listing of current ACE Communities along with an informational flyer regarding the Training Workshop.

Happy New Year! Here’s a reminder that we are currently delivering vegetable seed. If you have already filled out the seed application and have not received an email from us, check your spam folder and add us to your safe list.

This year we received far less seed than in previous years so act now or you may miss out!
Email Patti at with your daytime phone number and delivery address as well as dates and times you’re available in January. The Cawaco 5-County area takes precedence. However, we will be distributing the seed statewide through our sister RC&D councils!
If you haven’t applied for seed (and soil) go to the website and fill out the form today. 🙂

Did you know that 60% of Alzheimer's patients will wander, and most of them wander repeatedly? There are 90,000 victims of Alzheimer's in the state of Alabama. People aged 85 and over are the fastest growing segment in our society with 8,000 individuals turning 85 every day!
Cawaco granted Alzheimer's of Central Alabama a grant to purchase Project Lifesaver Kits for patients with Alzheimer's who wander. Alzheimer's of Central Alabama offers caregiver support, education, and research support.

We are honored to be awarded this grant and to be mentioned by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. This project also includes the following partners:University of West Alabama, Geological Survey of Alabama, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

In an effort to protect and restore Alabama’s waterways, Cawaco partners with the Alabama Rivers & Streams Network to locate issues within Strategic Habitat Units in Alabama’s River Systems. If you are aware of problem areas in Alabama rivers and/or streams, and would like to report it for possible restoration, fill out this form.

It’s easy!

Just note any problems you see that could impede wildlife, such as pollution, fish passage, invasive species, etc.

Note the location, gps, road crossing, etc.

Tell us what the problem is.

Tell us what you’d like to see done about it.

Take photos.

Your input will be entered into a database and could be chosen for restoration. Funds are available for projects that will improve endangered species habitat so help us locate locations that need help! Thanks !

Merry Christmas to you and yours! -

Cawaco would like to wish you and yours a happy, healthy holiday and blessings throughout the new year.

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The latest Cawaco newsletter/2018 End of Year Report! -

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We support first responders!

We visited Shelby Emergency Assistance in Montevallo last week, with Senator Cam Ward and Rep. April Weaver and got a tour of their new facility. Cawaco helped fund the upgrade of the SEA teaching kitchen.
Shelby Emergency Assistance exists to provide the basic needs for people in crisis, helping them achieve self-sufficiency. find out more at

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Update! We added some photos! Thanks to everyone who came out and helped! We got a lot of trash out of the creek and planted a bunch of native plants!

We will be at East Lake Park planting the streambank along Village Creek this Sunday, November 11 at 1pm. Come join in on the fun and celebrate Veterans Day by planting a tree in honor of your favorite veteran!
East Lake Park Village Creek Restoration

Sunday November 11 Registration 12:30 PM At Shepherd Center East Parking Lot Planting 1– 4 PM Community Service Credit Available

Meet at the Shepherd Center East 200 84th Street North OR REGISTER AT WWW.RUFFNERMOUNTAIN.ORG

PROJECT PARTNERS: The Nature Conservancy Birmingham Parks and Recreation Birmingham Stormwater Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve Cawaco RC&D Council Village Creek Society

Contact: Francesca Gross Urban Conservation Program Manager The Nature Conservancy 205-732-3942
Partially funded by a 5 Star Grant from The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation And Southern Company

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Your purchases can make a difference! AmazonSmile donates to Cawaco Resource Conservation And Development Area when you do your holiday shopping at Amazon.

Very nice article by Ed Howell of the DME. We enjoy the work we do in Walker County!

A video about the tree planting at East Lake Park!

Saturday we had perfect weather to plant a native forest at East Lake Park! Partnerships and volunteers makes events like this a success. Thanks so much to TAP for the volunteer athletes. Mayor Woodfin came out to enjoy the day as well.

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Five years ago, it was a warehouse and they fed the hungry using crock pots and an old stove. But with the spirit to serve the community, and the dedication of volunteers, Hope House Church now serves roughly 300 meals per week, and makes meal deliveries. "We give people hope", says pastor Thomas Martin.

Come out to East Lake Park this Saturday and help us plant some trees! The holes are already dug! Registration is FREE and the first 30 people to show up get a free tree to take home!
This initiative is part of a project we have collaborated on with The Nature Conservancy, the Alabama Forestry Commission, the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County SWCD, and Ruffner Mountain Nature Center to survey the Birmingham City tree canopy, assess it's health and plan for the future. Come take a part in history!

Cawaco supports first responders in Blount County! We are thankful for Representative Standridge and Senator Shellnut for continuing to support the work we do.

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We like to make sure Alabama citizens are safe.

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We are proud to support M4A in their efforts to educate first responders who are confronted with the challenges of citizens with dementia. M4A is taking this project into all 5 Cawaco counties!

ATTENTION TEACHERS! Do you know you can take your class on a field trip without leaving the classroom? Now you can- and it’s free!

Please share and let other know about these important resources available to families struggling with dementia related illnesses.

Lesson plan that teaches kids how to test air quality in their homes, classrooms and outdoor environments!

We are always excited when stuff we do makes the paper! 🙂

Bluff Park Elementary!

A sample of projects funded in 2018! Click the link to see all the awesome stuff going on in the area!

We visited Bluff Park Elementary today with teacher Katie Collins, Rep. Faulkner and Senator Waggoner, and spent some time learning about the Maker Spaces learning library that was funded through a small Cawaco grant. Children learn hands-on problem solving skillls, teamwork and socializing, as well as Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math!
We really enjoyed visiting with all the students and teachers! 😃

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