Cawaco Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. is seeking grant applications for the 2020 Challenge and Educational Grant Programs in Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby and Walker Counties of Central Alabama.

Qualifying applicants must be a non-profit residing in one of the above qualifying counties. More information about Cawaco can be accessed at, or by contacting the Programs Manager, Patti Pennington @ 205-623-0457 or

Applications are available online:

Proposals must be received prior to July 1, 2019

Bluff Park Elementary Project - Purchased 2 Zipgrow Farm walls and mounted them in a high traffic area next to the gym and cafeteria. They also purchased a portable tower garden along with books (related to gardening to be added to the Literacy Makerspace that CAWACO previously funded), growing supplies and some materials and items for students to cook with the produce grown.
According to Ms. Katie Collins, the powerhouse behind this project:
"The students used hydroponics in all areas of the curriculum. Hydroponics served as a springboard for deeper learning. Here is a video of an experience with hydroponics from one class' perspective. Please note that this is only one class' experience and that the funding that you have provided has reached an entire school-wide population."

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Here is a video the students of Bluff Park Elementary made that highlights what they've learned in Ms. Katie Collins class. THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT!!

Littering isn't cool but this PSA is!

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Thanks to Cawaco RC&D’s sponsorship of the Birmingham Schools Conservation Partnership, close to 80 students had the opportunity to walk through the Discovery Hall at the NaturePlex, and get up close to the gigantic rat snake coiled
tightly under tree bark; a sly snapping turtle lurking in the water; tree frogs clinging to branches; and a variety of other native reptiles and amphibians.

A BLAST from the PAST! Check out this presentation about the stream restoration we managed on Town Creek in Jasper way back in 2009.

We attended a special event in Shelby County last week! Little graduates received their diplomas!

Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) is a home-based, parent involvement program that brings early learning educational materials into the homes of those most at risk because of poverty, parents' limited education, and social isolation. It teaches parents as well as children.
A grant from Cawaco made it possible to expand the program by purchasing curriculum.
This curriculum was used to provide services to rural Shelby County. The HIPPY Grant Program operates under the supervision of Shelby County Board of Education Federal Programs, supervised by Mary Cooper.

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We do like to see children being exposed and learning about the natural world!

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We appreciate Senator Greg Reed for supporting the Smith Lake cleanup and for continuing to reach out to his constituents, find their needs, and contact Cawaco for assistance.
We appreciate Senator Reed and his dedication to the people of Alabama.

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Cawaco RC&D supported this project by funding the winners with cash prizes. Way to go to the winning teams and to Jefferson County Soil & Water for doing such a great job! Students in local schools competed to create an anti-litter video. I saw the winning video last night on a local station!

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Cawaco proudly supports the cleanup efforts and the fish habitat restoration by the Smith Lake Civic Association. Good job, guys!

So many children go home hungry on the weekends. This woman was determined to do something about it. This is one of the Walker County projects that Cawaco proudly supports.

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On May 1, the City if Hoover officially opened the EXPLORE playground and splash pad. It’s a big deal for the state of Alabama and Cawaco helped fund a portion of it! See what makes it so unique!

Cawaco is now accepting proposals for the 2020 Grant Cycle. Apply Today! The deadline is July 1.

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!