View this email in your browser.

CAWACO NEWS - June 2014 Edition

News you can use for Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby and Walker counties of Alabama

Follow us


June 1-4, 2014



On June 1-4, Cawaco staff and Board members attended the RC&D National Conference hosted in Mobile, Alabama. Since Alabama hosted the Meeting, all staff, Board Members and guests pitched in to help with registration, technical issues, and logistics. But we still had time for networking and education, as well as some fun!
The agenda was action-packed, exciting, and informative. On the first day of the National Conference,  attendees participated in a Mardi Gras Parade, and marched downtown following the Excelsior Marching Band and- escorted by Southern Belles.
Cawaco RC&D Staff, Board Members and invitees were equipped with Men In Black apparel and were amongst the best dressed in the parade, traversing through downtown Mobile to the final destination of the History Museum, where they attended the President's Reception. Click here for more pictures.

Meeting Topics Included:
On the first day of the conference, there were 9  breakout sessions.  Topics included Non-Profit risk assessment, and utilizing social media to multiply your connections and get your message out to the masses. Participants learned why indirect cost rates are important to their councils, what types of insurance you need and for how long. There were sessions highlighting successful, innovative projects throughout the nation. 
The documentary film “Children Changing the World”- which is about students at Chelsea High School who- through the assistance of grants from Cawaco RC&D- have made an impact half way around the globe. (See trailer for the movie here)

National Conference:


Employees and Board members receiving prestigious National Award.

Northwest RC&D Council 
Outstanding Completed project 

The State of Alabama received many National Awards! Northwest RC&D Council, located in Tuscumbia Alabama, received an award for  Outstanding Completed RC&D Project 2013. This outstanding Nationally recognized program promotes LITTER FREE events! See more about the project here.
Renona Seibert receives award

Renona Seibert of AMRV RC&D 
Outstanding Council Employee

Renona Seibert received a National award for Outstanding Council Employee. Renona always goes above and beyond. She trains employees of other councils, nurtures relationships with citizens in their Council Area, and works tirelessly for the local, state and National RC&D. Renona also helped organize the National Conference, and it was a huge success. Way to go, Renona! 



Cawaco RC&D Receives 3 Awards!

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. 

Board Member Spotlight

Fred Crawford

Fred Crawford is the Economic Developer for Chilton County. As such, his responsibilities are to recruit business and to work with business to help them stay in Chilton County and/or expand.
Fred tells me he enjoys trying to get autographs on baseball cards, as well as autographs of baseball Hall of Fame players on baseballs.
His passion is to help the University of Montevallo and the American Village in any way he can. He hopes Cawaco will help make some dreams a reality through its grants program.
Fred says Cawaco was foreign to him until he was hired and took the position as Economic Developer, in June of 2012. He then found out about Cawaco by looking in the files of the Industrial Development Board. Fred tells me, “I thought Cawaco looked like a good thing to be involved in.”
Since then, Fred  has become a very active Board Member who ferrets out new projects and identifies areas of need in Chilton County.
I asked Fred what types of projects he is most interested in, and his response was, “Projects that interest me the most are the ones that get young people to think responsibly about in their life.”
He added, “The grants to the LeCroy Career Technical School and to Calera High School are the ones that I like best. The students are challenged by what they do and it makes them better people.” 

Cawaco RC&D Executive Director Report

Council Administration

  • Finance Committee Meeting
    • Change of audit firm
    • Change of investment policy
    • Consideration of Indirect Cost Rate proposal to USDA/NRCS
    • Develop Committee to research the formation of a Revolving Loan Fund
  • Approached by the City of Vestavia to submit an EPA grant, “Model of Public-Private Partnership in Responsible Redevelopment Within a Watershed.”  Cawaco will manage the grant and coordinate community awareness opportunities.
  • 2014 Circle of Diamonds Reauthorization
  • AARCDC Risk Assessment Audit (March 20, 2014)
  • Results of the AARCDC Staff Salaries, Benefits and County Dues

5 Year Strategic Area Plan 2014-2019

  • Succession Plan (Goal 1, Objective 1, Strategy 3)
  • Needs Assessment Focus (Unfunded staff time to support Council identified projects)
    • Walker County
      • Walker County Lake Conceptual Plan (2015 Grant Development)
    • Blount County
      • Locust Fork Canoe Trail (Project Development)
      • City of Blountsville Stream Restoration (Project Development
    • Jefferson County
      • Cahaba Trail (Hoover/Vestavia) Conceptual Plan (2015 Grant Development)
      • Cahaba Pump House Weltand Grant Support-City of Vestavia
      • Little Shades Stream Restoration Erosion  (Project Development)
    • Shelby County
      • No requests
    • Chilton County
      • Minooka Park Signage (2015 Grant Development)
      • Birding Trail Promotional Material and Signage (2015 Grant Development


  • Forest Certification Workshop:  (New contract pending) $1,200 service contract from Alabama Forestry Commission + workshop fees.  Workshop to be hosted (tentatively) at Joe Wheeler State Park, July 2014 (date TBD)
  • Black Warrior Clean Water Partnership:  ADEM committed to fund ACWP through December 2015, ADEM will not be allowed to fund the Alabama Clean Water Partnership from Section 319 funds.  Cawaco impact:  loss of contract supporting Executive Director’s salary of $22,500/yr and loss of the Cahaba CWP program.
  • North River WMP Phase II:  Developing continuing strategies to improve water quality and implement the Watershed Management Plan in the North River watershed. 


Cawaco RC&D will be Requesting Proposals for grant applications beginning July 1, 2014. Please contact Patti Pennington AFTER JULY 1, to request an application. 205-623-0457, or email
Find out whats going on at Alabama State Parks here.
Forward to Friend
Follow us on Facebook
Copyright © 2014 Cawaco RC&D, Inc, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences