The Freshwater Land Trust, a 501©(3) non-profit organization, has seven full-time employees, one part-time employee and is governed by a 15-member board of directors.
Wendy Jackson has over 18 years of experience in the field of real estate with most of those years spent in conservation. Since joining the Freshwater Land Trust in 2001, Wendy’s passion for river and land conservation has fueled her work to establish preserves and projects such as the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, the Five Mile Creek Greenways project, and Red Mountain Park. During her tenure as Executive Director, the Land Trust has helped to protect over 10,000 acres of land in north-central Alabama. She has also helped to secure almost $17 million dollars in gifts of land, cash and other contributions.
Wendy has been recognized across the state for her businesslike approach to conservation and her unique ability to bring diverse partners together for the benefit of conservation. She is the 2005 recipient of the James Dockery Environmental Leadership Award that is presented to individuals who have played a leadership role in preserving the South’s environment. She is celebrating her tenth anniversary at the Freshwater Land Trust this year. In 2013, Wendy was named Friend of Planning by the American Planning Association due to her efforts to coordinate the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System.
Director of Land Conservation
Brian Rushing is the Director of Land Conservation and came to the Land Trust in March 2003. With an educational background in forestry, geology, environmental planning and management, business, and real estate, Brian tailored his academic pursuits for a career working with land trusts. He is a graduate of the University of the South (B.S.), Louisiana State University (M.S.), and the University of Alabama (M.B.A.) and has worked in natural history and environmental education for a number of years.
Since coming to the Land Trust, Brian has worked to complete the Land Trust’s implementation of the Jefferson County Greenways Program, and to date has negotiated numerous land acquisitions. In addition to on-the-ground land acquisition and stewardship activities, Brian has also worked with the Land Trust’s Board of Directors to develop a number of policies and procedures that guide the land acquisition and stewardship work of the Land Trust and that keep these activities consistent with the Land Trust Alliance’s Standards and Practices. In early 2009, FWLT became the first land trust in Alabama to be accredited by the Land Trust Alliance.
Chief Operating Officer
Richard Tucker has more than 25 years of experience working in the land conservation field. He came to the land trust from the Nature Conservancy, Alabama where he was director of operations and previously was associate state director and counsel for the Trust for Public Land in Atlanta where he worked on the Atlanta Beltline, a 23-mile loop of parks, green space and trails in central Atlanta.
Prior to moving to Atlanta, Richard worked on a variety of land conservation and planning programs for King County, Washington. He has a law degree from Florida State University and a master’s in public administration from the University of West Florida.
“I have grown to love this region and am excited to be associated with an organization which has done so much to improve its quality of life.”
Bryding Adams Director of Philanthropy
Bryding Adams has become well known in the local philanthropic community through three decades of nonprofit leadership experience. She served as curator of decorative arts at the Birmingham Museum of Art, development director at the YWCA of Birmingham and executive director of the Alabama School of Fine Arts Foundation, where she was responsible for the planning and successful funding of the Dorothy Jemison Day Theatre. Adams earned a master’s in history-museum studies from the State University of New York.
As a Birmingham native, hiker, gardener and birdwatcher, Adams personally connects with the trust’s mission to preserve the outdoor spaces that make a difference in the quality of life here.
“At this point in my life, I am solely concerned with making my contribution to something larger than myself that will last forever.”
Rhonda Blevins began working as Office Manager for the Freshwater Land Trust in July of 2007. Outside of work, Rhonda stays busy with her 4 children and 5 grandchildren, and she loves to enjoy the outdoors with them!
Rebekah is from Huntsville and had the blessing of growing up surrounded by nature on Monte Sano Mountain. She attended Birmingham-Southern College and received a B.A. in urban environmental studies in 2009. After completing her undergraduate degree, Rebekah continued her education and received a M.S. in geography with a concentration in physical geography from the University of Alabama. Rebekah brings a wealth of field and research experience from her time at Birmingham-Southern and University of Alabama. Rebekah enjoys spending her free time relaxing and playing Frisbee with her two-year old chocolate lab, June.
Village Creek Watershed Coordinator
Valerie Wilson came on board with the Freshwater Land Trust in August of 2009 as its first-ever Village Creek Coordinator. She has a background in communications and marketing. Since joining the Land Trust, Valerie has created the Champions for the Village Creek Greenway and launched numerous efforts to improve the Village Creek watershed. Valerie is from Foley, Alabama, and she graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.A. in broadcast journalism. Valerie lives just five miles from the headwaters of Village Creek.
Greg has applied his communication background to several pursuits. He has worked as a communication instructor, research consultant and freelance writer. Robinson made his way into the public relations sphere through an internship at Wilbanks Agency before being hired by the Freshwater Land Trust. As a native Georgia-flatlander, he marvels at the topography of this region and is also fascinated by its rapid industrial rise; this juxtaposition of nature and metropolitan life is something he gets to explore daily at the land trust. He received an M.A. from Auburn University and a B.A. from Valdosta State University in Communication.