Rotary Honored

August 21st, 2015 by

Rotary Club of Birm­ing­ham Hon­ored as Water Con­ser­va­tion­ist of the Year by AWF

The cel­e­bra­tion of the Governor’s Con­ser­va­tion Achieve­ment Awards continues!

While the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust brought home the AWF Con­ser­va­tion Orga­ni­za­tion of the Year Award, the Rotary Club of Birm­ing­ham was also hon­ored as Water Con­ser­va­tion­ist of the Year Award for their out­stand­ing efforts with the Rotary Trail and the numer­ous water qual­ity ben­e­fits asso­ci­ated with this trans­for­ma­tional project.

To cel­e­brate its 100th anniver­sary, the Rotary Club of Birm­ing­ham part­nered with the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust to build Rotary Trail – a 4 block lin­ear park in the old his­tor­i­cal rail­road cut between north and south Birm­ing­ham in the mid­dle of the city, con­nect­ing Rail­road Park to Sloss Fur­naces and expand­ing the Red Rock Ridge and Val­ley Trail Sys­tem. The Rotary Club wanted a project that would ben­e­fit our community’s health, improve the nat­ural envi­ron­ment, encour­age devel­op­ment and pro­vide edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties to area chil­dren. The Rotary Trail addresses each of these goals and will be a last­ing gift to the City of Birm­ing­ham forever.

Birm­ing­ham Rotary mem­bers raised over $3.5 mil­lion for the project and have now part­nered with the City of Birm­ing­ham for its con­struc­tion and future main­te­nance. This public/private part­ner­ship will not only sup­port out­door fam­ily recre­ation, but also improve our community’s water qual­ity through an appro­pri­ate storm water drainage system.

The his­toric “cut” is an aban­doned rail line that is 16 ft below street level plagued by crumb­ing con­crete and graf­fiti. Although mostly hid­den from view, this site was a for­got­ten part of Birm­ing­ham, rel­a­tively unknown to most observers. The cen­tury old “cut” only served as a water waste land, drain­ing non­point source pol­lu­tion from the streets of Birm­ing­ham directly into Val­ley Creek.

The trail’s new design raises the grade of the cut to approx­i­mately 6 feet. The new trail, along with the green veg­e­ta­tion located along its cor­ri­dor, will now allow for the fil­tra­tion of sed­i­ment, oil, pol­lu­tion and other storm water runoff before it flows into Val­ley Creek and even­tu­ally into one of our pri­mary drink­ing water sources, the Black War­rior River. The new Rotary Trail is help­ing to make one of the largest pos­i­tive impacts on our community’s water qual­ity in recent history.

WJ-CherylTo cel­e­brate our part­ners bring­ing home these two awards, FWLT Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Wendy Jack­son and Cheryl Mor­gan were asked to speak to the Rotary Club the fol­low­ing week. Gov­er­nor Bent­ley was in atten­dance as well as Attor­ney Gen­eral Luther Strange, while Wendy and Cheryl dis­cussed the Rotary Trail project and their recent hon­ors at the Governor’s Con­ser­va­tion Achieve­ment Awards.

We’re proud to share this suc­cess story with the Rotary Club of Birm­ing­ham and all our part­ners and sup­port­ers who are help­ing bring the Rotary Trail to Birmingham!

WJ-Stan WJ-Gpv

Conservation Awards

August 17th, 2015 by

AWFThe Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust  was recently selected as the Con­ser­va­tion Orga­ni­za­tion of the Year for the Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Governor’s Con­ser­va­tion Achieve­ment Awards!

For more than 40 years, this award has rec­og­nized orga­ni­za­tions that make last­ing con­tri­bu­tions to con­ser­va­tion in Alabama. The Con­ser­va­tion Orga­ni­za­tion of the Year Award is a part of the Governor’s Con­ser­va­tion Achieve­ment Awards, selected by the Alabama Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion (AWF) and one of the high­est hon­ors in the con­ser­va­tion community.

The Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust and its Board of Direc­tors were hon­ored at the Governor’s Con­ser­va­tion Achieve­ment Awards Ban­quet for their work with Red Moun­tain Park, the Red Rock Ridge & Val­ley Trail Sys­tem, and Turkey Creek Nature Pre­serve, includ­ing the removal of Old Shadow Lake Dam on Turkey Creek, a project that opened up an addi­tional half mile of habi­tat for the endan­gered ver­mil­ion darter – a fish native to the Birm­ing­ham area that before this project only had about seven miles of habi­tat in the entire world.

This award helps us con­tinue to carry out our mis­sion of pre­serv­ing the spe­cial places that mat­ter in Alabama, and we are extremely hon­ored to be rec­og­nized as meet­ing AWF’s stan­dards of excel­lence,” Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Wendy Jack­son said.  “This mark of dis­tinc­tion allows us to posi­tion our­selves among the com­mu­nity as ded­i­cated stew­ards of Alabama’s excep­tional and irre­place­able nat­ural her­itage, leav­ing a per­ma­nent legacy for future gen­er­a­tions to admire.”

In addi­tion, the Rotary Club of Birm­ing­ham was selected as Water Con­ser­va­tion­ist of the Year Award for their work on the Rotary Trail. The Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust nom­i­nated Rotary Club, high­light­ing the numer­ous water qual­ity ben­e­fits asso­ci­ated with this trans­for­ma­tional down­town addi­tion to the Red Rock Trail.

The pur­pose of the Governor’s Con­ser­va­tion Achieve­ment Awards pro­gram is to pro­mote lead­er­ship by exam­ple and in turn increase con­ser­va­tion of the nat­ural resources of the State of Alabama – its wildlife, forests, soils, water, and air. The pro­gram is designed to bring about a greater knowl­edge and aware­ness of con­ser­va­tion prac­tices and projects, and to give proper recog­ni­tion to those per­sons and orga­ni­za­tions that make out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the nat­ural resource wel­fare of the com­mu­nity and the state.

Alabama Power Com­pany, a long-time part­ner and sup­porter of the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust, pro­vided the nom­i­na­tion for the award. Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S., and Randy Jones of Vul­can Mate­ri­als Com­pany pro­vided let­ters of sup­port. It is these spe­cial part­ner­ships with cor­po­rate sup­port­ers like Alabama Power, B.A.S.S., and Vul­can Mate­ri­als Com­pany that allow the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust to con­serve and pro­tect Alabama’s nat­ural and envi­ron­men­tal resources, ensur­ing that con­ser­va­tion efforts are per­ma­nent in Alabama.

This is the sec­ond time the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust has been hon­ored as Con­ser­va­tion Orga­ni­za­tion of the Year award, pre­vi­ously win­ing in 2003 as the Black Warrior-Cahaba River Land Trust.

About Alabama Wildlife Federation:

The Alabama Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion, estab­lished by sports­men in 1935, is the state’s old­est and largest cit­i­zens’ con­ser­va­tion orga­ni­za­tion.  The mis­sion of the Alabama Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion, a 501© 3 non-profit group sup­ported by mem­ber­ship dues and dona­tions, is to pro­mote con­ser­va­tion and wise use of Alabama’s wildlife and related nat­ural resources as a basis for eco­nomic and social pros­per­ity.  To learn more about AWF, includ­ing mem­ber­ship details, pro­grams and projects, con­tact Alabama Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion at 1–800-822-WILD or visit

Welcome Stan Palla

July 20th, 2015 by

Dennis Pillion Tour_00015_150720Excit­ing news for the Red Rock Ridge & Val­ley Trail Sys­tem.…we are pleased to announce that Stan Palla has joined our team as the Red Rock Trail Director!

Stan Palla, an avid cyclist, pad­dler and hiker, has had a suc­cess­ful career in the pub­lic, pri­vate and non-profit sec­tors. His love for urban spaces, the out­doors and qual­ity of life have guided his career and prin­ci­pal belief to leave every­thing bet­ter than he found it.

His work has caused the plant­ing of over two mil­lion trees in the City of Houston,and he also immensely improved Ruffner Moun­tain Nature Preserve’s pro­gram­ming and grounds as the organization’s exec­u­tive direc­tor. His love for cycling led him to be the Direc­tor for the Alabama Bicy­cle Coali­tion, in which he effec­tively passed the 3-foot pass­ing law in Alabama to pro­tect cyclists on the road. On top of that, his cre­ation and man­age­ment of the urban for­est in Birm­ing­ham became a national award win­ning program. 

Stan’s pas­sion for Birm­ing­ham and improv­ing pub­lic spaces was too grand for him to Stanpass up the Red Rock Ridge and Val­ley posi­tion and sees this as an oppor­tu­nity to leave a last­ing legacy for Birm­ing­ham, Jef­fer­son County and the well being of it cit­i­zens. As the Red Rock Trail Direc­tor, Stan will work with our many part­ners to build the 750-mile trail sys­tem through­out Jef­fer­son County, con­nect­ing our com­mu­nity to the places they want to go.

Wel­come, Stan, to the Fresh­wa­ter family!

Restoring Valley Creek

July 7th, 2015 by
Photo by Zac Napier

Photo by Zac Napier

We are hon­ored to receive fund­ing from the Shan­non Mine Sup­ple­men­tal Envi­ron­men­tal Project (SEP) agree­ment between the Black War­rior River­keep­ers and Shan­non, LLC, a sub­sidiary of Drum­mond Co., to sup­port restora­tion projects within the Val­ley Creek water­shed, restor­ing flood plains and remov­ing inva­sive species. Thank you to all the par­ties who made this fund­ing pos­si­ble and for help­ing the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust advance its mis­sion of pre­serv­ing the places that matter.

For more infor­ma­tion on this set­tle­ment click here.


Party on the Porch

June 29th, 2015 by

POP posterJoin us and our part­ners at Alabama Out­doors for the third Party on the Porch event of the sum­mer to ben­e­fit Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust!

Enjoy live music from Jason Bai­ley and Old Fash­ioned Rhythm Method, deli­cious food from Can­tina On Wheels, and refresh­ing local draft beer from Cahaba Brew­ing, avail­able in a $10 col­lectible cup (and served from the awe­some YETI jockey box). Bring your friends and fam­ily for corn hole and face paint­ing for kids (while sup­plies last).

Also, don’t miss your chance to win some awe­some give­aways! We’ll be raf­fling two pairs of tick­ets to Land Aid 2015, our sig­na­ture event at Avon­dale Brew­ery com­ing up on July 31st!

We are so excited to kick off the sum­mer with this event and share some excit­ing news about our upcom­ing projects and events. So bring your lawn chairs and blan­kets and come Party on the Porch with us!

Join our Face­book event and invite friends here.

Read more about Land Aid 2015 pre­sented by Vul­can Value Part­ners here.

Urban Waters Impact

June 22nd, 2015 by

VCThanks to the EPA’s Urban Waters Pro­gram, the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust has been able to accom­plish great things in the Vil­lage Creek water­shed in Birm­ing­ham with our many com­mu­nity part­ners. We are proud to share these suc­cess sto­ries with other urban waters part­ners across the coun­try through the Urban Waters Learn­ing Network.

Check out our impact story here.

Land Aid 2015

June 3rd, 2015 by

The Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust is excited to announce that their 7th annual Land Aid event will be held on Fri­day, July 31, at Avon­dale Brew­ery. The event will be head­lined by Kopecky, an Amer­i­can indie-rock band.

Nashville-based Kopecky (for­merly the Kopecky Fam­ily Band) recently released their sopho­more album, Drug for the Mod­ern Age. Kopecky has had their music appear on a vari­ety of hit tele­vi­sion series includ­ing Grey’s Anatomy, Par­ent­hood, The Vam­pire Diaries and Nashville, among oth­ers. Kopecky has toured all over the world and have played at some of the largest music fes­ti­vals includ­ing Austin City Lim­its, Bum­ber­shoot, SXSW, Lol­la­palooza and most recently Hang­out Fes­ti­val in Gulf Shores.

Pro­ceeds from Land Aid ben­e­fit the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust, a Birmingham-based non­profit orga­ni­za­tion whose mis­sion is to con­serve and con­nect open spaces that are crit­i­cal for the pro­tec­tion of rivers and streams and that pro­vide recre­ational oppor­tu­ni­ties for the com­mu­ni­ties it serves. The event is hosted by the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust junior board, a diverse group of young pro­fes­sion­als com­mit­ted to pro­mot­ing the organization’s mis­sion through­out the com­mu­nity and region.

Our annual flag­ship event, Land Aid, is an oppor­tu­nity for res­i­dents to learn more about our work and sup­port our efforts to con­serve land through­out Cen­tral Alabama,” said Wendy Jack­son, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust. “Since 2007, thou­sands of atten­dees have helped make Land Aid a suc­cess and ulti­mately help­ing to ful­fill our mis­sion to pre­serve the places that mat­ter for future generations.”

The Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust secures land through acqui­si­tion or ease­ments, with the help of many part­ner­ships serv­ing eight coun­ties in Cen­tral Alabama. Through the efforts of the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust staff, board of direc­tors and junior board, more than 10,000 acres of land have been pro­tected across Cen­tral Alabama.

Tick­ets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. To pur­chase tick­ets or learn more about Land Aid, please visit



May 13th, 2015 by


See what we’ve been up to! Click here to read our lat­est newslet­ter: Mean­der­ings SPRING 2015

Best Town Ever!

April 21st, 2015 by

Birm­ing­ham Named in Out­side Mag­a­zine Best Towns 2015

voteOUTSIDE Mag­a­zine, America’s fore­most active and adven­ture lifestyle brand, and out­door lifestyle apparel com­pany Toad&Co have named Birm­ing­ham as a top 60 final­ist in their 2015 “Best Town Ever” contest.

Local spe­cialty out­door retailer Alabama Out­doors has been cho­sen as the retailer of choice and local pro­moter of the Best Towns 2015 bracket. Over a period of six weeks, OUTSIDE’s read­ers will nar­row an ini­tial bracket of 64 towns down to one win­ner: the kind of place with top-notch restau­rants, vibrant farm­ers’ mar­kets, friendly neigh­bor­hoods, and unpar­al­leled access to hik­ing and bik­ing trails.

Begin­ning this week, OUTSIDE and Toad&Co will engage and incen­tivize con­sumers to visit Out­side Online and vote early and often in the com­pe­ti­tion through a sweep­stakes draw­ing. Seven draw­ings will occur, one after the end of each round of vot­ing, with win­ners receiv­ing Toad&Co apparel pack­ages. Win­ners of the Grand Prize will receive an all-expenses-paid trip for two to the Best Town Ever fully out­fit­ted in Toad&Co. The Best Town will be revealed on August 1st. OUTSIDE will fea­ture the final 16 towns in its Sep­tem­ber 2015 issue.

Vot­ing begins MAY 4 on Out­side Online. Share your own #Birm­ing­ham pho­tos with the offi­cial #voteb­hamout­doors tag, and let’s show the nation what we already know and love about Birmingham!

Alabama Out­doors will spot­light Birmingham’s great out­door cul­ture and selec­tion as a “Best Town” final­ist on Fri­day, May 1st dur­ing the company’s pop­u­lar Party on the Porch. Come out to cel­e­brate Birm­ing­ham and this excit­ing oppor­tu­nity, and remem­ber to vote!

Preserving History

April 9th, 2015 by

Cel­e­brat­ing and pre­serv­ing his­tory and cul­ture through nature is the root of our mis­sion at the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust. Over the years, we have been for­tu­nate enough to work with part­ners who can help us ful­fill that mission.

The Japan-America Soci­ety of Alabama was one of those partners.

In 2012, work­ing with Japan­ese Con­sulates through­out the coun­try, the Embassy of Japan took the ini­tia­tive to pro­mote the plant­ing of flow­er­ing cherry trees in 36 cities across the United States as part of the cen­ten­nial anniver­sary of Japan’s gift of the cherry trees that were planted along the mall in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. in 1912. The Japan-America Soci­ety of Alabama (JASA) chose the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust as one of the local orga­ni­za­tions to receive two of the trees to be dis­played on part of the Red Rock Ridge and Val­ley Trail System.

The two small trees were descen­dants of the trees given to the U.S. in 1912. After eval­u­at­ing sev­eral land trust sites, we decided that Lake Cosby in the City of Clay would be the ideal loca­tion, so that peo­ple could enjoy the reflec­tion of the blos­soms on the lake when they visited.


FWLT tree plant­ing cer­e­mony, Novem­ber 2012

The Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust coor­di­nated a tree plant­ing with JASA in cel­e­bra­tion of the spe­cial gift in Novem­ber 2012. City of Clay Mayor Charles Web­ster and for­mer state Sen­a­tor Slade Black­well of Moun­tain Brook were among those who attended the tree plant­ing. It was a very mem­o­rable day for the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust, as we were hon­ored to par­tic­i­pate in the national celebration.

Last week, three years later, Wendy Jack­son and Rebekah Parker went to Lake Cosby to visit with Mayor Web­ster. The cherry trees we planted three years ago were in full bloom!

It’s clear that the City of Clay has taken great care of the cherry trees and have given them the time and space they need to thrive,” Direc­tor of Con­ser­va­tion, Rebekah Parker, said. “The trees have grown about three feet, which is a sign of good health, and we hope that Lake Cosby vis­i­tors will con­tinue to enjoy the blooms every year.”

The cherry trees are a beau­ti­ful focal point at Lake Cosby,” Wendy said. “The reflec­tion of the blos­soms on the water cre­ate a serene and peace­ful place for peo­ple to reflect and enjoy being out­side. These trees, which were so tiny before, now sym­bol­ize a mon­u­men­tal legacy that will last for generations—something we truly value at the Fresh­wa­ter Land Trust.”


Cherry trees then (Nov. 2012)

Cosby Lake_00003_150325

Cherry trees now (March 2015)