What began as a community struggle for environmental justice evolved into an organization that also fosters environmental stewardship. Although WAWA arose from community efforts to halt discriminatory wastewater treatment practices in West Atlanta, WAWA has been working in partnership with members of the West Atlanta community since 1995 to protect greenspace and water quality in West Atlanta while educating residents about important environmental issues that affect their communities.
WAWA has assisted in mobilizing local residents to not only preserve these areas but maintain and recreate them. Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, Lionel Hampton Beecher Hills Park, Herbert Greene Nature Preserve, A. D. Williams Park, Lillian Sheppard, and Grove Park are but a few of the gems in West Atlanta’s emerald necklace.
As an all-volunteer organization, WAWA was successful in preserving over 400 acres of green space from development in Southwest Atlanta and raised over $2 million dollars to do so (even before becoming a 501 c(3) organization). Through a MOU with the City of Atlanta Bureau of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs, WAWA now operates the Outdoor Activity Center (OAC), a 26-acre urban forest preserve and nature center. WAWA is also the official steward of the nearby 135-acre Cascade Springs Nature Preserve and the 200-acre Lionel Hampton Beecher Park; all in Southwest Atlanta. As an organization that believes that a healthy environment equals a healthy community, WAWA’s overall efforts are focused on achieving a cleaner, greener, healthier, and more sustainable West Atlanta.
WAWA’s symbol is WAWA Aba or "Seed of the WAWA Tree", the West African Adinkra Symbol of hardiness, toughness, and perseverance.
In the West African Akan culture, WAWA Aba is a symbol of strength and toughness. It inspires perseverance through hardship.