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Check us out in the AJC: Watershed Warriors

Updated: Feb 2

This Black History/Futures Month, we are highlighting our Watershed Warriors with the help of an in-kind ad donation from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). Since WAWA's beginnings, community members have helped to shape our purpose and mission as an organization. Today, we still rely on the input of community leaders and organizations to inform our work.


We are utilizing our opportunity with the AJC to highlight some of those community members. Look for us in the AJC EVERY WEDNESDAY in the month of February for a new Watershed Warrior highlight. 


February 2 Community elders, Rev. Richard S. Bright and Dr. Fleda Mask Jackson helped to pave the way for the founding of WAWA. With the help of others, they successfully fought for the separation of the sewers in the Utoy Creek Watershed and prevented the building of a combined sewer overflow facility in John A. White Park, where they stand in this photo.


February 9 Over the past 5 years, community organizers like Donna Stephens, Co-Chair of the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council, have organized to stop industrial development and establish a proper memorial at the former site of the Chattahoochee Brick Co., which engaged in convict leasing. Donna stands in front of the former cotton mill tower at Whittier Mill Park. The tower is made of bricks from the Chattahoochee Brick Co.


February 16 WAWA partners, Dr. Pauline Drake and Gwen Smith have played major roles in stewarding Jennie Drake Park, where they stand in this photo. Gwen, the founder of Community Health Aligning Revitalization Resilience and Sustainability, is increasing community awareness about environmental risks. Dr. Drake leads the Friends of Jennie Drake Park, which is named after her late mother who fought to save the green space next to her home.


February 23 In 2004, WAWA began increasing access to Cascade Springs Nature Preserve by manually opening the gates on the weekends for community members. David Lloyd Davis, Executive Director of Cascade Springs Nature Conservancy, has helped to continue that effort by increasing structural development and managing restoration projects at the preserve. Here David stands in front of the fabled waterfall at Cascade Springs Nature Preserve.


We couldn't include everyone in our AJC ads (there are too many to mention!), but we acknowledge those who have helped to shape environmental justice and stewardship efforts in our three watersheds (Utoy, Sandy and Proctor Creeks), and those who have also supported the founding and growth of WAWA.


See our list of acknowledgments below. 


Community Elders Who Have Paved the Way for the founding of WAWA and who successfully fought for the separation of the sewers in the Utoy Creek Watershed and to prevent the building of a combined sewer overflow facility in John A. White Park.

  • Rev. Richard S. Bright || Utoy Creek

  • Dr. Fleda Mask Jackson || Utoy Creek

  • Mr. Sherrill Marcus || Utoy Creek

  • Vangie Watkins || Utoy Creek

  • Mr. Terry Allen || Utoy Creek

  • Naeema Gilyard || Utoy Creek

  • Mr. Felton Alexander (deceased) || Utoy Creek

Torch Bearers They took up the mantle of leadership and helped continue the work started by the Community Elders above.

  • Mrs. Louversia Wiggins (deceased) || Utoy Creek Founding WAWA Board Member, Former Chairperson, NPU - I, Former Atlanta Planning Advisory Board Chair

  • Mr. Andrew Fellers (deceased) || Utoy Creek Founding WAWA Board Member, Former Chairperson, NPU - I

  • The Late Honorable Emma Darnell (deceased) || Utoy Creek Former Fulton County Commissioner - Supported Community Plan for Sewer Separation, Passed Environmental Justice Legislation and worked with WAWA and other community members to get it passed

  • Robin Chanay || Utoy Creek WAWA Visionary

  • Darryl Haddock || Utoy Creek Former WAWA Board Member, First WAWA Employee

  • Bruce Morton || Utoy Creek Founding WAWA Board Member, First WAWA Executive Director

  • Saundi Wilson || Sandy Creek Former WAWA Board Member, Former Chairperson, NPU-I, Former Atlanta Planning Advisory Board Chair

  • Dr. Na'Taki Osborne Jelks || Utoy Creek (Formerly Proctor and Sandy Creeks) Founding WAWA Board Member

Legacy Keepers These are current movers and shakers who continue to protect West Atlanta watersheds.

  • Donna Stephens || Proctor Creek Co-Chair, Proctor Creek Stewardship Council/Founder, Descendants of Chattahoochee Brick

  • Juanita Wallace || Proctor Creek Proctor Creek Stewardship Council, English Avenue Neighborhood Association

  • Tavius Elder || Utoy Creek President, Bush Mountain Community Organization

  • Eunice Glover || Utoy Creek Chairperson, NPU-I

  • Gwen Smith || Sandy Creek Executive Director, Community Health Aligning Revitalization Resilience and Sustainability

  • Dr. Pauline Drake || Sandy Creek Chairperson, Friends of Jennie Drake Park, established Jennie Drake Park, a fight her mother started (before she died) to save the land next to her home.

Thank you Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the in-kind ad donation.