Community Member

West Atlanta Watershed Alliance

Atlanta, Georgia

Since 1995, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) has worked to build a cleaner, greener, healthier, and more sustainable environment for African American neighborhoods in Northwest and Southwest Atlanta that are most inundated by environmental stressors, but least represented in decision-making processes. Like many urban neighborhoods, west Atlanta is a food desert, has polluted air and water, and more frequently experiences high-heat-index days due to increasing temperature (about 1°F in the last 15 years) and more precipitation (two more inches in the same time period). Partnering with Atlanta Children’s Forest Network and the USDA Forest Service, WAWA has preserved over 400 acres of green space from development in Southwest Atlanta, raising $2 million to do so. Today, WAWA operates an environmental education center, stewards local watersheds and urban forests, and runs an urban agriculture training program – all in the belief that a healthy environment equals a healthy community.

During a 2023 Chattahoochee River sweep in partnership with Community Health Aligning Revitalization Resilience and Sustainability and the Chattahoochee River Keeper, WAWA helped remove 76 tires. (Photo courtesy of WAWA social media.)

The West Atlanta Watershed Alliance is a BIPOC-led nonprofit organization of residents devoted to teaching, protecting, and advocating for climate justice in their neighborhoods. Long aware of climate change and its local effects, WAWA partners with Georgia Tech, Spelman College, and UrbanHeatATL to train citizen scientists to map heat waves in vulnerable, underserved areas of Atlanta. Through a memorandum of understanding with the city’s parks department, WAWA operates and teaches at the Outdoor Activity Center, a 26-acre forest and nature center whose environmental education programs align with the Georgia Performance Standards for grades K–12. In partnership with five other local organizations and colleges, WAWA co-stewards Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, 120 acres of old-growth forest. The urban garden it started in 2011 has grown to include a culturally relevant urban agriculture training program.

For more information:

Black Neighborhoods Burdened by Industrial Air Pollution Will Finally Get Answers – Capital B Atlanta, November 2023

Atlanta organization aims to make environmental conservation more accessible – 11 Alive, April 2022

Inspire Atlanta: West Atlanta Watershed Alliance – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 2022

Dorothy Terry

Dorothy Terry

Dorothy Terry is a journalist by profession, having worked as a daily newspaper reporter on both coasts and a contributing writer for several national magazines. She is a former Congressional press secretary and has worked as a communications manager and consultant for corporations and nonprofits.


Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, Executive Director


Social Media

Climate Impacts

Air Pollution, Flooding, Heat, Water Contamination

Environmental Justice Concerns

Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species, Groundwater Contamination, Hazardous/Toxic Sites, Incinerator/Dumping/Landfill, Noise/Light Pollution, Port/Transit/Highway Contamination/Noise, Sewage/Sewage Treatment, Superfund Sites


Community Farm/Gardens, Fighting Industrial Contamination, Halting Bad Development, Nature-Based Solutions, Renewable Energy

501c3 Tax Deductible


Accepting Donations