Fall 2023 Staff Changes

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Dear Black Warrior Riverkeeper supporters,

I have bad news, so to speak, and good news.

First the bad news, which is not actually bad at all, but certainly sad for us at Black Warrior Riverkeeper. Katie Fagan, our wonderful outreach coordinator, will soon move to her husband Elliot’s homeland, England, where he has started a Ph.D. program. Katie’s last day of work here will be October 13.

Katie started with us in October of 2020 as our first ever AmeriCorps member. She did such a great job helping launch our new Volunteer Litter Cleanups program that I decided to offer her a part-time position on our staff starting in August of 2021, when her AmeriCorps service ended. Katie’s transition to our staff as our first outreach coordinator was so successful that I promoted her to a full-time position on January 1, 2022. I cannot thank Katie Fagan enough for her exemplary service to the organization and watershed! 

Last week, Katie emailed me her perspective on this transition. “I have absolutely loved my time at Black Warrior Riverkeeper,” Katie wrote. “I have gotten to work on some amazing projects and collaborate with even more amazing people. Leaving is definitely bittersweet, but I know that it is the right decision for me and I know that I am leaving Black Warrior Riverkeeper in good hands.”

What does Katie mean by “leaving Black Warrior Riverkeeper in good hands,” exactly?

Well, after Katie transitioned from AmeriCorps to part-time staff in late 2021, we filled her AmeriCorps position with another talented environmentalist named Katie – Katie Holmes — who did a fantastic job as our AmeriCorps member from October 2021 through August 2022. Upon completion of her AmeriCorps service, Katie spent the next year working as an outreach and communications coordinator for Freshwater Land Trust, often collaborating closely with Black Warrior Riverkeeper and other partners, especially on Project Litter Gitter. Katie Holmes was one of the very few people that Katie Fagan informed about her upcoming England move. Although she has loved her time at Freshwater Land Trust, Katie Holmes expressed strong interest in returning to Alabama’s Waterkeeper movement as a staff member at Black Warrior Riverkeeper when presented with the opportunity,

I am thrilled to announce that on October 1, Katie Holmes will join Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s full-time staff as outreach coordinator! She did excellent work over the past year with Freshwater Land Trust, and will continue to work for them until September 30. Not only was she an outstanding AmeriCorps member for us — which will allow us to transition from Katie Fagan to Katie Holmes as outreach coordinator without disruption to our growing array of outreach, cleanup, and Litter Gitter partnerships — but she has gained new skills and connections through her work with Freshwater Land Trust. I am grateful that Freshwater Land Trust, our terrific partner on numerous projects, is so supportive of Katie returning to Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

Katie Holmes relocated to Birmingham from Washington, D.C. in 2019 after attaining a BS in Environmental Science & Policy from the University of Maryland. Much of Katie’s time in Birmingham has been spent exploring Alabama’s natural beauty with a camera in hand. Katie is motivated by her love of the wilderness to protect and celebrate Alabama’s biodiversity, and she looks forward to continuing to serve her community.

Goodbyes are always difficult, especially on a team whose dedicated roster has had remarkably few departures over the years. We wish Katie Fagan all the best as she leaves the Black Warrior River watershed to cross the Atlantic. We are grateful for our members — volunteers and donors alike — whose support enables us to maintain such a talented and passionate staff, soon including Katie Holmes!

For cleaner water,

Charles Scribner
executive director

Katie Fagan (left), Black Warrior Riverkeeper board member Harmony Mendoza (center), and Katie Holmes (right) at a cleanup in 2022.

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