Coosa Riverkeeper Expands Staff

River conservation group Coosa Riverkeeper expanded its full-time staff on Sunday with the promotion of Justinn Overton to Executive Director.The move signals the continued growth and success of the nearly 3-year old organization which was started in 2010 with a vision of protecting, restoring and promoting the Coosa River in Alabama.


When the organization was started in 2010, founder Frank Chitwood was both the Executive Director and Riverkeeper, with plans to hire a full-time Executive Director in the future. Overton was hired as Director of Development by Chitwood in August 2012. She was promoted to Executive Director by Coosa Riverkeeper’s Board of Directors on July 14th.The planned transition will allow Chitwood to devote more energy to conservation and advocacy efforts. Chitwood and Overton’s tireless work to protect and promote the Coosa River is based out of their Chelsea office near Yellowleaf Creek, a tributary to Lay Lake.

Overton’s previous full-time post was the Green Workforce Project Director for the Alabama Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.There, Overton implemented the Building Green Jobs for Alabama program, a statewide federally funded workforce development grant. During her time at USGBC Alabama, she trained 300+ Alabamians about green building principles and sustainability.

Overton states,“I am excited to become the Executive Director of Coosa Riverkeeper and continue to do great work for the protection of the Coosa River and the citizens in who swim, drink, and fish in the Coosa Valley of Alabama.”

This expansion in full-time staff will allow the young organization to focus on organizational development and increasing awareness and appreciation for the Coosa through the Riverkeeper Program.The Coosa Riverkeeper staff, volunteers, Board of Directors, and 300+ members work tirelessly to improve the quality and quantity of water and life in the Coosa Valley earning them the 2012 New Group of the Year by environmental group Alabama Rivers Alliance.

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