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FRIENDS OF THE LOCUST FORK RIVER

Blount County - Awesome by Nature

aka FLFR   |   Cleveland, AL   |  www.flfr.org

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Mission

FLFR's mission is to preserve the free-flowing and natural wonder of the Locust Fork River and its tributaries by educating the community, promoting recreation, watchdogging polluters, and advocating for the River.

Notes from the nonprofit

The Locust Fork River and its tributaries are free-flowing and beautiful, which FLFR defends against threats such as damming, pollution from mining, industrial waste, runoff from roads and parking lots, and riverbank erosion, through eight major outreach endeavors: Science education & fun days in the summer for children and their families to educate about the River. Outings for families, such as whitewater races, canoe/kayak trips, summer floats & hikes along the river. Monthly water quality monitoring at multiple sites. Monthly cleanups at multiple sites along the River. A Riverbank Restoration Program that includes a nursery to grow native plants and milkweed seedlings for the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries and erosion runoff control at Kings Bend Scenic Overlook Park. Nature Awareness Murals and an Art & Photo Contest: Blount County is Awesome by Nature. Friend of the River Scholarship to inspire teens to learn & enjoy being outdoors

Ruling year info

1993

President Board

Mrs Maria Brindle

Vicepresident

Ellen Luce

Main address

PO Box 638

Cleveland, AL 35049 USA

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EIN

58-1988728

NTEE code info

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Recreational, Pleasure, or Social Club (N50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Kids' Day on the River

Every year on a Saturday in June, Friends of the Locust Fork River hosts Kids’ Day on the River (KDOR), a fun-filled, activity-packed, completely FREE day-long summertime event for children in grades 2-6 and their families, including a free lunch. Located on the banks of the beautiful Locust Fork River in Blount County, Alabama, KDOR gives kids hands-on experience with the river, exploring its creatures, natural elements, and, of course, its water! FLFR has organized this event since 2001. KDOR received the 2008 BEEP Award (Best Environmental Education Programs) from the Environmental Education Association of Alabama.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

At least once a month FLFR organizes outings for all the family, always on weekends, free and led by an expert in the field. Hikes, river floats, kayak trips, white water races, nature walks, an interesting presentation or films, etc.

Population(s) Served
Families

FLFR partners with Alabama Water Watch (AWW), Auburn University, which has certified 9 FLFR volunteers to test water quality at 11 different locations of the Locust Fork. Volunteers have consistently tested since 1993 following 8 chemical parameters, yielding a long term record of the river’s chemistry, including bacterial testing for E.coli and other coliform bacteria in water as indicators of contamination to determine if water meets water quality standards for drinking, swimming and aquatic life. Data points are submitted monthly to AWW - self-described as “a national model for citizen involvement in watershed stewardship, …(with) three interrelated components: citizen monitoring groups, a university-based program, and a non-profit association. AWW uses EPA-approved monitoring plans with a community-based approach to train citizens to monitor conditions and trends of their local water bodies.”

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

FLFR is committed to helping the community maintain a beautiful and clean Blount County!

Every second Saturday of the month, year-round, a team of volunteers clean the river at 7 sites: Swann Covered Bridge, Horton Mill Covered Bridge, Mardis Mill Falls, Taylor Ford, Crooked Shoals, King's Bend Scenic Overlook Park, and Little Warrior Low Water Bridge. From April through October these favorite swimming and tourist places can get a lot of trash.

We host deep riverbank cleanups every year during February and March. In a deep clean, we clear litter from brier & brush-filled areas that are inaccessible during the growing season. These litter cleanups bring awareness of littering problems in Blount County. All cleanup locations are county landmarks and tourist attractions for people from across Alabama. All of us can do our part to keep Blount County litter-free.
The deep cleans are on Saturday mornings, 9:00 until 11:00, or until finished.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Families

Following the same model as Kids' Day on the River, FLFR also offers “A Day at the River” for the children attending the Blount County Board of Education summer programs - we host 3 different elementary schools on 3 different days in June:
The Dream Catchers (Susan Moore Elementary School, 162 children+20 adults+30 FLFR volunteers).
The Explorers (Blountsville Elementary School - 189 children+20 adults+30 FLFR volunteers), and
The Pathfinders (Cleveland Elementary School, 70 children+10 adults+20 FLFR volunteers).
These events are requested by the Blount County School Foundation to give low-income, many Hispanic, children the opportunity to enjoy the river. The Blount County School Foundation in collaboration with the USDA offers several summer programs at several elementary schools that includes breakfast/lunch and transportation to the school.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

To encourage attention and appreciation of the Locust Fork River, the woodlands, the farms, and the beauty of Blount County FLFR started an Art & Photo Contest in 2018. The contest has 12 categories, and cash prizes for teens & adults. After the Award Ceremony in September the winning photos and artwork are exhibited in 20 locations throughout the County.
In 2022 we added a new category: short video clips in nature.
In 2024 we will add Poetry. Starting with haikus.
Theme: Blount County is Awesome by Nature.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Adults

Across our nation, and here in Blount County, mural painting is experiencing a renaissance. FLFR is commissioning a series of murals featuring this amazing, beautiful river and the surrounding woodlands that make Blount County Awesome by Nature.
Since 2019, three of our Nature Awareness Murals have been completed.
Let Nature Be Your Teacher - Railroad Blvd. - Oneonta
Blue Heron - Swann Covered Bridge - facing Hwy. 79, Cleveland
Broad-winged Hawk at Mardis Mill Falls at the Blountsville Fire Station on Hwy 231

Population(s) Served
Families
Families
Adults
Children and youth

This scholarship is open to Blount County high school juniors and seniors graduating from a public or private high school or being home-schooled and who have been accepted, prior to consideration for the award, to a post-secondary institution--college, university or trade school. In the past three years, 9 students have been awarded the scholarship.

All Blount County high school students who love the outdoors, are interested in science, want to learn environmental practices and watershed stewardship, and are willing to volunteer in community service are invited to apply.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

This program involves monthly landscaping at Kings’ Bend Scenic Overlook Park and meeting weekly at the Restoration Nursery to seed, cultivate and grow native species plants and milkweed seedlings for the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries and the River Restoration program.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Families

FLFR has seized the opportunity to develop a public put-in on the Locust Fork River at the Hwy. 26 river crossing in Blountsville , Alabama. The Taylor family donated the 0.3 acre site to FLFR and after major improvements to the site, FLFR will hand over ownership to Blount County. Taylor Canoe Park will then be a public park for the enjoyment of future generations. TCP will address the need for more public access points on the LFR. The LFR draws visitors from other parts of Alabama who are paddlers, anglers and seekers of scenic vistas, giving a strong economic motive to creating a new, easy public access to the river. TCP will enhance Blount County’s efforts to increase nature tourism and reap its economic benefit.
TCP will also address the site’s severe stream bank erosion caused by surface water drainage and runoff from Hwy. 26.
TCP will be the first put-in of an 11-mile section of the river that extends to Kings Bend Scenic Overlook.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adolescents
Children

Where we work

Awards

Eldridge Bynum Award to FLFR for Excellence in Community Service 2015

Blount Oneonta Chamber of Commerce

Best New Group of the Year - Rosa Mine 2010

Alabama Rivers Alliance

Best Environmental Education Program 2008

Environmental Education Association of Alabama

River Hero Award - Sam Howell 2005

Alabama Rivers Alliance

River Hero Award - Stephen Guessman 2018

Alabama Rivers Alliance

Charles Carr Award Volunteer of the Year - Nancy Jackson 2019

Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce

Most Outstanding River Group 1992

Sierra Club

Most Outstanding River Group 1994

Alabama Environmental Council

Outstanding Rivers Advocate - Susie Wilkerson 1994

Cahaba River Society

Volunteer of the Year Award - Donna Matthews 2020

Alabama Rivers Alliance

Charles Carr Award Volunteer of the Year - Maria Brindle 2022

Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce

Affiliations & memberships

Alabama Rivers Alliance 2005

Black Warrior Riverkeeper 2001

Alabama Cup Races Association 1992

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

FRIENDS OF THE LOCUST FORK RIVER
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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FRIENDS OF THE LOCUST FORK RIVER

Board of directors
as of 01/18/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Mrs Maria Brindle

Friends of the Locust Fork River

Term: 2021 - 2024


Board co-chair

Mrs Ellen Luce

Friends of the Locust Fork River

Term: 2021 - 2024

Sam Howell

Ellen Luce

Chris Cleveland

Eleanor Wright

Maria Brindle

Nancy Pile Laney

Susie Wilkerson

April Benfield

Bryan Benefield

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/14/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/18/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.