Our Staff Riverkeeper sets sail for an adventure of a lifetime

Dear Friends,

It is bittersweet that I announce my resignation as your Coosa Riverkeeper. As my nine-year stint comes towards a close in June, I’ve reflected on the many amazing moments and experiences since I first hatched the plan to start Coosa Riverkeeper in January 2010.

Frank Chitwood, your Coosa Riverkeeper since 2010, in his element patrolling Lay Lake.

My wife Misha and I have both been overwhelmed with an intense desire to travel around the world by sailboat after many years of sailing on Logan Martin and the Caribbean, and later this year we will make that dream a reality. Having not yet started a family and with our parents still young, now seems the perfect time.  Setting a target date of June allows myself enough time to train and prepare your next Riverkeeper, as well as take care of personal preparations before setting off on the adventure of a lifetime.

I would never have even considered leaving Coosa Riverkeeper for this journey but for the fact that our organization is in such a great place in its own life right now.

-Frank Chitwood, your Coosa Riverkeeper

Things are going amazingly well thanks to your support. There is a balance of creative ideas and strategic thinking happening at Coosa Riverkeeper that enables us to execute amazing programs like Swim Guide and Fish Guide. Justinn and Karli are both strong, passionate, intelligent women with amazing vision for making positive change for this river and our community. And you, our members, make it possible for us to employ such remarkable people. You can trust the future of Coosa Riverkeeper in the hands of these two ladies. I know I do!

Coosa Riverkeeper staff addressing major donors at an event in 2018 at the end of the Swim Guide season.


Our Staff and Board of Directors have already begun preparing for a successful transition. Soon we will begin interviewing for the next Staff Riverkeeper, but the reality is that the amazing group leading this organization already has a plan for growth that extends well beyond this transition and which you will soon learn about in our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan.

I’m excited for the opportunity to help plan for and train your next Staff Riverkeeper before my departure. This is not an easy financial undertaking as we are a small, lean organization, but we are confident the investment of time and additional salary for an overlap of about two months for training is necessary to support long-term success.

To ease the financial burden of this transition, I have set up a special fundraising campaign to cover the associated costs. I have already made a contribution to that campaign that is significant to my personal budget, and I hope you will join me in supporting Coosa Riverkeeper a little extra this year, knowing that this organization always provides amazing dividends for your investment. 

You can invest in our future by clicking here. 


I hope to hear from you at some point before Misha and I set sail later this year; there’s nothing I love more than chatting with our members about the river and what we’re doing to protect and restore it. With so many exciting things happening with our programs and policy work right now, there’s a lot to talk about! You can e-mail me at riverkeeper@coosariver.org or call my direct line at 205-227-7713.

Thank you so much for all of your support over these many years and making my vision of Coosa Riverkeeper become our vision of Coosa Riverkeeper. I look forward to joining you on the other side as one of hundreds of dues-paying members!

For the Coosa,

Frank Chitwood

Frank and Misha sailing in Florida in January 2016.

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