Headwaters Inc. is a non-profit organization in Letcher County Kentucky with an operating board composed of professionals from various communities in the county. The organization began as an entity to promote the interest of water resource management and water quality in the area. Headwaters promotes partnerships among volunteers of the Kentucky River Watershed Watch, Big Sandy Watershed Watch, Upper Cumberland Watershed Watch, students of the local high school, community members and leaders, and governmental officials of Letcher County. Our mission is to improve the watersheds in Letcher County thorough community education, access to accurate and timely water-quality information, and encouragement of a sense of personal and community responsibility to care for our waterways. Headwaters was organized as a corporation in 2005 and later gained 501(c)3 nonprofit status in 2008.
Good water is a vital resource for the health of the environment and the survival of all living things. Headwaters Inc. feels that it is important strives to keep the public informed regarding all issues. The organization of Headwaters Inc. has a bright future and the growth within the last year has been astoundingly high. Within the last three months the momentum of projects has increased an incredible amount. Headwaters has garnered the attention of both its local constituents and its regional environmental affiliates, with its local campaigns on water quality and its vision for creating a better community through education, hard work, and commitment to enhancing awareness and promoting ownership by the citizens who live on the water.
As a grassroots organization, our mission is to improve the watersheds in Letcher County by educating the community, providing accurate and timely information, and instilling a sense of personal and community responsibility.
We value a sustainable community who’s members are respectful, are knowledgeable and support;
– A healthy environment and economy through community self-determination and commitment to a strong work ethic.
– Empowerment through public access to accurate information.
– Honesty, Integrity and engagement among citizens and our representatives for the betterment of our community.
We envision a community where citizens are committed to and take responsibility for clean water and a desirable environment necessary for a thriving and diverse economy based in responsible business and local investment.
Who We Are
Evan Smith- President
Evan helped form Headwaters while serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA with the Letcher County: Head of Three Rivers project. Evan is an attorney at Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in Whitesburg, KY where he represents coal miners and their families in black lung and mine safety cases. He also advocates for policy in those fields as well as broader issues of economic transition in the Appalachian coalfields.
Mimi Pickering is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and Director of the Appalshop Community Media Initiative. As CMI Director, Pickering leads Making Connections News, a multi-media collaboration with WMMT-FM exploring sustainable and just economic options for renewing Appalachia, and is a team leader for All Access EKY, a youth media initiative to increase access to the full range of reproductive health services in Eastern Kentucky.
Roy is a retired forensic engineer and now spends much of his time playing music.
Tom Sexton is a former Headwaters AmeriCorps VISTA who now works as the Eastern Kentucky Organizing Representative for the Cumberland Chapter of Sierra Club.
Eric Dixon is Coordinator of Policy and Community Engagement at Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Eric coordinates ACLC’s efforts around abandoned mine reclamation and a Just Transition in Appalachia. He is also a member of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and serves on the board of the Highlander Research and Education Center.
Tarence Ray- Treasurer
Regina Donour- Secretary
Herb E. Smith
Garth Adams- Community Program Coordinator, AmeriCoprs VISTA
Garth began his AmeriCorps VISTA service with Headwaters in August of 2017. In his role as Community Program Coordinator, Garth has organized and been part of many activities that increase community involvement and educate the public about our waterways. His work includes teaching outdoor education classes at Letcher County Central High School, organizing stream cleanups, and assisting with water-testing efforts. Garth grew up in Letcher County and is a 2008 graduate of Letcher County Central High School. Being a VISTA with Headwaters has allowed Garth to positively impact his community.
Alex Beer- Watershed Coordinator
Alex served as a AmeriCorps VISTA for Headwaters for two years before taking on the role of Watershed Coordinator. In this position, she works with board members, community partners, and the Headwaters VISTA to carry out education programming and community watershed improvement efforts. Alex also handles day-to-day organizational operations like project management and fundraising.