Bruce Morton, community organizer, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance - December 2009 - Best of Atlanta - Atlanta Magazine

Bruce Morton, community organizer, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance


Bruce Morton grew up on Bollingbrook Drive in Beecher Hills, before the dawn of Nintendo. He and his brothers played four square and kickball. They started mudball wars. And they took refuge in the hardwood forest behind their house. Morton grew up and had three children of his own, but he never forgot those woods. A few years ago he found out that a developer had bought the land and planned to clear it to make room for new homes. By then Morton had helped incorporate the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, a group with hundreds of volunteers dedicated to preserving open land. With city support and a grant from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, WAWA organized an effort to buy the land and turn it into public greenspace. Volunteers also cleaned up polluted creeks and worked to develop parks in such underserved areas as Vine City and English Avenue. With Morton as executive director, WAWA established headquarters in a twenty-six-acre urban forest off Richland Road, where the group works with schools to reconnect children with nature. Morton lives a half mile from where he grew up. His children play in the same woods where he played as a boy. “They love to be outdoors,” he says. —Thomas Lake