Tuesday, November 28, 2006

BEN - November 28, 2006 #273

1) Freshwater Land Trust To Inherit 4500 Acres
2) Chief Ladiga Trail Nears Completion
3) State Poised To Hire 1st Deep South State Forester
4) Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee Calls For Mercury Reductions
5) BEN Notes: Dogwood Alliance Internship Program, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative Green Power Program, Climate Change Organizer to Speak at Auburn, The Gulf Restoration Network Wetlands Guide, Nature Conservancy's "Gift of Nature", Perry Lakes Website


Dear BEN Reader:

Maxie Bryant, a longtime leader in the Audubon Society and the environmental community died this weekend.

When I served on the Forever Wild board of trustees, every meeting opened with comments from the public.

It never failed.

At every meeting, Maxie Bryant, smiling from ear to ear would stand and greet us "you know why I'm here!" she would always say.

Then with boastful enthusiasm she would passionately tell the trustees how important the Sipsey River Swamp is to Alabama.

I can't remember a Forever Wild meeting without Maxie. Encouraging us. Prodding us. Even after the board, bought over 2000 acres on the Sipsey River, she still attended the meetings graciously thanking us at every turn. She loved Forever Wild. She loved preserving our rivers, swamps and land. She loved nature and her family.

I can still see her smiling. Maxie - Well Done.

Best Wishes,Pat Byington
BEN Publisher


Visitation for Maxie Bryant will be Wednesday, November 29, 5-7pm at the Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel. Funeral services will be on Thursday, November 30 (her birthday) at Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel - 2pm. At Maxie's request, in lieu of flowers, she asked memorial contributions be made to Forever Wild Land Trust, 64 North Union Street, Suite 464, Montgomery, Alabama 36104 or Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, P. O. Box 1295, Dauphin Island, Alabama 36528.


Last night, I received an email from Kirsten Bryant, Maxie's granddaughter in-law, relaying the following special story Maxie told the Forever Wild Board last March in Montgomery.

"75 years ago our vacation was to throw two bushels of corn into the back of a wagon and to go overnight to the Sipsey Swamp. We put out the set hooks and trout lines. It was so exciting. We made a check of them on the hour to take off the fish and put new bait on them. Everyone fought to get to go but they felt like that was not proper for a girl to go. Girls were left out when it came to putting out the trout lines and changing the bait. That was not something the girls did. I pushed the button. I always wanted to go and I would put a pitiful face up to Dad. And, I convinced him that I could hold the lantern. I never dropped it."


1. Freshwater Land Trust To Inherit 4500 Acres - According to the Birmingham News, the Freshwater Land Trust has agreed to take responsibility for 4,500 acres from Jefferson County.

Since 1996, the county has been under a federal decree when a federal judge found that it repeatedly had violated the Clean Water Act . Under the decree, the county bought 4,500 acres protecting headwaters of creeks and pathways along the Cahaba and Black Warrior river basins instead of paying fines to the federal government. Up to $30 million was spent on the 10 year program.Jefferson County will convey to the land trust, after the approval of EPA, the rights to the 4,500 acres in December. An additional $4.2 million will also be placed in a maintenance fund.

For more information about the Freshwater Land Trust visit http://www.freshwaterlandtrust.org

2. Chief Ladiga Trail Nears Completion - Last week, the Clebourne County Commission accepted a $460,000 bid to finish a 4.2 mile section of the Chief Ladiga Trail. This action, along with several projects in progress will enable the Chief Ladiga Trail to connect with Georgia's Silver Comet Trail by mid 2007.

To learn more about this project that links Alabama and Georgia visit http://epic.jsu.edu

3. State Poised To Hire 1st Deep South State Forester - According to the Decatur Daily, the state of Alabama is poised to appoint the first female state forester in the Deep South after the Alabama Forestry Commission accepted a search committee's recommendation.

Linda Casey of South Carolina was selected from a field of 26 applicants and must now be approved by Governor Bob Riley. Casey presently oversees the procurement of 26.8 million tons of fiber, manages 138 employees and a budget of nearly a $1 billion for International Paper in Georgetown, South Carolina. Alabama's state forester oversees the day to day work of 337 employees across the state and an annual budget of $35 million.

Commission chairman Don Heath said Riley will be asked to appoint Casey contingent upon her becoming a licensed forester in Alabama. She could begin work in January.

4. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee Calls For Mercury Reductions - Last week, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said the federal government's current rule on mercury emissions may not be strong enough to protect Tennessee and urged Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen to continue his investigation into the extent coal fired power plants in Tennessee and neighboring states are contributing to the problem of mercury deposits in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.Sen.

Alexander has introduced bipartisan legislation called the Clean Air Planning Act, that goes 'farther and faster" than Bush administration proposals to clean up coal burning plants by removing sulfur, nitrogen, and mercury from the air. The bill would cut mercury emissions by 90 percent in 2015 according to an Alexander press release.

View Sen. Alexander's clean air positions by visiting his website at: http://alexander.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=Articles.Detail&Article_id=129

5. BEN Notes: Dogwood Alliance Internship Program, Wiregrass Electric Cooperative Green Power Program, Climate Change Organizer to Speak at Auburn, The Gulf Restoration Network Wetlands Guide, Nature Conservancy's "Gift of Nature", Perry Lakes Website

Dogwood Alliance Internship Program - Students interested in working an internship for a regional grassroots forestry protection group may contact the Dogwood Alliance's Eva Hernandez at eva@dogwoodalliance.org or visit http://pressroomda.greenmediatoolshed.org/folders/index.tcl?folder_id=1431

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative Green Power Program - The Wiregrass Electric Cooperative is offering "Green Power Choice" to it's customers. Check it out by visiting their website at http://www.wiregrass.coop/greenpower.html or call 800-239-4602.

Climate Change Organizer to Speak at Auburn - Dr. Eban Goodstein, an economics professor at Lewis and Clark College and an organizer of a major initiative that is engaging over a thousand educational institutions around the country on climate change will speak on Tuesday, November 28th, Noon at 208 Foy Union at Auburn University. His topic - "Seen Inconvenient Truth: Now What? Focus the Nation on Solutions to Global Warming." For additional info call Lindy Biggs or Matt Williams at 334-844-7777.

The Gulf Restoration Network Wetlands Guide - The Gulf Restoration Network has a downloadable "wetlands guide" for people interested in protecting wetlands. Go to http://www.healthygulf.org/wetlands/Wetlands%20Manual.htm

Nature Conservancy's "Gift of Nature" - The Nature Conservancy has a great stocking stuffer for the holiday season. The conservation group is selling "gift of nature" certificates that show recipients have contributed to nature projects throughout Alabama. For example: a gift of "pearls" goes toward oyster reef restoration, a gift of "flowers" supports preservation of central Alabama's Cahaba River and its lilies. Donations for the certificates start at $50. For more information call Linda Mayson at 251-433-1150.

Perry Lakes Website - Check out a great website providing information about all the many activities occurring at Perry Lake. Visit http://www.perrylakes.org

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