Tuesday, September 04, 2007

BEN - Labor Day Special

Dear BEN Reader:

I love this time of year. It seems every Labor Day weekend the temperatures fall 10 degrees (unfortunately that means to 90 + degrees this year), soccer and football season begin, schools open, and every weekend from now until December people volunteer to help cleanup their streams and neighborhoods, birdwatch, walk in the woods and slowly observe the trees change colors.

To start the "after Labor Day" season off right, below is a list of some wonderful books, quotes, websites and activities to help prepare and energize us for this time of year.

Best Wishes,

Pat Byington
Publisher - BEN


1) Labor Day Reading List - Mirage, Refuge, Here If You Need Me, Ivorybill Hunters and Longleaf
2) Inspirational Environmental Quotes
3) Website Resources - Helpful Tips, Photography and Environmental Reports
4) Volunteer Alabama - Opportunities to Help "Cleanup Alabama"

1. Labor Day Reading List - Mirage, Refuge, Here If You Need Me, Ivorybill Hunters and Longleaf

Below are links to books I read and re-read this summer that are timely and inspirational. One book I have yet to read (just ordered it on Amazon) Here if You Need Me: A True Story, is written by Kate Braestrup, the sister of Angel Braestrup, executive director of the Munson Foundation, a foundation that funds many worthwhile environmental projects/programs in Alabama. The reviews have been wonderful (by the way Kate was just named a CNN Hero). Here is the rest of the Labor Day Book List.

Mirage : Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S. by Cynthia Barnett

A timely book. I read Mirage in August, right in the middle of the heat wave/drought that was hitting Alabama. Fortunately, for my family and I, we were on vacation enjoying 70+ degree weather in the Pacific Northwest.

Refuge - An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams

Just re-read this book. I was fortunate to meet Terry Tempest Williams more than 10 years ago at a conference in California. A graceful, inspirational woman, Refuge is about nature, cancer, beauty and simple life. A lovely book.

Ivorybill Hunters: The Search for Proof in a Flooded Wilderness by Geoffrey Hill

A fun read, especially if you are a birder in Alabama and interested in "unlocking" the Ivorybill mystery.

Longleaf by Roger Reid - also go to Roger's website here

Geared toward younger readers, Longleaf will "capture" and take your child (and you!) on a journey through Alabama's Conecuh Forest.

2. Inspirational Environmental Quotes and Passages

"Judaism prescribes blessings for ordinary events and blessings for extraordinary ones. The ordinary event, the daily rising of the sun, is greeted with a blessing that evokes a time when the world had just come into being: "We praise God who daily renews the works of creation." When it comes to extraordinary events, there is also a blessing, not well known among modern Jews, that mentions creation. The blessing is to be said 'upon seeing lightning, comets, falling stars, vast deserts, great rivers, high mountains, experiencing a great storm or an earthquake, or seeing a strikingly clear morning after an all night rainstorm." It reads, "We praise you God who provides us with moments reminiscent of creation."
- Nancy Fuchs - Our Share of Night, Our Share of Morning


The Peace of Wild Things
- A poem by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


A man could be a lover and defender of the wilderness without ever in his lifetime leaving the boundaries of asphalt, powerlines, and right-angled surfaces. We need wilderness whether or not we ever set foot in it. We need a refuge even though we may never need to go there. I may never in my life get to Alaska ... but I am grateful that it's there. We need the possibility of escape as surely as we need hope; without it the life of the cities would drive all men into crime or drugs or psychoanalysis.
- Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness


I know a man who is a poet. It is true that he would not know himself by such a title, for he does not write verse; he is a farmer. He is a poet because he knows the joy of creation. A never failing delight is the appearance of living, growing plants in a patch of dirt where, only a few days before, he has placed some dry grains...
- Harold William Rickett, The Green Earth


3. Website Resources - Helpful Tips, Photography and Environmental Reports

Check out these websites:

Helpful Tips

Wise use of water during the drought:

Save Energy - Save Money

Green Building Materials

Sustainable Living

Nature Photography
Charles Seifried - http://www.seifriedphoto.com/
Beth Young - http://www.kingfishereditions.com

Environmental Reports
Georgia Tech "Emerging MegaRegions" Study (hit PAM Link to access file)
The Wilderness Society's "U.S. Forest Carbon and Climate Change Report "

4. Volunteer Alabama - Opportunities to Help "Cleanup Alabama

If you are interested in volunteering in a local "cleanup" this fall - below is info about events across Alabama.

Alabama Coastal Cleanup - Join volunteers from across Alabama for the 20th Annual Coastal Cleanup scheduled for September 15th. For details, visit http://www.AlabamaCoastalCleanup.com

Five Mile Creek Clean Ups - There will be cleanup events held along Five Mile Creek near Birmingham on Sept. 29, Oct. 6 and Oct. 13. Contact Francesca Gross at fgross@rpcgb.org or call 205-264-8464.

Alabama Power's Renew Our Rivers - Alabama Powers Renew Our Rivers campaign has helped organize volunteers and cleanup more than 7.5 million pounds from Alabama's lakes and stream since 2000. Check out their Fall 2007 schedule for dates, times and contact info.

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