Monday, November 26, 2007

BEN Thanksgiving Special

1) BEN's List of Chosen Charities for Thanksgiving
2) BEN's List of Alabama Gift Ideas
3) Special Quotes and Passages About Alabama and the Environment


1. BEN's List of Chosen Charities for Thanksgiving - In lieu of BEN subscription fees, please consider making a contribution to one of the Bama Environmental News chosen charities this Thanksgiving Season. The charities include:

The Wilderness Society - c/o Frank Peterman, 112 Krog Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30307 - Make checks payable to The Wilderness Society

University of Washington Foundation/Rose Endowed Scholarship - UW Medicine Development - Attn. Donna Caliri, Campus Box 358220, Seattle, Washington 98195 (Checks Payable to UW Foundation - reference Rose Endowed Scholarship on check) or call Donna with credit card payment at 206-543-6347.

Southern Environmental Center at Birmingham Southern College - 900 Arkadelphia Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35254 - Make checks payable to Southern Environmental Center

Camp McDowell Episcopal Church Camp - 105 DeLong Road, Nauvoo, Alabama 35578 (Checks payable to Camp McDowell - reference Pat Byington Scholarship Fund on check)

Sheffield High School "Environmental Public Service Scholarship" - Sheffield Education Foundation, c/o Dr. Richard Gardner, Ed. D., 300 West Sixth Street, Sheffield, Alabama 35660 - (Checks payable to the Sheffield Education Foundation - reference Byington scholarship on the check)

Short descriptions of each Charity can be found at :

2. BEN's List of Alabama Gift Ideas - This holiday season, please consider these local Alabama eco-friendly companies and non-profits for this year's gift giving.

Sweetwater Pecan Company - A Southeast Alabama Company that provides locally grown pecans and various other gifts. The company is owned by local environmentalists and friends of BEN, Terry and Susan Bishop. Check them out at

Kingfisher Editions - Check out Beth Mayor Young's (Alabama's Ansel Adams) photography at

Higher Ground Roasters - A local Alabama coffee company that sells special "brands" on behalf of several nonprofit environmental groups including: Alabama Environmental Council, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Freshwater Land trust, Jones Valley Urban Farm and the SE. Foot Trails Coalition. Visit

Red Rain Store - A local Alabama store in Homewood, Alabama, Red Rain is sells a wide variety of eco-friendly items at the store and online! Visit -

Discovering Alabama - Want to purchase one of the 63 episodes of Doug Phillip's Discovering Alabama? Visit

Wild Paths - Check out this wonderful wildlife enhancement project sponsored by the Alabama Wildlife Federation in conjunction with the Alabama Institute of the Deaf and Blind in Talladega. Go to

Weeks Bay Reserve Foundation - Order the 2007 Weeks Bay Holiday ornament for $10. This year's edition features a Spotted Sea Trout with an estuary scene backdrop. Call 251-990-5504 to order.

Hummer Study Group - Check out Bob and Martha Sargent's catalog of books and hummingbird "starter kits" at the Hummer Study group site.

Alabama Environmental Organizations - Gift Items

Several Alabama environmental groups provide "online stores" to members and the general public. Here is a listing of "online stores."

Nature Conservancy Gift Store 
Alabama Wildlife Federation -
Southeastern Cave Conservancy -
Alabama Wildbird Conservation Association -
Wild South -
Black Warrior Riverkeeper -
Alabama Coastal Foundation -

3. Special Quotes and Passages About Alabama and the Environment

Below: A passage given to me from Stuart McGregor, a biologist at the Geological Survey of Alabama. This particular passage honors my hometown region Muscle Shoals.

".....The expansion of the Tennessee River, known by the name of Muscle Shoals, is of the character I have described; it is shallow, ornamented with a number of small islands, and its bed is full of the long grass which abounds in various species of Naiades. The lover of the grand and the beautiful in natural scenery, as well as the student in science, will here find abundant sources of interest. He will be delighted with a noble river, whose beautiful and numerous islands are clothed with gigantic trees; whose high and undulating shore on the one hand is ornamented with thriving villages, and on the other spreads out an extensive alluvial, rich in all the gifts of Ceres, or rises abruptly from the river a mural escarpment of carboniferous limestone, which reflectes its blue and sombre aspect in the crystal waters at it base...." ~ Timothy Abbot Conrad, "New Freshwater Shells of the United States", Philadelphia, 1834

From David Brower, the "Archdruid"

"Allow me to offer you a short course in ecology, beginning with rot. Rot is an extraordinary important process. Rot is highly exciting. But we give it a three letter word. We say, "This tree is sick," and "This is rotten, anyway. We should get rid of it."

By removing the rotten tree from the forest, we knock out of existence all the species that were going to use that tree for a home, for their dinner, until it rotted away completely, and helped nourish the next tree, maybe 200 or more years down the line. This a very good system. Unfortunately, we've learned to interrupt it rather than to live with it. We have learned how to break the circle of life instead of respecting it.

Nature recycles everything. There isn't anything that isn't recycled. Go outside. Look at the natural systems. Study them and learn to read the Earth. You will see what it has had time to learn. You will begin to understand the life force." ~ David Brower from Let the Mountains Talk Let the Rivers Run

"Wild nature, then, has been a way to recognize God and to talk about who he is - even, as in Job, a way for God to talk about who he is. How could it be otherwise? What else is, or was, beyond human reach. In what other sphere could a deity operate freely? It is not a chance that every second hymn in the hymn book rings with the imagery of the untouched outdoors. "All thy works with joy surround thee, Earth and Heaven reflect thy rays," we sing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." Sheep and harvests and the other common motifs of the Bible are not just metaphors; they are also the old reality of the earth, a place where people depended for both life and meaning on the nature they found around them. "We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land. But it is fed and watered by God's almighty hand. He sends the snow in winter, The warmth to swell the grain, The breezes and the sunshine, And soft refreshing rain. All good gifts around us Are sent from heaven above." ~ Bill McKibben from The End of Nature

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