Friday, March 21, 2008

From Maine to Alabama

Quotes from the Pinhoti Appalachian Trail Connection Dedication - March 16, 2008

Connecting Alabama’s Pinhoti Trail to the world-famous Appalachian Trail is great news for the many outdoor enthusiasts who have been waiting for the entire Appalachian range to be joined together. Hikers from all corners of the world will now have the opportunity to experience the majestic Alabama wilderness as they challenge themselves on the Appalachian Trail.  I believe that we must protect and preserve our natural resources for future generations to enjoy and I am proud to have played a part in ensuring that the Appalachian Trail connects to our great state."
- Senator Richard Shelby
Alabama's Senior Senator

Today, of course, is Palm Sunday and on this day, maybe a more spiritual, meaningful and human connection is here, one at a time, connecting each of us to our natural history, heritage, this clean air, healthy lifestyle and unparalleled beauty. In fact, on this Sunday, this ridge may serve as the most beautiful church, so appropriate for prayer, contemplation, and deep thanks for all that we have. 
- Pete Conroy
Director, Jacksonville State University
Environmental Policy Information Center

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

BEN - March 14, 2008 #300

1) Mobile Register Global Warming Poll
2) ADEM Pushes Recycling Legislation
3) City of Homewood Grants Easement to Freshwater Land Trust
4) Sea Grant Research Awards Far Reaching
5) Cahaba River Society Honors "Blue-Green" Innovation
6) BEN Notes: Auntie Litter's Earth Day T-Shirts, Camp McDowell's Teacher FUNshops,, Black Creek Park Community Service Day, Brookside Greenway Festival, Green Coast 2008, 4th Annual State of the Tallapoosa River Basin, Shoals Celebrates Earth Month, AEC's Green Tie Affair, ALEEC Spring Conference, Earth Day Party at the Poles, Earth Day at the Gardens, Earth Day Safari at the Montgomery Zoo, Mobile Baykeeper's Grandman Triathlon


The Rt. Rev. Henry Parsley - Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Alabama

Please check out Bishop Parsley's remarkable speech about care of creation during his opening remarks at the church's Diocesan Convention.


Green Resource Center for Alabama

Save the following dates from the Green Resource Center for Alabama:
March 15th, 9-5
The Clover Crawl - An Open House for the Center
March 25th 8:30am-4pm
"Saving Our Water" - at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

For additional details visit -


1. Mobile Register Global Warming Poll - According to a recent Mobile Register poll, three-quarters of Alabamians believe global warming is a reality, but they are split on whether human activities are responsible. And despite grave warnings by scientists about climate change being the greatest threat to the earth, only one in six Alabamians feels that way.

Below are the Mobile Register/University of South Alabama poll results.

The poll was a telephone survey of 402 adult residents of Alabama, conducted February 18-21, 2008 by USA Polling Group: margin of error is +/-5% at the 95% confidence level.

1. How would you rate the overall condition of the natural environment in the world today? Would you say it is...? Excellent - 1%, Good - 23%, Fair - 45%, Poor - 25%, Very Poor - 4%, DK/NA - 2%

2. Compared to 10 years ago, do you think the natural environment in the world today is better, worse, or about the same? Better - 9%, Worse - 56%, About the Same - 34%, DK/NA -1%

3. Which of the following would you say is the most serious environmental threat facing the world today? Hazardous Waste generally - 26%, Air Pollution - 18%, Water Pollution - 18%, Global Warming - 17%, Loss of plants and wildlife species - 6%, All of the above - 6%, Something else - 3%, DK/NA - 6%

4. Which of the following statements comes closest to your view on global warming:

Global warming is occurring due to human activity.
Global warming is occurring, but it is due to national forces rather than human activity.
Global warming is not happening at all.

Occurring due to human activity - 42%
Occurring due to natural forces - 35%
Not occurring at all - 13%

5. Assuming that global warming is occurring as many scientists have suggested, how would you rate the potential problem of a rising sea level. Would you say that is likely to be a ... Major problem - 35%, Moderate problem - 24%, Minor problem -20%, Not a problem - 14%, DK/NA - 7%

6. What about the decline of various animal populations, such as polar bears, seals, and penguins? (prompt with responses as needed) Major problem - 36%, Moderate problem - 24%, Minor problem - 21%, Not a problem - 14% DK/NA - 5%

7. What about potential increase in the number and intensity of storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes? Major problem - 56%, Moderate problem - 22%, Minor problem - 10%, Not a problem - 9%, DK/NA -3%

8. In dealing with the issue of global warming, do you think the government should do more, is doing enough, or is doing too much? Should do more - 58%, Doing enough - 23%, Doing too much - 13%, DK/NA - 6%

9. How much would you personally be willing to sacrifice financially in order to help stop global warming? Would you sacrifice....? A lot - 8%, Some - 31%, A little - 24%, Not at all -34% DK/NA -3%

2. ADEM Pushes Recycling Legislation - Last month, Rep. Frank McDaniel of Albertville introduced House Bill 395, the Solid Wastes and Recyclable Materials Act. The legislation, which is being advocated by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) will address and remediate illegal dumpsites throughout Alabama, develop and enhance recycling programs, and enable ADEM to more adequately regulate solid waste. This program will be paid for by a $1 a ton tipping fee on solid waste. The legislation is modeled after successful programs in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Presently, Alabama is one of the last states in the country without a comprehensive recycling program. And on a local level, only 81 cities out of the Alabama's 460 municipalities provided some kind of recycling program or service. Of the counties, 26 have recycling programs out of 67 counties.

3. City of Homewood Grants Easement to Freshwater Land Trust - Here is a wonderful public/private partnership in Homewood, Alabama. On February 11th, the Homewood City Council unanimously approved to grant a conservation easement on 65 acres of the city-owned "Homewood Forest Preserve" to the Freshwater Land Trust. This action guarantees that the Preserve will be held in perpetuity as green space for the protection of the environment and the enjoyment of local citizens. Homewood Mayor Barry McCulley signed the conservation easement on March 3rd.

Located adjacent to Samford University and Homewood High School, the Preserve will provide opportunities for outdoor nature education. The Preserve is also home to the city's annual Salamander Festival.

4. Sea Grant Research Awards Far Reaching - The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium is funding several innovative research grants in Alabama. Here is a description of the grants that have been awarded for its 2008-2010 budget cycle.

Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences - Will access the effect of land use/cover on the water quality of the Fish River, a major water supplier. Auburn develop population projections and zoning maps that will aid local authorities in making science-based decisions regarding environmental and ecosystem health.

University of Alabama at Birmingham's Department of Biology - Study a process to increase an abundant and predictable supply of soft shelled crabs that could benefit economies in states with existing and potential soft crab fisheries.

Auburn University's Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture - Provide west Alabama shrimp farmers with information about salinity and temperature tolerance of post-larval and early juvenile state shrimp. The information will help increase survival, growth and production of inland low-salinity farms.

University of Alabama and the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve - Will address the lack of understanding of the effects of prescribed burning, a common management practice for many ecosystems, especially marsh habitat.

Dauphin Island Sea Lab - Will collect and examine the relationship between shellfish habitat, wastewater treatment plants and human health.

For more info about the Mississippi- Sea Grant Program, visit

5. Cahaba River Society Honors "Blue-Green" Innovation - Last month, at their 20th Anniversary meeting, the Cahaba River Society recognized innovative development that protects both the Cahaba watershed and the region's environment. This year's "Blue-Green" Innovation Award winners were:

McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company - for its stormwater and industrial process water reuse system;

Opus South Corporation
- for the Social Security Administration in Birmingham building green roof and stormwater collection system;

Trussville City Schools
- for the new Hewitt-Trussville High School sensitivity to the river during its development;

Protective Life Office Complex
- was awarded the Classic Blue-Green Development Award for its building's good design that conserves water resources and saves money over time.

6. BEN Notes: Auntie Litter's Earth Day T-Shirts, Camp McDowell's Teacher FUNshops, Black Creek Park Community Service Day, Brookside Greenway Festival, Green Coast 2008, 4th Annual State of the Tallapoosa River Basin, Shoals Celebrates Earth Month, AEC's Green Tie Affair, ALEEC Spring Conference, Earth Day Party at the Poles, Earth Day at the Gardens, Earth Day Safari at the Montgomery Zoo, Mobile Baykeeper's Grandman Triathlon

Auntie Litter's Earth Day T-Shirts - Check out Auntie Litter's "Take Pride Statewide" t-shirts for her upcoming 16th Annual Earth Day Parade in Birmingham. Visit

Camp McDowell's Teacher FUNshops -
The 2008 Free McDowell Environmental Center Teacher workshops (FUNshops) are starting to book! The lost World FUNshop is scheduled for June 2-6 with an added treat of touring a local cave. The Living Streams FUNshop is scheduled for October 27-29. For more info on Camp McDowell Environmental Center and one of the teacher workshops contact Maggie Wade Johnston at or 205-387-1806. Also visit -

Black Creek Park Community Service Day - The city of Fultondale is hosting a Black Creek Park Community Service Day on Saturday, March 15th 9:00 AM until Noon. For directions and information about this event, visit

Brookside Greenway Festival - The small town of Brookside in western Jefferson County is hosting the Brookside Greenway Festival, Saturday, April 5 from 6 AM to Sunset at Bensko Park. Registration for events

Green Coast 2008 - Save the Date - The GreenCoast 2008 Conference & Expo will be held at Mobile, Alabama's Arthur Outlaw Convention Center on April 9-10. Register today at

4th Annual State of the Tallapoosa River Basin - Alabama Water Watch and AU Department of Fisheries is coordinating the 4th Annual State of Our Watershed Conference - The Tallapoosa River Basin on Friday, April 11th at the Health, Education and Arts Auditorium, Central Alabama Community College, Alexander City. To register (required) visit

Shoals Celebrates Earth Month - Talk about a busy month! Check out all the activities and Earth Day events in Shoals at (They will be holing Earth Day on April 19th). Contact Charles Rose at 256-381-2826 if you have any questions.

AEC's Green Tie Affair - Mark your calendars - The Alabama Environmental Council will be holding their 12th Annual Green Tie Affair on April 17th at the Flower Stems Loft on 213 Richard Arrington Blvd. South. For more info, call 205-322-3126.

ALEEC Spring Conference - Jared Diamond - The Alabama Environmental Education Consortium (ALEEC) will be holding their Spring Conference this year on April 19th at Samford University. This year's featured speaker will be Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel. His topic will be - Lessons from Environmental Collapses of Past Societies. For more info about the conference call Virginia Brown at 205-726-4246.

Earth Day Party at the Poles - The McWane Science Center in Birmingham will be holding "Earth Day at the Poles" Saturday, April 19th. For additional info visit or call 205-714-8300.

Earth Day at the Gardens - Check out the 11th Annual "Earth Day at the Gardens" in Birmingham, Alabama at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Sunday, April 20th, 1-5PM. Visit

Earth Day Safari at the Montgomery Zoo - The Montgomery Zoo will be holding their "Earth Day Safari" on April 22, 9 AM to 3 PM. For additional info visit

Mobile Baykeeper's Grandman Triathlon - The Springhill Medical Center Grandman Triathlon to benefit Mobile Baykeeper will be held May 31st at 7:00 AM at the Fairhope Municipal Pier in Fairhope, Alabama. If you are interested in participating visit or call 251-433-4229.