Friday, April 27, 2012

BEN - April 27, 2012 #394

Picks of the Week:

BEN Publisher Pat Byington's Latest Earth Day Commentary
This Summer - Legacy Educator Workshops 
Open Space Institute Seeking Coordinator

The Nature Conservancy's Picnic for the Planet in Birmingham
News Across Alabama
Times Daily:  April 27th Tornadoes Environmental Damage and Recovery
CBS-42: Two Alabama Schools Named "Green Ribbon Schools" - Munford Elementary & Winterboro High School in Talladega
Birmingham News: Benefits of alternative fuels touted at Birmingham biofuels conference
Cleburne News: Local protest rally against Talladega National Forest oil and gas drilling set for May 14th
Montgomery Advertiser: State lacks climate plan
Op-eds, Links, Audio and Videos
Birmingham News: Legacy of the April 27th Tornadoes (Gallery)
Gulf Restoration Network Video "Tell BP the oil is still here and so are we"
Julie Dermansky's photos from the BP oil spill - a 2nd anniversary retrospective
Mobile Baykeeper Launches Swim Guide
NY Times Opinion - "Why do Trees matter?"  (Thanks to BEN reader Stan Palla for the article)
Events, Grants & Job Openings

Job Openings & Events (April 27th Update)

BEN Publisher Pat Byington's Birmingham News Earth Day Commentary

Below is a link to my latest Earth Day Commentary that appeared in the Birmingham News

"It may seem insignificant -- recycling at work, building a trail, planting a garden, casting a vote, or encouraging your classmates to conserve water with handmade signs. It all adds up. What kind of "planet saving work" will you choose today?"

BEN - Job Openings & Events (April 27th Update)

OSI Seeking Field Coordinator

Open Space Institute Seeking Southern Appalachians Field Coordinator

Reports To:  Executive Vice President/Grant and Loan Coordinator 
Department: Conservation Finance Program
Location:              Flexible location in the southern Appalachian region

Program Summary
The Conservation Finance Program (CFP) of the Open Space Institute seeks to facilitate protection of selected landscapes in the eastern United States by making available grant and loan capital to the region’s land trusts for land transactions, and leveraging public and private funds for strategic conservation.  The Program is currently active in New England and southeastern Canada (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts; Quebec, Brunswick and Nova Scotia); the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey and Pennsylvania); and the southeast (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia).  To date, OSI has made 100 grants and loans totaling almost $95 million to protect 1.7 million acres of land with a total real estate value of $550 million. The Coordinator will be a part of the Conservation Finance team, which includes staff in New York and other field coordinators in the mid-Atlantic and New England. 

Position Summary

The Coordinator will work under the supervision of OSI’s Executive VP to launch the Southern Cumberland Land Protection Fund that will focus on a 3 million-acre region in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.  The Coordinator, working also with OSI’s Grant and Loan Coordinator, will also be responsible for coordinating other potential research and land protection initiatives in the southeast.  

This position is flexible and may be designed as either a part-time (3 – 4 days a week) or full time. The position will be based in the region between Chattanooga, Atlanta, Nashville and Birmingham. The job will require periodic travel to meet with potential grantees and other stakeholders, monitoring of pending and potential land transactions, interaction with advocacy efforts about new public funding sources, and assessment of trends in funding and land use, promising financing strategies and ways to assist the region’s land trusts.  The Coordinator will be responsible for all aspects of the Fund, including working with OSI staff and advisors to prepare grant and loan recommendations for OSI’s board’s review.

Responsibilities & Duties

Research and Analysis

  • Develop written assessments of key conservation and funding opportunities and needs in focus areas
  • Maintain pipeline of pending and potential land transactions seeking loan and grant support
    • Assist OSI Credit Director in due diligence of loan applications in the region; prepare funding recommendations.

    Program Outreach

    • Conduct outreach to land trusts, public agency officials and conservation advocacy organizations in the region
    • Represent OSI at key land trust, advocacy and other gatherings in the region
    • Support OSI communications staff  to amplify awareness of the region and land protection projects
    • Interface with prospective grantees/borrowers
    • Organize and participate in meetings of grantees and advisors and efficiently share information with these and other stakeholders
    • Assist Executive Vice President in efforts to raise the visibility of focus areas and raise philanthropic capital funds.

    Program Administration
    • Implement all aspects of the Southern Cumberland Land Protection Fund
    • Track and organize grants and loans in the region
    •  Work in coordination with OSI legal team to monitor and enforce grantee and borrower compliance with grant and loan terms and implement course corrections where appropriate under supervision of OSI staff
    • Investigate and pursue relevant training and professional development.

    Skills/Core Competencies

    • Required:
      • Excellent organizational skills
      • Strong written and analytical skills.
      • Strong interpersonal skills
      • Willingness to travel throughout the region.
    • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
    • Self-starter with ability to work remotely (e.g., home office)
    • Ability to use good judgment and take initiative

    • Desirable:
      • Familiarity with land conservation transactions
      • Understanding of land conservation science
      • Familiarity with land conservation policy and  advocacy
      • Fund raising experience
      • Familiarity with GIS, and other relevant technologies


    • Bachelors and/or Graduate degree with an interest in environmental studies, conservation or related areas  
    • Nonprofit work or experience with environmental organization desirable
    • Knowledge of Southern Appalachians
    • Demonstrated capacity for teamwork

    How to Apply

    Please send your resume and cover letter to Antonia Bowring at   We will only contact finalists.  The application deadline is May 15th, 2012.

Legacy Summer Educator Workshops

Calling all educators.  Legacy Workshops still available. 

Mouth of the South: The Mobile-Tensaw Delta
June 3-7 - Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Dauphin Island
Immerse yourself in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta as you explore the bays, coastal forests, estuaries, watersheds, wetlands, and diverse wildlife that that make up this unique environment.  Activities will include visits to the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center, Meaher State Park, STARLAB planetarium, the Estuarium, and the Environmental Studies Center, where participants can see a Legacy grant in use.  Educators will participate in boat tours of the delta, learn about coastal plants, experiment with GPS tracking and navigation, and will learn about the history and fragile ecosystems on Alabama’s barrier island. 

From the Mountains to the Gulf
June 18-25 – A Journey Across the Great State of Alabama
Three leading scientific experts, Dr. Jim Lacefield (Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks), Dr. Bill Deutsch (Alabama Water Watch and AU) and Dr. George Cline (JSU), will guide twenty teachers throughout the State of Alabama, sharing their collective knowledge of the waters, geology, flora and fauna to help teachers make connections for their students back at home. The journey will begin in northwest Alabama at Camp McDowell Environmental Center, then zigzag through the state on an educational adventure of a lifetime, visiting Little River Canyon, Mt. Cheaha State Park, Alabama’s 4H Center as well as a chance to paddle the Cahaba. The final destination will be Dauphin Island Sea Lab, where participants will visit the Gulf of Mexico shoreline and waters.
(This workshop requires a $50.00 nonrefundable application fee for Legacy Partners or a $65.00 deposit for Non-Partners.)

Exploring Alabama’s Grand Canyon
July 10-13 – Desoto State Park, Fort Payne
Explore the natural wonder of Alabama’s Little River Canyon by navigating unfamiliar wilderness, paddling Terrapin Creek, hiking and other canyon-specific activities. During a visit to JSU's Little River Canyon Center participants will take part in a variety of hands-on activities such as learning about the wildlife, ecology, geology, botany, water quality and cultural heritage of this southern leg of the Appalachian Mountains.

Fascinating Flora & Fauna
July 18-20 – Camp McDowell Environmental Center, Nauvoo
Explore the beauty of Alabama’s flora and fauna and learn about native and invasive plants, tree identification, organic gardening and composting, sustainable agriculture, native wildlife and outdoor classrooms.  This three-day workshop will include canoeing, water quality testing, hiking, and a birds of prey presentation by Big Dave Hollaway along with many other activities.

Down Under in North Alabama
September 21-24 – Estill Fork
Join spelunking experts on an exciting adventure exploring caves and learn about the biodiversity of North Alabama's karst topography from one of Alabama’s leading geologists, Dr. Jim Lacefield. Find out how caves are formed and what creates the beautiful cave formations. During the cave explorations participants will see endangered aquatic cave life and bats. One exciting part of the workshop will be a visit to an Alabama State Park, Cathedral Caverns, where we will see the world's largest cave opening, the world's largest stalagmite and the world's largest frozen waterfall. We will also investigate a few of the wild caves in northeast Alabama. Through classroom and field studies, we will explore content knowledge, teaching techniques, and classroom activities to help students learn about the wonders of caves.

All Legacy workshops require a $40.00 non-refundable application fee for Non-Partners ($15.00 of this deposit will give the applicant a one year membership in Legacy’s Partnership Program) or a $25.00 non-refundable application fee for all Legacy Partners.  The one exception is the From the Mountains to the Gulf workshop, which requires a $50.00 fee for Partners or a $65 fee for Non-Partners. 
The Partnership Program allows environmentally aware individuals to assist us in providing balanced, fact-based environmental education programs and materials to citizens throughout our state. Remember your contribution to Legacy is tax deductible. As a Legacy Partner you will receive discounts on our annual partnership conference and the remaining Legacy workshops for that year.

  • Lodging, meals, and materials for the workshops are provided.  Legacy is not able to cover substitute teachers and travel expenses to and from the workshop location. 
  • Any K-12 educator currently teaching within the State of Alabama, any person about to or who has already graduated with an Education Degree, graduate students with an Education Degree or other environmental educators may apply to attend. 
  • Applications can be downloaded from the Legacy Website at
  • Contact Toni Bruner at 1-800-240-5115 or for more information.

Legacy Workshops are made possible through funds generated by the sale of the “Protect our Environment” license tag.  For more information about purchasing the tag go to