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Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth
find reserves of strength that will endure as long
as life lasts.
-- Rachel Carson

 
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Local News

 

Pinhoti Challenge Hike!

53 people can’t be wrong! The Pinhoti Challenge hikes are a growing force. The ancients used to believe that everything was composed of only 4 elements – air, earth, fire, and water. February’s hike would show us all of these with ease. We knew we’d see the fire part because, as we settled our cars at the Pinky Burns trailhead, a Forest Service ranger approached and informed us of a large controlled burn going on in the area. How could we know that only 3 weeks later this fire element (without the involvement of the Forest Service) would inflict a monumental loss on this very trailhead we were standing in. This time, it would not be controlled.

Pinhoti hiking tripThe Burns trailhead, where we were parking cars, would be the point where we ended our hike. The Forest Service maps all told us we’d have an 8.8 mile hike. As we found out with our GPS unit, the hike was more like 10.2 miles. At any rate, this trailhead featured parking and a commemorative plaque dedicating the 10,000 acre Dugger Mountain Wilderness – along with the personal cabin and outbuildings of Pink E. Burns. Pink was a local outdoorsman, hunter, and trapper known for his colorful stories and lore. He would sit on the front porch of his cabin (the right half of which was log, originally built somewhere around 1800-1810) and wave to every car that passed down Rabbittown Road. Legend was that he could be coaxed into telling old stories with a banana moon pie and a cola of some sort. When Mr. Burns died in 1999 at the age of 81, he donated the land to the Forest Service. His cabin was originally a one-room schoolhouse, and plans were reportedly in the works to turn the cabin into a nature or visitor center.

Once the cars were settled, we began the procession around to the other end – Forest Service Road 500. Here, we met more hikers joining us. We began our ascent. This is the hardest part of our hike. We gain 1,300 feet in 2 miles. However, the reward is a grand view out over the town of Piedmont, AL. As we climbed, we began to smell the smoke from the promised controlled burn. The ranger had told us that his hopes were that the smoke would go “up and over” our heads. For the most part, it seemed to be doing that, but it was also very windy. We couldn’t help but wonder what if the fire got out of control. And, as luck would have it, the wind was coming straight up the ridge at us. Once on top, we split off of the trail to the right to make sure we crossed the official “2nd highest point” in Alabama. We then set up lunch in and around the old fire tower spot.

After lunch, we climbed back down to the trail and began the short hop to the next highlight – the plane crash. About ½ mile or so down the trail, and just barely off and above the trail are the remnants of an old Cessna that went down on November 10, 1998.

For details on this crash, you can go to this website (www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief2.asp?ev_id=20001211X11471&ntsbno=MIA99FA027&akey=1) and find out more. This is the National Transportation Safety Board website. 3 people were aboard the plane, and unfortunately the 2 in the front of the plane died. The passenger in the back had serious injuries, but survived – and walked out to the town of Piedmont the next morning.

Shortly after the plane wreckage, the trail begins a steep descent for about ½ mile before turning back to the left. It then begins to meander along several creeks and in and out of hollows and around fingers above Jones Branch. There are a couple of blowdowns in this area that someone has spent countless hours cleaning out. They are amazing to walk through! After a couple of miles of this meandering in and out small dips, the trail drops into a low spot with ground covered with Creeping Ground Cedar. Soon after, a sign appears directing you to the Burns trailhead. The trail exits the forest beside Pinky’s barn and the Dugger Mountain Wilderness plaque.

On Tuesday, March 10th, 3 teen arsonists set the Pinky Burns cabin ablaze at approximately 11 p.m. By the time a sheriff’s deputy arrived, the entire cabin was fully involved and not able to be saved. The 3 firebugs sped away from the scene only to be apprehended later. It is reported that the cabin was on the National Register of Historic Places, and that since the cabin was on Federal land – the offenses will be considered acts of terrorism. Mike Faulk, a writer for the Anniston Star writes that, “bottles, torn rags, and lighter fluid – the makings of Molotov cocktails – were found in the car. Jody Kyle Maples, 20, of Lineville, Grover Shannon Newell, 18, of Anniston, and Jennifer Megan Brooks, 18, of Anniston are charged with second-degree arson and are in jail on $250,000 bond each. Their court date is set for May 14. Chief Deputy Matt Wade said second-degree arson is a Class B felony, carrying with it a sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison.”

Since I found out the news of the loss of the Burns cabin, I have had a knot in my stomach. I feel that we have all failed Mr. Burns in letting his beloved property go down in this way. As a society, we are all responsible for these young adults’ actions. This was an irreplaceable icon of a time and person that will not return. We had just a little bit to hold on to, to remind us of those times. We could go back and imagine, and get lost in the dust and sunlight. And even though Mr. Burns has been gone for 10 years, I still imagined him somehow at home inside that cabin. I always look to my favorite author Rick Bass for a quote to sum up how I feel. In talking about the value of a place, he says, “We take in a manner that does not replenish. We search out the last corners to do injury to them as if we have become confused – as if forgetting that we cannot live, cannot survive without grace and magic.”

 

Pinhoti Challenge: CCC Road to County Road 24

Even though we shared the parking area with hunter’s vehicles, we weren’t worried. At least that’s what I kept telling myself as we started the second of our Pinhoti Challenge hikes. Across the road were more hunter vehicles. An orange hat could be seen pacing back and forth in the woods. Not to worry – our group was large enough that we’d make plenty of noise as long as we stayed together. Hunters and hikers have an agreement to share the woods, and as much as we talk and worry – I’ve never heard of a single incident ending in disaster. Brightly colored clothing and large groups aren’t easily mistaken for game. My thoughts turned to something more pressing -- the weather. This day promised not to be as bitter as the first challenge hike had started, with temperatures moderating in the 50’s. We had one large creek to cross. We’d had some recent rains, so that was my only worry.

We started our hike by heading off down the CCC road, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930’s, by young men as a part of FDR’s “New Deal” legislation. The goal was to employ young men to do outside construction and labor to help combat the massive unemployment and poverty caused by the Great Depression. Most of the workers sent the majority of their wages back home to help struggling families make ends meet. But, these workers were also incredibly skilled artists! In addition to all of the stone buildings at Cheaha State Park, the CCC also built the retaining walls and magnificent bridge over Hillabee Creek on the CCC road. Traveling the CCC road is like visiting a museum to stone masons and architecture! Every bend in the road features a curved retaining wall that can only be described as fitting perfectly with nature. Closed to all but foot-traffic, the unpaved CCC road seems frozen in time.

At approximately the one-mile mark, the bridge over Hillabee Creek comes into view. From the road view, it doesn’t appear that spectacular. However, once across the bridge, a view from either side is reminiscent of something straight out of a Monet masterpiece. An arched bridge made of local rock! And, here it has been for over 70 years quietly funneling the waters of Hillabee Creek through its mouth. Our group paused for pictures, and some even picked up trash that some not-so-friendly locals had left. What a great contribution to the trail!

We continued on down the CCC road for another 2 miles climbing Pine Mountain out of the Hillabee Creek gorge and enjoying the rock retaining walls before reaching our Pinhoti trail junction. From this point, the trail runs left up Blue Mountain towards the Blue Mountain Shelter and right towards County Road 24. We turned right and began the long descent into a very scenic creek valley filled with mountain laurel. At the bottom of the creek valley, we stopped for lunch. Here, the trail crosses the small creek several times meandering through prime spring wildflower country. Eventually, we cross the creek one last time and climb up and out of the creek valley. Soon, we are to another highlight of this section – a 1940-something Chevy panel delivery truck. Or, at least what’s left of one. The tires, seats, frame, engine, doors, dash, and just about every other part of significance are gone. What remains makes for a great photo opportunity! We all take turns driving and having our photos made before moving on.

Soon, we descend under some high tension power lines with a large right-of-way clearing and come upon Hillabee Creek again. This time, however, we have no bridge on which to cross. This is the crossing I had worried over. The crossing is safe, but will require a removal of boots and an up-close-and-personal getting-to-know of the water! Everyone makes it across safely – and after a rest on the other side, we all comment on how refreshed and relaxed our feet feel after being in the cold water. Energized from the foot spa treatment, we set off again. After a short climb out of the Hillabee Creek drainage, we soon enter another drainage with lots of mountain laurel and meandering trail. The trail clings to a stream that grows wider and wider before joining with another stream and turning upstream on the second. We climb away from the creek and over several small bumps and hills covered with longleaf pine. One of the pines is down, and reveals 2 hiker trophies! Eventually, we join an old jeep road and descend slowly through open woods.

One last stream crossing reminds us that we are nearing the shuttle vehicles that we left earlier in the day. We begin to hear vehicles and gunfire directly ahead. Amazingly, we have heard none all day! We pick up the pace and quickly descend to County Road 24. While the drivers are being taken to get the vehicles left at our starting point, several hikers again pick up trash in and around the trailhead. What a difference this would make if we all did the same the next time we hiked! After a dinner at the Cheaha State Park restaurant, the second hike of the Pinhoti Challenge was in the books.

 

Pinhoti Challenge: Oakey Mountain

The yellow spider-like filaments of the witch hazel were glowing in the morning sun of the ice-cold December morning. It had to be a sign of the good things to come on this, the first of the planned 26 Pinhoti Challenge section day-hikes, as we stood around introducing ourselves. How could anything be blooming in the middle of winter, I pondered to myself, thinking that these blooms looked exactly like fireworks. Could the trail be sending a signal thanking us for celebrating it? Well, witch hazel normally blooms at this time of year – but I like to think it was a sign. And, we would see many other different natural wonders before the day was over!

Pinhoti Challenge group shot

With our shuttle set up on the other end at County Road 94, we headed up the trail towards the Duggar Mountain shelter. A quick side trail took us to the shelter, where we all spent a minute signing the shelter’s register as the “Pinhoti Challenge Group.” For those of us without official trail names, this was a moment to rack our brains thinking one up. You can’t hike 170+ miles of trail and not have a trail name! Finally, we were on the trail. Our first views of Oakey Mountain soon came into view. It looked intimidating! We heard shotgun shots in the distance, but were not worried as some in our group had on bright colors. After smelling some crushed ginger leaves growing on the trail, we learned a quick story of the Christmas fern before topping out our first hill and beginning the long descent to the Terrapin Creek Watershed Lake. The Christmas fern, by the way, is the only fern still green at Christmas-time. It also has individual leaflets reminiscent of socks hanging by the chimney with care, and sleds with Santa’s head poking up in the back. Those who saw it won’t ever mistake it for another fern! It’s unique in the fern world.

As we approached the lake, several saw the huge great blue heron flying on the far side of the lake. He’d heard us coming! This area is very reminiscent of a high lake country. As we crossed the very open grassy area of the watershed lake dam, we came across some scat. Lucky for us, we had a certified scat-ologist along from Camp Sumatanga who identified it as coyote. A hiker would have serenades at night while camping here! What a treat. We continued a few feet further to our lunch spot with a great view of Oakey Mountain on one side, and the lake on the other. The bright sun warmed us as we lunched and relaxed. Following lunch, we took a few pictures and got to the more serious business of climbing the steepest section of trail – going from 700 feet to 1700 feet in the next mile or so.

The trail begins the ascent of Oakey gradually in a creek bed, before heading upward on fingers of the mountain ridge. Finally, the switchbacks began when our calves began burning and feet began sliding. We offered to throw ropes down to the groups behind and pull them up the switchbacks for shortcuts – no, not really! But, it was steep. After a brief rest, we continued upwards. The trail begins to have wonderful views and clings to the mountainside as it climbs at an angle instead of straight up. Views of Duggar Mountain (the state’s 2nd highest point) could now be seen plainly behind us. We topped out at 1700 near a rocky outcrop and took a break. From here, the trail descended the backside of Oakey and did some switchbacks before meandering through some old longleaf growth and rock outcroppings. The trail also crosses a couple of old forest roads. The trail markings are plain and easy to follow. Soon, we came across the Oakey Mountain Shelter and more scat. This time, our scat-ologist identified it most likely as from a bobcat! What a treat these shelter guests would have!

Once past the shelter, the trail descends very rapidly down the mountain beside a creek. This is where the knees get a workout! At the bottom, we came across a unique plant rare in Alabama – Creeping Ground Cedar. This plant reproduces by spores and dates all the way back to the dinosaurs. The trail finally leveled out and spit us out on the Chief Ladiga rail-trail. This rail-trail is paved and a mecca for leisurely bikers and runs from Anniston to just over the AL/GA state line. Another trail, the Silver Comet Trail, intersects the Chief Ladiga in GA and runs all the way to Atlanta! The Pinhoti and the rail-trail are one for about ¼ mile in order to cross Terrapin Creek on a transformed train trestle. This trestle is only big enough for bikes and hikers to pass. On the rail-trail, we found more scat. It was identified by our scat-ologist as from a fox! A few feet further on the rail trail, and the trail entered the woods to the left. Only 50 yards through the woods and we saw our long-ago parked shuttle van waiting.

What a day it had been! Witch hazel, Christmas fern, ginger, creeping ground cedar, great blue heron, coyote scat, bobcat scat, fox scat, trail names, wind, water, earth, and good fellowship were all part of the agenda. We made our way back to Oxford for a great dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse before officially closing the initial hike of the Pinhoti Challenge. Only 25 more hikes to go before we hand out badges. And, we’ve come up with a way that you can do make-up hikes on your own. It’ll sort of be like a scavenger hunt – with one or two clues on each section that only we’ll know the answer to. Of course, you’ll have to hike the section to find the hidden clue. It might be to take a picture of a certain tree, or marker, or sign. Or, we may leave a note under a certain rock sealed in a ziplock bag. Anytime you want to join the challenge, you simply ask for the clue to that section. Of course, we’ll be doing organized make-ups of sections too based on need. The Pinhoti Challenge is off and running. Are you up to the challenge? by Jay Hudson

 

Cahaba group Night Hike
Trip leader Jim Binnings

I checked the weather forecast one last time before I left for the group meeting place on Crestwood Blvd. The forecast called for partly cloudy skies. Ok I thought. We have a 50/50 chance of clear skies for Saturday night's night hike. The Cahaba group drove over to Coleman Lake campground in the Talladega national forest and found the last to spots for camping in the overflow section of the campgrounds. Not bad spots..close together, a big fire ring, and the all important bathroom 20 yards away. With seven tents pitched and cars unloaded we headed to the Pine Glen campground for our night hike.

Cahaba Group Night Hike

We were greeted by the Anniston outdoors association when we arrived at the campground (this was a joint outing between the two groups). Keith brought the pizza and soft drinks from Anniston. Keith was able to keep the pizza warm for almost an hour by keeping the pizzas in his zero-rated sleeping bag. Not bad! While we were eating dinner Dr. Laura Weinkauf of Jacksonville State University arrived and the group was set. With a group of nineteen people we started our night hike towards Sweetwater lake where Dr. Weinkauf was going to give us an astronomy class in a big open field.

Hiking at night was fun. We made new friends and appreciated some trail time in the woods at night. We spotted the green glow of spider eyes in the woods, heard an owl or two, and worked on our night hiking skills. When we got to the field where the Dr. Weinkauf was going to have class, the skies were cloudy. Oh well! Other than the light of the moon when it popped its head out of the clouds, we learned a little about astronomy by the glow of a green laser pen. In our imaginations we saw the North star, Jupiter, and several constellations and enjoyed a great night. And Laura did a great job telling a few good stories about the lore surrounding the constellations.

After the hike, we went back to our campsites and built a big fire and talked for awhile. Some of us talked longer than others. Val and I were up until 3:30 finishing off the wine and solving the world's problems. The next day we did a nice hike on the Pinhoti trail going north from Coleman Lake. And leading the hike a lot of the way Sunday morning was MiniSpot who was a dog we found wandering around the woods on Saturday night. Sissy befriended MiniSpot and the two became fast friends. A good time was had by all and we finished our trip with and early dinner at Cracker Barrel on the way back to Birmingham.

 

Cahaba group hikes to the Walls of Jericho
Trip leader Jim Binnings

Saturday morning greeted us with cool and foggy weather but the promise of a good hike to the Walls of Jericho was also in the air. At 8:30am we loaded up the cars and headed north. The drive north on highway 79 was great. The fall colors were just starting to show. As we drove we saw rolling hills spotted with fall colors, pasture land gold and brown, beautiful lake Guntersville, and small towns decorated for Halloween. There is something about fall! Around 11:00am everyone met at the trailhead and we started to the walls.

The hike down was easy but everyone was looking for the loose rocks that always get you going down hill. We stopped and explored two caves and also noticed several shaggy bark hickory trees. The conversation along the way was good too! We covered it all Saturday on the trail. The upcoming presidential election, the fall of Wall Street, high crimes, trips we would like to take together, and Becca was trying to remember the songs played in the movie Ghost Busters???!!!! At the bottom of the hill after crossing hurricane creek we came to the Clark family cemetery where we saw at headstone dated in the mid 1800's. Can you believe that!

Of course the real show was the Walls of Jericho. After walking through a small canyon with up to 200-foot walls on the north side we did a rock hop and made it to the walls. The Walls of Jericho is a limestone amphitheatre carved out by the waters of Turkey creek over thousands of years. We found a shady spot, ate lunch, and sat back and enjoyed the hardwood wood trees, the limestone walls, and watched the water cascade down to the creek from a man size cut in the wall. Several of the group climbed up a small ledge and explored further up where there is a sink hole. After some good exploring we loaded up and headed back.

The walk out of the Walls of Jericho on the Alabama side was on our mind as we headed back. The walk out has a 900 +/- foot gain in elevation over a mile and half before getting to the trailhead. We settled into a nice easy pace and made short work of the walk out. I was a little surprised to find that all of the trash we had been picking up and leaving on the trails edge was gone. You see I feel strongly about trash on the trail and on the way to the Walls we stopped and picked up trash and left it on the edge of the trail with the intention of picking it up on the way out. Apparently some others hikers had some conscious and helped us out by carrying out the trash we had picked up.

We were all pretty hungry by the time we made it back to the cars. We drove into Guntersville and had dinner at Top of the River restaurant. Their specialty is seafood but they make some pretty great cornbread and hushpuppies too. A good time was had by all. Along for the hike were Jim, Ken, Becca, Nancy, Nancy, Michael, Sonia, Lois, Joan, and Curtis.

Want to have fun like this? Check out our outings>>>

Cahaba Heads Down the Coosa.

Despite being gouged by the oil companies at the gas pumps following hurricane Ike, a good group of paddlers showed up to paddle down the Coosa river below Jordan dam. I was excited about the upcoming paddle because the power company had announced they were releasing 4000 cubic feet of water per minute and we should have plenty of water to play in. I was really surprised when we arrived at the Coosa Outdoor Center and heard from one of the Coosa Outdoor Center's staff the release was actually going to be 6000 cubic feet per minute. Wow!

Once on the water we were greeted by a nice headwind which made the paddling a little more challenging on such a wide open body of water. But once we reached the rapids we forgot all about the headwinds. Because the release was 6000 a lot of the rocks were covered by water and we did not have as many rapids. However, the rapids we did have had a real bite and were fun. The boats we used ranged from single/tandem sit on top kayaks to sit in kayaks. John H. really had a chance to break in his new sit in kayak as he went over a few times. John was a great sport and kept going and got the Sierra "just can't keep dry" award for the day J. By the time we reached moccasin gap we were all a little tired and ready for some lunch.

Moccasin gap is an island marking the halfway point of the trip. The island is rocky and offers a great place to relax, eat lunch, play in water, and watch boats shoot the rapids. There are class 2/3 rapids running river left and river right of the island. And today the river right rapid was a fun class 3. We all watched and talked about whether we would go right or left while eating lunch. After lunch I pulled out some trash bags and to my surprise did not have too much trash to pick up. You will always see me with a Wal-Mart bag handy for picking up the trash that people so carelessly leave behind. After lunch we all loaded up in our boats and took off. Part of the group (recognizing their limits this day) went left and enjoyed a smooth ride past moccasin gap. The rest of us were feeling it and all went down the class 3 rapid on the right. I am happy to say no one went over and we all high fived with our paddles when we all came together afterwards. From there we enjoyed the rest of the paddle. We talked, enjoyed seeing the spanish moss, and seeing the tupelo cedar trees. When we saw the bridge marking the end of the trip our only regret was the trip didn't last long enough. On the trip were Jim, Monica, Lois, Jeannine, Danny, Lee, John, Ruis, Kenny, Amy, and Keith.

Wild and Rural Art Show.

Plan a Group Outing, Give Your Bike a Tune-Up, Start Hiking Now—or at least mark your calendar! This year’s Alabama Heritage— Wild and Rural Art show promises to be even more exciting this year! In addition to the wonderful art that will be on display, there will also be live music, good food, a silent auction, and demonstrations.

Our own Maggie Johnston will be demonstrating the potter’s wheel, in addition to demonstrations on gun stock building, fly-casting, beekeeping, weaving, the life of bats—and more!

The show will salute the common bond between nature lovers, farmers, and sportsmen—in wanting to care for and protect the beautiful wild places and farmlands of Alabama. Many of the artists who were in the show last year will be back again—plus many new artists. The show will feature painting, basketry, weaving, photography, metal works, pottery, sculpture, rustic furniture—and more! Alabama artists in the show include: Deborah Ballog, Dean and Sharon Black, Sue Blackshear, Nada Boner, Roger Conville, Susan Finley, Tracey Garrison, Nathan Glick, Gwendolyn Griffin, Marilyn Huey, Eric Johnson, Anderson Luster, Larry Martin, B.J. Morgan, Ethel Owen, Tena Payne, Paula Frances Peek, Mary Ann Pope, Laura Reddick, Charlie Seifried, Robert Taylor, Kenny Wlters, Beth Maynor Young, Keen Zero, and Hillwood Farm Rustics.

The show opening will be 10:00 AM - 6 PM Saturday, October 11, 2008, at Blackwood Gallery in the lovely town of Springville, Alabama. Come on opening day and meet the artists who honor our beautiful state with their work. The show will run until November 8, 2008.

Directions: Traveling on I-59, take Exit 154 (Al 174), and go north about .5 ( over the RR tracks) to the stop sign at the junction of US 11. Turn left onto US 11 (South) and go .4 mile. Blackwood Gallery will be on the right. On October the day of the opening (Oct. 11th), parking will Parking will be across the street in the parking lot beside Burton Food Store. Police assistance will be provided for crossing the street.
For more information, email peggie.griffin@sierraclub.org  or call 256-538-3885.

Alabama’s Cahaba River is profiled in the May/June issue of Sierra magazine.  The article, written by Verna Gates about the Cahaba River, contains a beautiful photo by Beth Maynor Young of Cahaba Lily blooms.  www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200805/goodgoing.asp

Victory against cancer! Panel ups the standards for carcinogens in water

On Friday, April 18, the Environmental Management Commission passed a rule change that will reduce the allowable cancer risk levels in Alabama’s waterways from 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 1 million! 

This initiative was first brought to the Commission’s attention by the Alabama Rivers Alliance and 17 other environmental organizations in the spring of 2007.  After almost of year of hard work by the citizens and the Commission, the right decision was made today!  We commend the Environmental Management Commission for making this decision and all of the citizens and organizations who worked so hard to keep it moving forward.

The Alabama Rivers Alliance would especially like to thank attorney, David Ludder, who has been a steadfast source of leadership, knowledge, and hard work on all of these initiatives.

See more articles on this subject:

Brought to you by the Alabama Rivers Alliance

 

Survey Response on ADEM Director: from Conservation Alabama

More than 100 individuals participated in an online evaluation of Alabama Department of Environmental Management Director Onis “Trey” Glenn III and the agency he runs, and the results are striking.

Overall, just less than 88 percent of those surveyed in the “Citizen Evaluation of ADEM” said Director Glenn’s performance has been “unsatisfactory” or “needs improvement.” Some themes that came from the survey include:

  • Glenn and ADEM need to be more responsive to citizens (public records, public participation, complaints, etc.).
  • Glenn and ADEM need to make effective compliance/enforcement their top priority
  • Glenn needs to be mindful of public perceptions of relationships with regulated parties (perceived unethical conduct)
  • The plane purchase was a mistake and reflects poor judgment
  • Agency funding needs to increase
  • Low employee morale

“This evaluation is a reflection of the views of average citizens across the state,” said Adam Snyder, executive director of Conservation Alabama, the host of the online survey. “While it is the role of the Environmental Management Commission to evaluate the director, it is our hope the Commission will take these citizen comments into account.”

From January 9 through 25, Conservation Alabama hosted the online survey through a service called Survey Monkey. The survey was slightly modified from the evaluation form the Commission adopted for their evaluation of the director on December 14. It also allowed only one participant per IP address.

Conservation Alabama has submitted the results of the survey to the Commission for their review.

February 1 marks the three year anniversary of Director Glenn’s first day at ADEM.

You can read the full evaluation summary:
Full Evaluation of Director Trey Glenn.

 

Recent Cahaba Group Events

Sumatanga Scat Outing
Looking for Alabama wildlife? That is exactly what this group did on the grounds of scenic Camp Sumatanga on Saturday, December 8. Camp Environmental Education Director, Helena Huber-Wambles did a fantastic job of teaching scat and track identification - and making it fun. She began the outing with a short class on recognizing scat samples from common Alabama animals. Then outings leader Joe Copeland led the group on a 4 – 5 mile outing around Camp Sumatanga’s beautiful scenic lake at the foot of Chandler Mountain. The group exercised their new knowledge in findingscat and tracks from beaver, otter, blue heron, goose, deer, red fox, and coyotes. Many thanks to Helena for her wonderful job of teaching about area animals and the clues that they leave behind and to Joe for leading the outing.

Photo Hike
Well-known Alabama nature photographer, David Haynes accompanied this hike on Sunday, November 11, to give instruction and hints about outdoor photography. About 20 folks brought their cameras to capture the beautiful fall colors at Cloudland Canyon. The group enjoyed a relatively easy 5-mile hike along the rim of the canyon, taking many photo opportunity stops. Photo by David Haynes.

To take part in future fun, check out the outings page!
Don't miss another adventure.

CAHABA GROUP NEWSLETTER, SIERRA CLUB OF ALABAMA

OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER 2007

Can you believe that the Holidays are upon us already?  The merchants havecertainly stepped it up a notch this year.  Hopefully, with the niceweather and beautiful fall colors, you have been able to resist themall and enjoy the outdoors.


OCTOBER GENERAL INTEREST MEETING


Snakes of Alabama
Whatan exciting meeting!  Bob Hastings, former Director ofthe AlabamaNatural Heritage Program, presented his “Dr. Bob’sTraveling SnakeShow”.  And even though the power went off – and stayedoff for almostthe entire meeting, the emergency generators worked – Bob’scomputerbatteries held out for the slide show – and the live snakesperformedbeautifully.  We learned about marking identification, behaviorpatterns and diet of some of Alabama’ssnake population – andgot to meet some of the more gentle members.  Manythanks to Bob forthis wonderful show!
 
<<<<<***>>>>>

Thereare some upcoming events that you should mark on your calenders. Please come out and bring your Holiday Spirit ( and your cameras) withyou !


  • GENERAL INTEREST MEETING, CAHABA GROUP
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 7 PM, BIRMINGHAM ZOO AUDITORIUM

TIM GOTHARD
DIRECTOR OF THE ALABAMA WILDLIFE FEDERATION

Learn about Alabama conservation issues shared by sportsmen and environmentalists alike


  •  Local Foods ChristmasCookbook Potluck
 Tuesday Dec 4, 6:30 PM
Get Acquainted Party – Home of MargoRebar
Manyof you have expressed an interest in our Local FoodsCoalition – buthave had conflicts and not been able to join usyet.  Here is youropportunity to come out for a fun event and get to knowother folks whoare interested in supporting local foods in Birmingham.  One of ourgoals is toprovide community members with recipes using local produce –so thispotluck dinner will get us started on our local foods cookbook. Bring yourfavorite dish made with local produce – or that could be madewith localproduce – and also the recipe.  Later, you’ll receive a“ChristmasCookbook”  with all the recipes.  Thanks to Margo Rebarforoffering her home for this special gathering!
Please “google” the directions for 4625 Dolly Ridge Road, Birmingham 35243or call Margo at 205-970-6500 for directions.
  • SIERRA CLUB CAHABA GROUP CHRISTMAS PARTY !
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 6:00-8:30 PM
BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS, HODGES ROOM

***NOTE***

IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND, PLEASE RSVP BY DECEMBER 11 
to   lois.gail@gmail.com

THIS IS A POT LUCK DINNER EVENT, SO PLEASE INDICATE ON YOUR RSVP
WHAT DISH YOU ARE BRINGING

SIERRA CLUB IS FURNISHING THE DRINKS AND DESSERT !!

*** BRING ALONG YOUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY CDs TO MAKE THE EVENT LIVELY ***

WE WILL BE SETTING UP THE PARTY AND DECORATING BEGINNING AT 5PM THAT EVENING, SO IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE, COME JOIN US.

<<<<<***>>>>
 
OUTINGS YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS !!!

  • SCENIC SUMATANGA SCAT IDENTIFICATION HIKE, DECEMBER 8
MEET AT THE TRUSSVILLE CRACKER BARREL AT 9 AM, SAYS JOE COPELAND, TRIP LEADER

Sat. 12/08. Camp Sumatanga. Scat
Identification Outing. Looking for
Alabama wildlife? The presence of the
right scat is a good sign that you are on
the right trail. Environmental Education
Specialist Helena Uber-Wamble will lead
a fun session on scat identification at
Camp Sumatanga, a lovely Methodist
Camp at the foot of Chandler Mountain
in St. Clair County. Here is Helena’s
description of the outing: “This outing
will take you on a small journey through
the trails of Camp Sumatanga in search
of some very valuable clues of the animals
that dwell there. Join us for an indepth
look at what the creatures are eating
and how to tell who they are by
what they leave behind. Our program is
both in doors and out doors – so dress
in layers. There will be a moderately difficult
hike up the mountain to search for
clues – and to enjoy the scenery. Don’t
forget your camera for when you reach
the top!” This outing is sponsored by the
Building Environmental Communities
campaign. Bring water and lunch – and
wear your hiking boots. Meet at the
Cracker Barrel in Trussville at 9 am. Joe
Copeland, outings leader. For more
information, call 256-538-3885.



  • ZOO LIGHT SAFARI OUTING, BRING THE KIDS !
Sat. 12/15. ZOO LIGHT SAFARI.
6pm. Enjoy a fabulous night of lights,
fun and holiday spirit as the
Birmingham Zoo comes alive for 15
nights! It’s the only place in Birmingham
where it snows every night. Also enjoy a
light show set to all your favorite holiday
tunes! Come, let’s oooh, aaah, together.
Rated: Relaxing. We’ll meet at the Zoo
front entrance at 6 for the Safari --
Afterward we can go for some dinner or
coffee. RSVP Lois via email
lois.gail@gmail.com or phone 873-4075.
***If you want to go on your own the
Safari runs from December 14-23, 26-
30, 5-9 p.m. Zoo Members: FREE Non
members: $7 (includes tax)



DAY HIKE, LITTLE RIVER CANYON PRESERVE
Sat. 12/28. Dayhike Little River
Canyon National Preserve. rated strenuous.
This will be our sixteenth annual
post-Christmas hike at LRNP, and this
year we will descend into the main
canyon along Chinquapin Creek. We
will then walk down the main floor to
the next sidecreek, where we ascend back
to the rim road. There are a number of
high ledges on the two sidecreeks that
we will have to work our way around. In
between, expect steep, rocky terrain
where agility and tenacity will be tested.
Only persons with experience hiking off
trail in canyons such as Pisgah Gorge,
Savage Gulf, South Sauty, Quillen and
Parker Branch should ask me about this
hike. Also, those who sign-up should
wear footgear that can be worn wet.
Leader approval required. Contact
Carroll Wilson at 205-221-6196 or
mountain-man@mindspring.com.

<<<<<***>>>>>

RECENTLY SEEN IN THE NEWS :

STATE EFFORT IN RECYCLING NEEDS RECYCLING ITSELFARTICLEIN THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS BY PAT BYINGTON SAYS WHY CAN'T WE  RECYCLE ANDREDUCE OUR GARBAGE IN ALABAMA LIKE SO MANY OTHER COMMUNITIES AROUND THECOUNTRY?  HIS CONCLUSION IS THAT THERE IS JUST NOT THE POLITICAL WILL.ALABAMA HAS NOT NEARLY MET THE 25% RECYCLING GOAL FROM THE LEGISLATIVERECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 1991 SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN.  WITHOUTPOLICIES THAT REQUIRE WASTE COLLECTORS TO CREATE RECYCLING INCENTIVES,IT WILL NOT HAPPEN.  ALABAMA TOSSES 11.5 BILLION POUNDS OF GARBAGEEVERY DAY, WITH ONLY 8.3 % BEING RECYCLED, MUCH BELOW THE 25% GOAL TOBE MET IN 1991.


  • VESTAVIA HILLS STATION ONE OF 4 TO DISPENSE ALTERNATIVE FUELS IN 2008
ASHELL STATION OFF HIGHWAY 65 IN VESTAVIA WILL BE ONE OF 4 IN ALABAMAWHICH WILL CARRY ETHANOL  OR BIODIESEL FUEL MIXES WITH HELP FROM A$312,000 GRANT.  THE GRANT WILL COVER THE COST OF INSTALLING THETANKS.  WATCH FOR THIS STATION OFF THE I-65 EXIT.

  • USED COOKING OIL TO BE CONVERTED TO FUEL IN HOOVER
ACCORDINGTO A NOVEMBER 1 ARTICLE IN THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS, HOOVER WILL BEGINCOLLECTING COOKING OIL FROM RESIDENCES AS WELL AS RESTAURANTS TOCONVERT TO BIODIESEL.  THE FUEL WILL BE USED TO POWER TROLLEYS USEDWITHIN THE CITY.  THIS COLLECTION WILL KEEP OIL FROM BEING DISPOSED OFINTO THE SEWERS.  THE CITY IS GIVING OUT CONTAINERS TO HOLD THE OIL.

  • SITE PREPARATION HAS BEGUN FOR THE BASS PRO SHOP, LEEDS
THEBIRMINGHAM NEWS REPORTS THAT SITE PREPARATION HAS BEGUN FOR THE BASSPRO SHOP IN LEEDS.  SITE PREP CAUSED EROSION  PROBLEMS IN MOBILE.  (SIERRA CLUB HAS URGED CONTROLS BE IN PLACE TO CONTROL RUN-OFF).

Remember to send in articles, photos and happenings  to the Newsletter !!


HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON 

AND COME CELEBRATE WITH US AT OUR 

CHRISTMAS PARTY !

-THE EDITOR

September News:

WELCOME BACK, READERS !

This electronic version of the newsletter has arrived in your email box because you let other members of the Cahaba Group know that it was sorely missed.  Thank you, one and all, for speaking up !  This is your newsletter, meant for all of you to use to stay in touch with each other and move the club forward. 

That being the case, I know you will all submit details of upcoming activities and outings,  projects and committee reports,  local happenings and events...in other words, anything that we would all like to be in the know about.

So let's hear from you !  The deadline for this newsletter is the same as for submissions for the State Newsletter.  So if you have information which you wish to post here, please get it to me by the 10th of the month for that edition.  I will 'copy and paste' your information, so please have it in a format suitable for this type of  transfer.
W
-THE EDITOR

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UPCOMING ACTIVITIES,  SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER:
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THESE SUPER EVENTS !!!

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 7:00PM
    BIRMINGHAM LOCAL FOODS MEETING, ORGANIZER PEGGY GRIFFIN
    BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS, HODGES ROOM, FIRST FLOOR
    THIS IMPORTANT MEETING WILL KICK OFF THE WORK OF THE BIRMINGHAM
    LOCAL FOODS GROUP.  HEAR ABOUT SIERRA CLUB'S SUSTAINABLE    AGRICULTURE WORK.  CONTACT PEGGY FOR FURTHER INFORMATION (SEE    HER EMAIL ADDRESS ABOVE).

SEPTEMBER 25, 7PM
    BIRMINGHAM ZOO AUDITORIUM
    MONTHLY GENERAL INTEREST MEETING.  OUR SPEAKER WILL BE...

WEEKEND,  SEPTEMBER 28-30
    FISHING EXPEDITION, CAMP MCDOWELL
    COME TO THIS RETREAT AND ENJOY FISHING AND FELLOWSHIP !
    REGISTRATION REQUIRED.  COST $35  GO TO www.alabamasierraclub.org
    FOR REGISTRATION INFORMATION.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 14, 10-6
    ALABAMA'S HERITAGE - WILD AND RURAL ART SHOW
    SPRINGVILLE, AL,  BLACKWOOD GALLERY
    A CREATIVE CELEBRATION OF THE WILD DIVERSITY OF ALABAMA. 
    30 NOTABLE WILDLIFE ARTISTS DISPLAYING IN A UNIQUE INVIRONMENT.
    GO TO www.alabama.sierraclub.org TO LEARN MORE !

WEEKEND, OCTOBER 19-21
    ALABAMA SIERRA CLUB RETREAT, COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI
    KICK OFF SPEAKER ON SATURDAY MORNING: DR. JOHN IKERD, UNIVERSITY
    OF MISSOURI, AGRICULTURE ECONOMIST.  DR IKERD IS A NOTED SPEAKER     NATION-WIDE ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SMALL FAMILY FARMS.  COME JOIN
    EVERYONE FOR OTHER PROGRAMS, HIKES, SWIMS, FUN ACTIVITIES. GO TO
    www.alabama.sierraclub.org FOR REGISTRATION INFORMATION.

AND WAY AHEAD, BUT MOST IMPORTANT :
THE CAHABA GROUP CHRISTMAS PARTY !
DECEMBER 18. 6-9PM

    BIRMINGHAM BOTANICAL GARDENS, HODGES ROOM
    THIS IS A LOVELY LOCATION FOR A TERRIFIC HOLIDAY CELEBRATION!
    WE EVEN HAVE A PATIO FOR THE NIGHT.
    WE ARE LOOKING FOR IDEAS THE FOOD ( POTLUCK OR OTHERWISE?),              MUSIC  AND DECORATIONS.  OK, ALL YOU PARTY PEOPLE, LET'S HEAR              FROM YOU !

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UPCOMING OUTINGS ***

YES, THE WEATHER IS SMILING ON US AGAIN AND WE SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT HITTING THE CREEKS AND TRAILS ABOUT NOW.

October 6th (Saturday)
Ruffner Mountain

Ruffner Mountain is Birmingham’s natural oasis. It is a 1,011-acre nature preserve in the heart of the city. This will be a 5.5 mile, moderate hike with 1,000-ft elevation gain. The trails we will hike are the Five Mile Trail (only 3.8 miles long), the Quarry Loop (1.2 miles), and the Ridge Trail (1.4 miles). Thick forested areas, cool flowing streams, scenic overlooks and a quarry with fossil remains of ancient sea life are but a few of the characteristics of these trails.
Meet at Ruffner Mt. Nature Center at 9 am and estimated trail time will be @ 4 hours. Directions: From Shelby Co. take I-65 north to I-20. Turn right and take I-20 east. Take the Oporto-Madrid Blvd. exit (#132). Turn left onto Oporto-Madrid Blvd. Go to Rugby Ave. and turn right. Go to 81st Street and turn right. A small brown sign marks the entrance of RMNC. For more, Call Sonja at 205-556-3330 or smath2casa@aol.com

October 19-21, 2007
Annual Chapter Meeting

Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway just outside Columbus, MS
Plymouth Bluff Center is located in a secluded area on a high bluff overlooking the waterway. There are 4 miles of walking trails on site as well as canoeing on a small pond. Nearby parks offer more hiking, boating, biking, fishing, golfing and birding opportunities.A Star Gazing Session is planned for Friday night and A number of other outings are also being planned. Register on line or using the form in the newsletter.

October 26-28, 2007 (Fri.-Sun.)
Hike Mt. LeConte elevation 6593ft.

A trip up to the Smokies to hike Mt. LeConte. We will drive up to the park on Friday and car camp at Elkmont campgrounds. Saturday morning we will rise and hike the Blvd trail (the easiest of all the routes) to the top up to Mt. LeConte, enjoying the fall colors and fragrant smells of the spruce and fir trees. The hike is approximately 8.5 miles with an elevation gain of about 1500ft. Sat. night we’ll cook our own dinner, visit the lodge on top of LeConte and enjoy a fall night gazing at the stars. We will then settle down and sleep at the AT shelter on top of LeConte. We can use the bathrooms and the water source at the lodge. On Sunday morning we will hike back down, pack up the cars and head home.
Trip is limited to eight people and all participants must be leader approved.
If interested let me know soon as we have to do some trip planning i.e. make reservations, plan menus, etc. Contact: Jim Binnings: 205-746-3266 or jbinnings@bellsouth.net.

THANK YOU TO JIM AND lOIS, AND MOST OF ALL, THE LEADERS OF THESE OUTINGS!
****************************

Meet the Authors

Sunday,September 30th, 02:30 pm - 04:00 pm

Dr. Doug Phillips, Ecologist-Educator, DiscoveringAlabama, APT
Roger Reid,Co-Writer/Producer, Discovering Alabama, APT

Location: Ireland Room
Free Event, but registrationrequired by Friday, September 28
Members of BBG and the general public are in for a special treat at BBG!Season after season you have enjoyed Dr. Doug Phillips and his faithful dog
Turkey on Emmynominated Discovering Alabama series on Alabama Public Television. They havehiked through Alabama woodlands,exploring our state’s highest peak to our southern gulf coast. Dr. Dougand Roger Reid, co-writer and producer of Discovering Alabama will be makingtwo presentations for your afternoon pleasure: Adventure Just Outside and Discovering Alabama Forests. This is ourchance to get up close and personal with two amazing authors. Following theirpresentations, each will be signing their recently published books. Bring yourcopy for a book signing or purchase your books at BBG during the event. You mayalso check out Discovering Alabama DVDs and videos from our BBG Library. Seetheir website at www. discoveringalabama.org. If thereis enough interest we can meet as a group and go together. For more detailscontact Jim Binnings 205-746-3266 or jbinnings@bellsouth.net

********************************

ANNOUNCEMENTS
JOHN WALKER, MEMBERSHIP CO-CHAIR, ASKS THAT ONE AND ALL PLEASE REMEMBER TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIPS, IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO. ALSO, IF YOU HAVE BEEN COPIED ON THIS EMAIL AND ARE NOT YET A MEMBER, COME JOIN US.  JOINING IS EASY...I DID IT BY SIMPLY GOOGLING 'SIERRA CLUB' AND THERE WAS THE MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION.  ONE ADVANTAGE TO MEMBERSHIP IS A NICE DISCOUNT AT ALABAMA OUTDOORS, AND THE SIERRA MAGAZINE ALONE IS WORTH THE MEMBERSHIP.

*********************************
<>

ENVIRONMENTAL HAPPENINGS IN THE NEWS

SEPTEMBER 1, BIRMINGHAM NEWS:
BELTLINE PLANS UPSET ENVIRONMENTALISTS

THE METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION IS SCHEDULED TO APPROVE THE ALDOT'S 3 YEAR TRANSPORTATION PLAN FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE NORTHERN BELTLINE. AN ENVIRONMENTAL DOCUMENT HAS NOT BEEN DONE FOR THE ENTIRE BELTLINE.  ACTIVISTS DO NOT WANT TO BLOCK THE BELTLINE, BUT DO WANT TO HAVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES WELL REVIEWED AND THAT THERE BE A MINIMAL IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT.

<>

SEPTEMBER 5,  BIRMINGHAM NEWS:
RIVER GROUPS SUE 2 COMPANIES

BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER,INC FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST 2 ALABAMA COMPANIES, CLAIMING THAT THE COMPANIES HAVE POLLUTED WATERWAYS.  THOSE COMPANIES ARE ALABAMA BIODIESEL CORP. OF MOUNDVILLE AND METRO RECYCLING, INC WHICH RECYCLES RUBBER TIRES IN BLOUNT COUNTY. FRIENDS OF THE lOCUST FORK JOINED BLACK WARRIOR IN THIS SUIT. BOTH LAWSUITS ASKTHE JUDGE TO FIND THE COMPANIES IN VIOLATION OF THE FEDERAL AND ALABAMA WATER POLLUTION CONTROL ACTS.


SEPTEMBER 6, BIRMINGHAM NEWS:
GROUPS SUE TO PREVENT DAM ON DUCK RIVER

THE DUCK RIVER IS ONE OF ALABAMA'S UNDAMMED RIVERS.  THE DAM IS PLANNED ON THE RIVER NEAR CULLMAN.  GROUPS SUING THE US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS ARE THE ALABAMA RIVERS ALLIANCE, BLACK WARRIOR RIVERKEEPER, FRIENDS OF MULBERRY FORK RIVER AND WILD SOUTH, ALONG WITH RIVER USERS NELSON BROOKE, JAMES ROBERTSON AND PAUL PERRET.

DO YOU KNOW OF NEWS WHICH SHOULD BE SHARED? ...PLEASE SEND IT TO THE EDITOR.
**************************
RECENT CAHABA GROUP NOTABLE EVENTS

GENERAL INTEREST MEETING, AUGUST 2007
SPEAKER: SALLY ALLOCA, PEER

SALLY ALLOCCA BRINGS NEWS OF LOCAL FOODS OUTREACH IN EAST LAKE
at August Cahaba Group Meeting


The Cahaba Group Local Foods project members have been working to become more aware of local foods projects in the Birmingham area.  On Tuesday evening, August 21, we learned about an exciting community development program in East Lake – called PEER, Promoting Empowerment and Enrichment Resources.

The Reverend Sally Allocca, PEER Director and East Lake Methodist Church minister was the speaker for the meeting.  She shared her enthusiasm with us about this program that seeks to sponsor community health events, partners with other service organizations to increase citizen access to services, and promotes community economic development.

Local foods outreach is an important part of all three of these goals.  PEER sponsors the East Lake Farmers Market, bringing together farmers who need a market for the produce and citizens who need accessible local food.  In an effort to empower people to produce their own food, PEER also sponsors community gardens in the East Lake area.  An exciting new service is the Market Basket program, which makes low-cost farmers’  market baskets available.  The baskets contain a variety of fresh seasonal produce, recipes, and occasional specialty items such as honey or pastries.

We all left the meeting with a plan to visit the East Lake Farmers’ Market.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
JONES VALLEY URBAN FARM, PARK PLACE, BIRMINGHAM

SPEAKER: EDWIN MARTY, DIRECTOR, JONES VALLEY URBAN FARMS
JONES VALLEY URBAN FARMS HOSTED A TOUR OF THEIR FACILITY FOR 20 INTERESTED FOOD ENTHUSIASTS FROM THE BIRMINGHAM AREA.  THE FARM IS LOCATED ON RECLAIMED LAND RIGHT IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN.  EDWIN MARTY, DIRECTOR, GAVE AN UNFORGETTABLE PRESENTATION TO THE ENTHUSIASTIC GROUP, WHICH WAS A MIX OF SIERRA CLUB MEMBERS AND NON-MEMBERS.  THE BIRMINGHAM LOCAL FOODS COALITION IS A NEW PROJECT OF THE SIERRA CLUB WITH A FOCUS ON BRINGING SUPPORT TO SMALL FAMILY FARMERS.  ONE OF THE FIRST GOALS OF THE GROUP IS TO BECOME FAMILIAR WITH PROGRAMS ALREADY TAKING PLACE IN THE VICINITY.  AND BREAKFAST OF MUFFINS AND JUICE WAS A CROWD PLEASER.  SEE THE PHOTOS OF EDWIN AND PEGGY.

***************************
UPCOMING PROJECTS

COOL CITIES PROGRESS !
JOHN LATHAM, CAHABA CONSERVATION CHAIR REPORTED ON COMMITTEE PLANS AT THE AUGUST GENERAL INTEREST MEETING CONCERNING THE COOL CITIES CAHABA INITIATIVE.  THE COMMITTEE HAS SETTLED ON THE MAYOR AND CITY WE WILL FIRST ATTEMPT.  JOHN HAS A GOOD STRATEGY FOR HOW TO MAKE THE OPTIMUM APPROACH.  GO, JOHN ! (see more about cool cities here)
*************************
That about wraps up the first newsletter.  What do you think?
We want this communication to be informative and stimulating.  It can be better each month with your contributions, so please send them along.  And why not some jokes, folks?  Or recipes, photos, etc.

The Editor wishes to thank Peggy Griffin, Lois Lambert and Jim Binnings for their terrific contributions.  Can't do it without you guys !

-THE EDITOR

Make Our Cities Cool Cities

The Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club has developed some materials to help you--yes YOU--talk to your mayor about Cool Cities, the Sierra Club program designed to encourage communities around the U.S. adopt better policies relating to global warming. Information is coming out in the July issue of the Alabama Sierran, but you can get a head start on all the other groups by downloading the information and getting started TODAY. Just visit the following site and download the information. You'll be moving Alabama toward Cooler Cities in no time!

http://alabama.sierraclub.org/coolcities/

Annual Chapter Meeting Scheduled for October 19-21, 2007

The annual chapter retreat will be held jointly this year with the Mississippi Chapter at Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway just outside Columbus, MS. This is approximately 1 hour west of Tuscaloosa, just across the stateline. The weekend of Oct 19-21 will be filled with interesting speakers from both states, covering a variety of topics. A number of outings are also being planned. There will be ample time to network with various Sierra leaders and to form new alliances with groups working on similar issues on the other side of the state line. A star gazing session is planned for Friday night and attempts are being made to have our meals prepared using locally and sustainably grown foods--a long term project of the Alabama Chapter.

Plymouth Bluff Center is located in a secluded area on a high bluff overlooking the waterway. There are 4 miles of walking trails on site as well as canoeing on a small pond. Nearby parks offer more hiking, boating, biking, fishing, golfing and birding opportunities. The city of Columbus, as well as nearby Starkville, are both known for antiquing and their historical antebellum homes.

Motel type lodging and campingwill be available at Plymouth Bluff. Other lodging options are also available in Columbus, less than 10 minutes away. The conference building offers a number of rooms of varying size for different presentations. Some presentations may be made at the outdoor amphitheater or teaching pavilion if the weather cooperates. Registration information should be available next month.

News Archive--click here.