A Few Words from the Chair
On a recent glorious winter Sunday afternoon, my husband and I walked in the woods of the newest outdoor recreational area in Birmingham – Red Mountain Park. Even though these hills and hollows were cleared of trees and extensively mined for iron ore into the 1950's, the beauty of Alabama's natural areas expresses itself. Thanks to the efforts of so many people who have worked tirelessly to establish protection for "wild" places, to build and maintain public trails, and to promote and lead hiking and exploring opportunities for everyone. The groups within the Alabama Sierra Club are taking a lead whether it is night hikes in Huntsville, maintaining the Pinhoti Trail, canoeing in support of Alabama Rivers Day, visiting Noccalula Falls, or exploring the Gulf. A special thanks to our outing leaders for taking us outdoors.
In January, as the outcome of your votes, we installed two new members to our Executive Committee and continued the terms of two others, for a total of eight elected-at-large members. One of the functions of the ExCom is to establish a budget for the year, at which time we consider requests for funding. As approved at our January meeting, our 2014 budget approaches $58,000, assuming all items budgeted use all funds allocated (which is not always the case).
Where will the money go?
- Preparing the newsletter
- Printing and mailing our annual ballot (each November) and March Appeal (coming next month to your mailbox!)
- Travel to attend national Sierra Club trainings sessions and other conferences for members
- Mobile Bay Coastal Clean-up (an ongoing massive, continuous effort ever since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill)
- Hosting symposia in coordination with Alabama Rivers Alliance to educate stakeholders (you) about the need for and development of a comprehensive water plan for the state
- Sponsoring college students to attend a Sierra Club program to train environmental activists (a big part of our future)
- Supporting water festivals in various parts of the state (a full day of learning about our water resources for fourth graders)
- Support for our annual all-members-invited get-together (also known as our annual retreat)
- Support for research on fishermen and pollution levels in fish in the Coosa River
- Support for group activities: educational programs, canoe trips for kids, earth day events, reusable bags, and other items
Check out what your local group is doing and take advantage of the educational, recreational, and volunteer service activities available through your membership in Sierra Club.
Chair of the Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club
ICO Meets Turkey Creek and Adam
Adam with some of the ICO hikers and football players
The Birmingham Inner City Outings (ICO) program has been taking youth from various Birmingham organizations on trips into the woods and streams since 1997 following the Sierra Club mission: explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.
On a cool January Saturday, the ICO participants explored and enjoyed the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve (near Center Point) learning a little more about trees, water, each other, and the importance of preserving natural areas such as this beautiful stretch of the Turkey Creek and the surrounding wooded valleys and hills.
After a rigorous hike (rigorous for youth who are not used to being outdoors and hiking) and a pleasant picnic lunch on the banks of Turkey Creek, the group traveled to a park in Center Point. Any weariness from the hike quickly disappeared as teams were selected, boundaries set, and the two-hand touch football game began. Adam Johnston captained one team, James the other, with rules evolving as the game progressed, ending when the score of the winning team reached 42 points.
For the past twelve years, the ICO program has been led by Margo Rebar, and as much as she enjoys the role and children, it is now time to transfer the program to a younger, better pick-up football player than she. So during the next few months, Adam Johnston will be "in training" to continue the program.
Meet the ExCom
Our Chapter Board is composed of eight elected-at-large members and six Chapter Delegates (one from each group). This ExCom meets four times a year to discuss the business of the Chapter which includes budgeting, supporting the groups, responding to environmental issues in the state, speaking out about our need for enforcement of the clean water and air regulations, and addressing other concerns so that future generations of Alabamians will live in a healthier environment.
|ExCom: At-large members Bob Hastings,
Carol Adams-Davis, Adam Johnston, Charlie Cohen, Margo Rebar, Lucina Horner, Ken Hyche,
and David Norwood (not pictured)
Roe Hyche, Dick Short, Peggie Hamner, and Peggie Griffin
From the Political Chair: Forest Service Proposes Closing Lake Chinnabee Campground to Overnight Camping
by Glynn Wilson--The Alabama Sierra Club is protesting the state leadership of the U.S. Forest Service with an official letter opposing a proposal to close the Lake Chinnabee Campground in the Talladega National Forest and only allow Day Use in one of the best, most beautiful primitive campgrounds in the state and the country.
The Locust ForkNews-Journal broke the story on the decision back in November after visiting the area one more time to obtain photographs and video footage of a campground the Forest Service says is not worth repairing and reopening after a 100-year flood event caused minor damage in May.
As a result of that visit — on a Saturday in the Autumn leaf color season when the Pinhoti 100 hiking racers were passing through and many families were visiting the area from Anniston, Oxford, Birmingham and other points north and south — the U.S. Forest Service issued a certified ticket to editor and publisher Glynn Wilson demanding $125 for “entering an area posted closed under a valid closure order,” even though there were also signs posted indicating “Walk-In Use Invited.”
North Alabama Members Sweep Chapter Awards
A number of members of the North Alabama group won awards at the state chapter. Congratulations to you! It was a difficult decision as all our leaders are outstanding, giving so much of their time and energy, but these members deserve special mention:
- Doug Horacek - Volunteer of the Year
- Tom Burley - Outdoorsman of the Year
- Judy Burley - Outdoor Leader of the Year
- Alan Greene - Outdoor Leader of the Year
- Rick Gates - Outdoor Leader of the Year
- Desiree Kiplinger - Children's Programs
We’re lucky to have so many great leaders in our group!
- Sandy Kiplinger
Public Lecture: The Attacking Ocean: Rising Sea Levels, Sea Surges, & Humanity
Dr. Brian Faganm, Thursday February 6th.
The Archaeology Museum and Jaguar Productions at the University of South Alabama are pleased to welcome Dr. Brian Fagan, one of the world’s leading archaeological and historical writers, to campus on Thursday February 6th. Dr. Fagan will be delivering a free public lecture The Attacking Ocean: Rising Sea Levels, Sea Surges, and Humanity at Laidlaw Performing Arts Center, on USA’s main campus at 7:00 PM.
Brian Fagan was born in England and studied archaeology at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was Keeper of Prehistory at the Livingstone Museum, Zambia, from 1959-1965. During six years in Zambia and one in East Africa, he was deeply involved in fieldwork on multidisciplinary African history and in monuments conservation. He came to the United States in 1966 and was Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from 1967 to 2003, when he became Emeritus.
This event is co-sponsored by the Mobile Bay Sierra Club. Be sure to come out and learn! (download the full announcement here)