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Note: Contributions, gifts, and dues to the Sierra Club-Alabama Chapter are not tax deductible. They support our effective, citizen-based advocacy and lobbying efforts here in Alabama. Thank you in advance for supporting the Sierra Club's conservation programs in Alabama.

Alabama's Birding Trails Unveils New Smart Phone Apps

The “Birding AL” app, developed for the Alabama Tourism Department by students at the University of Alabama, showcases Alabama’s best birding locations, from the top of Alabama’s highest point to the tip of Dauphin Island. With over 430 bird species documented in Alabama, there’s more to see here than you can imagine.

Watching a Bald Eagle feeding babies in the nest near Guntersville State Park? Check! Sitting quietly as dozens of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks literally crash-land into the nearest tree on Dauphin Island. Absolutely! These are just two of the locations along this series of 8 trails and 270 stops, including nearly 60 sites in the Alabama Mountain Lakes region. To learn more about Alabama’s birding trails, visit Alabama Birding Trails on the web and download the Android and Iphone apps here.

With these apps, you'll be able to find the 10 sites nearest you, locate nearby hotels, restaurants, gas and lodging and discover a whole new natural Alabama.

Toxic City: Birmingham's Dirty Secret Encore Presentation.

On June 12, "Toxic City: Birmingham's Dirty Secret" premiered before several hundred guests at the Carver Theatre. The film received a standing ovation and the passionate panel discussion that followed went an hour longer than planned. Two of the things I keep hearing over and over again is, "When is the next showing?" and "Is the film available for sale?"

Well, because of the overwhelming response to the heartbreaking 26-minute documentary, I am pleased to announce that GASP is hosting an encore presentation of "Toxic City" at Trim Tab Brewing Co. on Monday, July 21 at 6 p.m. Tickets are just $5 and go directly to GASP. Click here for more details.

I am also excited to share with you that "Toxic City" will indeed be available for purchase in August. You will be able to purchase DVDs of the film, or a complete "Toxic City" Screening Kit, which will include a discussion guide for you to host your own event at your church, home, community center, library or other venue. We look forward to working with you to spread the word and raise awareness about the devastating effects of toxic pollution.

For healthy air,

Michael Hansen
Communications Director



Many thanks to Roe Hyche, Bob Hastings, Lucina Horner, and Peggie Griffin for agreeing to be the new newsletter committee.

The newsletter is put together monthly, and material for the newsletter should be sent to, with a subject line of "For the Editorial Board" no later than the 15th of the month.

Group newsletter editors may continue sending group meeting information and calendars of events to Joe Watts at, no later than the 25th of each month.

Guidelines for Material:

Join the Alabama Chapter on facebook! (just click the logo below to join the group page)

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Save the date! The Cahaba River Society's 5th Annual Cahaba River Fry-Down is set for Sunday, September 28, 2014, 12-4pm along a beautiful stretch of the river at Trussville Springs.



July 2014

The 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and Alabama  Wilderness Areas!

On September 3, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Wilderness Act into law – “for the use and enjoyment of the American people.” 

During 2014, as the Wilderness Act turns 50, we’ll reflect on the historic value of this major American cultural and environmental achievement.  Sierra Club, other wilderness groups, and the four federal wilderness managing agencies are organizing a whole year of celebrations to use the golden anniversary to educate a broader public about the concept and benefits of wilderness. 

The 1964 Wilderness Act defines Wilderness as areas where “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man,” with untrammeled meaning left wild and free from human control or manipulation. Wilderness designation provides the strongest and most permanent protection of our laws for Wilderness values such as adventure, solitude, a respite from the pressures of civilization, clean air and water, scenery, wildlife, and scientific understanding of how the natural world works when left alone.

Only Congress can designate wilderness—by law – and it was the voices of Americans that convinced Congress over the past 50 years to expand the initial 9.1 million acres of wilderness set aside in 54 national forest areas in 13 states to about 109 million acres with 757 areas in 44 states -- wild places in national parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, and western lands of the Bureau of Land Management.

The Wilderness Act declared it to be the policy of our nation “to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness”.  On Sierra Club outings, participants can directly enjoy that benefit.  While Sierra Club began long before the Wilderness Act was signed, the basic principles underlying the Act are also the founding principles of the Sierra Club--preserving wild places. And Sierra Club has played a big role in the national wilderness effort from the start.  From 1949 to 1975 the Sierra Club hosted a series of biennial wilderness conferences to determine how best to keep wild places the way they were and worked hard on getting the 1964 bill passed. The Sierra Club outings program has always drawn attention to protected places and places that need to be saved from development. Sierra Club outings leaders are among the most passionate supporters of keeping wild places reserved for nature. During 2014 all Sierra Club outings – whether national, international, Chapter or Group, will highlight wilderness to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. (learn more)

The North Alabama Group Educates the Community: be Prepared!

Wilderness First Aid Training: A successful weekend

Eight miles into a hike, the wind is blowing, the sun will set within the hour, there’s a clap of thunder and lightning is seen in the distance. You and your friends walk into an area where trees have recently fallen. Several people are on the ground. Some are moaning, bleeding. Others are unconscious. Although your cell phone miraculously has a signal, because of the conditions, a rescue attempt cannot be made until the following morning. What? Did I hear you’re not a hiker? Then imagine this. Multiple tornados have just caused extensive damage in Alabama. People are trapped in the wreckage but because it is so widespread, and there are fallen trees, downed power lines and debris, rescuers are delayed or in other areas.

Tom Burley, North Alabama’s and the Chapter’s Outings Chair, a certified Red Cross Instructor, and an Outdoorsman extraordinaire, recently conducted a 20-hour Wilderness and Remote First Aid course that was made available to the Sierra Club membership and the local community. With the assistance of his wife, Judy, Tom began Friday evening with CPR/AED training using resuscitation manikins for hands-on practice. The following morning, Tom and Judy arrived early to the training site so attendees could enjoy coffee, morning snacks and time to socialize. A day of intense learning about lifesaving skills began using slides, video, lecture, multiple examples and more hands-on experience with staged outdoor scenarios. Participants rotated through the roles of leadership, victims and providing feedback. Check-Call-Care became the mantra of the day. Is the scene safe? “You, call 9-1-1! Does he have a pulse?"

Day two was even more intense. A seemingly inexhaustible Tom continued to provide instruction, invite questions, and set up thought provoking situations. The granddad of all scenarios involved multiple ‘victims,’ who were each given a script of ailments and props to simulate a chest wound, a bone protruding through the skin, bleeding from the ear, and more. A group of ‘hikers’ out for a pleasant stroll in the woods were sought out by Judy, who maintained an award winning hysterical performance throughout the ordeal. The ‘victims’ were ‘found,’ the scene determined safe, and newly learned first aid skills applied as the scenario evolved and the unexpected happened. It became an adrenaline pumping moment.

In exchange for one weekend, the participants received a priceless skill set and are prepared.
- Sandy Kiplinger

Oct 31-Nov 2, 2014 Sierra Club Annual Retreat

Reserve the Dates!

Lakepoint State Park
near Eufaula

Environmental Speakers, Hikes, Boating, Fishing
Birding and Wildlife Viewing at
Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge

For more information, contact
David Norwood – 334-315-6081 or

Bob Hastings – 334-324-1071 or

Volunteer to Help with Long-Term City Planning

The City of Huntsville is embarking on a major, 18-month comprehensive master planning initiative that will shape the future of Huntsville for decades. Called the BIG Picture, this will be an extensive planning process that will include the input of citizens along with leaders and experts in the decision making.
The city is seeking volunteers to help with focus groups on topics such as long-term development of the Greenways, transportation in the city and greyfield redevelopment. As part of the BIG Picture process, the city will also be hosting Citizens Academies throughout the city on these topics. The Academies will be open opportunities to learn more about the issues that will be the foundations of the BIG Picture Plan. There will be focus group meetings on transportation and the Greenways in July.
To learn more about the meetings and to volunteer for a focus group, go to Under the link for Vision, you will see further links for the Citizen’s Academies and the Focus Groups. Here is an opportunity to get involved in helping become part of the solution.

September 3, 2014 is the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Since that day fifty years ago, Americans of every stripe—from conservationists and hunters and anglers to community leaders and business owners—have worked together, in collaboration with their members of Congress, to protect America’s common ground. Today, nearly 110 million acres of our nation’s wildest public lands are forever protected as wilderness, and a diverse group of Americans continues to work toward expanding the National Wilderness Preservation System.

This year’s celebration of The Wilderness Act's golden anniversary includes a Wilderness Week from September 13-18 and will include a Washington, D.C.-based Wilderness Week 2014 on September 15-17. Activities will include: an activist gathering to honor our history and discuss the next 50 years of wilderness protection; meetings with congressional leaders; a celebration event and after-hours tour of the Wilderness Forever photography exhibit at the Smithsonian's National History Museum; a lecture by leading American environmental historian William Cronon; and much more.

We are looking forward to participation by advocates from across the nation and hope to see you in September! Look for more information soon and please pass this on to others who are interested in attending Wilderness Week 2014.

– The Wilderness Week 2014 Planning Team

Nicole Layman, The Wilderness Society,
Carrie Sandstedt and Andrew Pike, The Pew Charitable Trusts
Matt Kirby, Sierra Club

Sierra Club Outings

Summer is here! It's time to get out! Take a great hike. Or just enjoy gathering with friends to discuss environmental issues!

Come join us on the trail or just out for a stroll in the city! Great outings and meetings from North Alabama all the way to the Gulf! more>>>