in this issue

March on the Farm
Road Bill
Group News
Outings and Events
Newly Elected ExCom

Mobile Bay Loses Over 1300 Acres of Seagrasses

According to aerial surveys conducted by the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Alabama lost 1371 acres of seagrasses between 2002 and 2009. That leaves the state with 5,248 acres of underwater vegetation, about 66 percent of it in the Mobile -Tensaw Delta. Check out the entire Mobile Press-Register story here:
http://blog.al.com/

Smart Coast & the Bay Bears Host Sustainability Session

On February 23rd (Noon to 2:00) Smart Coast and the Mobile Bay Bears Baseball team will be hosting the "3Es of Sustainability Green Initiatives Session. Visit http://www.smartcoast.org for registration details.

Alabama Hiking Annual Conference

The Alabama Hiking Trails Society will be holding their 8th Annual conference on March 19-21 at Camp McDowell. For details, visit http://www.hikealabama.org

Southern Environmental Law Center Names Black Warrior River "Endangered Place" in 2010

The Southern Environmental Center has released their annual report on the South's "Endangered Places." This year Alabama's Black Warrior River made the group's 2010 "Endangered" list. Here is a link to the SELC list: www.southernenvironment.org

Forever Wild Adds Two New Tracts in Barbour County and Tallapoosa River

According to recent Department of Conservation press releases, Forever Wild has completed the purchase of more than 6800 acres in Barbour County and along the Tallapoosa River. Here is a description of the two newest additions to the Forever Wild Program:
www.outdoorsalabama.com
/www.outdoorsalabama.com/news

from www.bamanews.com

March 2010

2010 Off to a Bang With New Officers and a Visit from Allison Chin, President of the National Sierra Club

The Coosa Valley Group of the Sierra Club hosted the winter meeting of the Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club Executive Committee the weekend of February 5 – 7, with up to 22 people in attendance.  The Executive Committee was pleased to have Allison Chin, President of the National Sierra Club, as a guest at the meeting.  Allison spoke to the group about activism at the grassroots level. 

The Executive Committee elected Steve Garrison (seen at left presiding at the Winter meeting) from the Coosa Valley Group as the new state chair. Steve has a BS in Economics and obtained his Masters Degree in Psychology at Jacksonville State University in 1993.  He has had a lengthy career in the computer industry – at first working for major corporations and then forming his own company, Alexandria Computers in 1995.

Mr. Garrison is a founding member of the Coosa Valley Sierra Club and occupies the positions of Treasurer and Vice Chair in that group.  In January, he gave a popular presentation for the group on “Recycle Computers by Making Sick PC’s as Good as New.”

“Water quality is my environmental hot button,” commented Steve.  He is a member of Alabama Water Watch, and he has recently gone back to school to take a water chemistry and aquaculture course at Gadsden State Community College. more>>>

Thank You, John

John AckermanOn behalf of the Alabama Chapter Executive Committee, we would like to thank John Ackerman for his dedicated service to the club for the past several years, and especially for his service as ExCom Chair for the past two years. We will miss John’s leadership.

However, he has also been Chair of the Montgomery Group for the last four years, and will continue in that position. (We should also acknowledge the dedicated service of his capable assistant, and spouse, Kim! Thanks, Kim).

John has also been a member of the Sierra Club's Global Warming Committee and has been active in the Sierra Club's "Climate Recovery Campaign". He has given several presentations to local elected officials on climate change and the Cool Cities campaign. In addition, John is an elected board member of the Alabama River Alliance.

John holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Alabama and a Master's Degree in Political Science, Military Operational Art and Science, and Information Systems Management, and serves as an Assistant Professor of National and International Security Studies at the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), Maxwell Air Force Base. He has successfully merged his professional expertise with his passion for environmental protection to become an expert on global climate change and the relationship between sustainability, security, and democracy. He has authored numerous articles and lectures on the nexus between the environment and national security.

We wish you the best, John and Kim, in all future endeavors.

Bob Hastings and David Norwood (and the rest of us here in Alabama!)

Maggie’s Meanderings! Growing Roots Workshop: Connecting Educators and their Children to Nature

Alabama Sierra Club steps up again to support Environmental Education in our state. For the Fifth year, the Executive Committee voted to help sponsor the 2010 Growing Roots Workshop: Connecting Educators and Their Children to Nature. This sends a powerful message to not only the members of Alabama Sierra Club, but also the community at large, that the Sierra Club is serious about making the world a better place. Education is the key to a better future.

Today, we hear so much about “Nature Deficient Disorder” in children, but in actuality, many people are suffering from this in one way or another.   We rarely take long walks in the woods or linger by a stream to watch for wildlife.  Few people today are comfortable enough in the woods to even consider taking their own family on a Nature adventure. more>>>

Learn More About Forever Wild

Got questions about Forever Wild? Take a look at this pdf about the program: Forever Wild 1992-2009 - A colorful and information packed 40 page document about the Forever Wild Program
http://www.outdoorsalabama.com/public-lands/stateLands/foreverWild/ForeverWildReport.pdf

National Club Election Coming This Spring

The annual election for the Club's Board of Directors is upon us. In March, those eligible to vote in the national Sierra Club election will receive in the mail (or by Internet for those who chose the electronic delivery option) your national Sierra Club ballot. This will include information on the candidates and where you can find additional information on the Club's website.

The Sierra Club is a democratically structured organization at all levels. The Club requires the regular flow of views on policy and priorities from its grassroots membership in order to function well. Yearly participation in elections at all Club levels is a major membership obligation. Your Board of Directors is required to stand for election by the membership. This Board sets Club policy and budgets at the national level and works closely with the Executive Director and staff to operate the Club. Voting for candidates who express your views on how the Club should grow and change is both a privilege and responsibility of membership.

Members frequently state that they don't know the candidates and find it difficult to vote without learning more. You can learn more by asking questions of your group and chapter leadership and other experienced members you know. Also, you can learn more by visiting the Club's election website at: http://www.sierraclub.org/bod/2010election/default.aspx. This site provides links to additional information about candidates, and their views on a variety of issues facing the Club and the environment.

You should use your own judgment by taking several minutes to read the ballot statement of each candidate. Then make your choice and cast your vote. Even if you receive your election materials in the mail, please go to the user-friendly Internet voting site to save time and postage. Alternatively, you will find the ballot is quite straightforward and easy to mark and mail.

Please watch for your ballot, and vote. Thank you.

Bills Propose Alabama Trails Commission

Companion bills filed in the Alabama legislature (SB 258, HB 376) would create an Alabama Trails Commission to foster widespread development and link-up of green and blue-water trails throughout the state. Focused on health, family, economic and tourism incentives, the bills call for the proposed commission to coordinate local needs, goals and leadership in trail design, operation, build-up and maintenance for hiking, biking, running, horseback riding, motorized off-highway vehicles, and water sport. An initiative of the Alabama Recreational Trails Advisory Board (ARTAB), the plan was moved forward by Senator Wendell Mitchell (Luverne) and Representative Cam Ward (Alabaster). Both legislators have long histories in the outdoor recreation communities. An ARTAB committee chaired by Fairhope City Council member Debbie Quinn led in the plan’s preparation. Under the proposed legislation, there would be a twelve member Alabama Trails Commission. Five state agencies would be members: Alabama Department of Transportation, Alabama Department of Conservation and National Resources, Alabama Tourism Department, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Governor’s Office. Other board members would represent trail users, local government and the business community. The legislation also calls for an Alabama Trails Commission Advisory Board and a tax-deductible non-profit foundation to advance the Trail Commission’s goals by fund raising and supporting recreation in education.

For more information, contact Debbie Quinn, of the Alabama Recreational Trails Advisory Board.
Phone (251) 751-1858, debbiequinn@bellsouth.net

Outings

Don't miss a chance to really get outside, meet like-minded folks and reconnect with old friends. Come join us on the trail, in the water or just out for a stroll down the street! more>>>

Living Lightly On the Earth 2010 Alabama Sierra Club Retreat

Hosted by Coosa Valley Group
Desoto State Park Nov. 5 – 7
Exciting programs and activities! Some meals will feature local foods.
Retreat registration and lodging will be Separate – watch mail & website Alabamasierraclub.org for form.
Limited Space – make lodging reservations by calling 1-800-568-8840 Double rooms $76/night Chalets and cabins (sleep 4) $128/night Camping also available.

March on the Farm

Small Goat: 7 Paths Farmby Peggie Griffin
What a winter! How exciting that spring is just around the corner! Get those seed ordered and those hoes sharpened! I can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt again!

When the hands get dirty, one also needs a good soap! One of the luxuries I allow myself is hand-made soap. Today as I was noticing that my soap supply is low – I remembered that I haven’t written about the farm from whom I purchase wonderful soaps.

Farm of the Month: 7 Paths Farm: 7 Paths Farm is a Certified Natural Grown farm in Lincoln, Alabama. The farmer, LaVona Mickler, works with her three children to make the farm diversified and to try to preserve some of the diversity of the wildlife around her.

more>>>

Notes from Around Alabama's Sierra Club Groups

North Alabama Notes: Backpack in the Sipsey Wilderness. I had a good backpack last weekend at the Sipsey Wilderness. Four other brave souls came with me to spend the night near Shiprock. Saturday we explored the Shiprock area and then had a nice fire and supper. Sunday morning about 2:00am the flood came and by 6:00am Thompson Creek had risen about 3ft. I was high and dry in my hammock and slept well through all the thunder and lightning. We hiked out in the rain and walked through several swollen creeks. Good times! more>>>