March 2010

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. 

Alabama Sierra Club, Sierra Club H2O Sentinels, Birmingham Audubon Society and McDowell Environmental Center are offering the perfect solution to this conundrum this summer.  The Growing Roots: Connecting Educators and their Children to Nature workshop will beheld June 21-23, 2009 at Camp McDowell near the Bankhead National Forest.  Because of the grants from Sierra Club, the cost for participants of the workshop is only $50 per family.  This includes 2 nights lodging and meals. 

The workshop will allow a limited number of educators to bring their own child or grandchild on a once in a lifetime journey that will include hikes to learn edible and medicinal plants, birding opportunities, geology lessons and fossil digs at the Minkin Paleozoic Trackway.  Participants will combine nature and art through mosaics.  Trips to wade and swim in beautiful Clear Creek will include lessons on the invertebrates and fish that live in our local Alabama waters. 

All of this adventure and learning is set against the backdrop of the beauty of Camp McDowell’s 1100 acres of forests, sandstone canyons, streams and waterfalls.  And what an amazing way to inspire teachers to go back into their classrooms and get students enthused about Nature!  They will see that spark of excitement in their own child, and want to share it with all their hundreds of students. 

For more information, go to the McDowell Environmental Center webpage at You can also download a registration form there. You may also email Maggie Wade Johnston, Director of McDowell Environmental Center, at or call 205-387-1806.