News from National

The Board of Directors has appointed a number of Task Forces to address conservation and organizational policy. Task forces are task- and/or time-limited to provide advice to the Board on focused, specific topics. The recommendations may, in some cases, be in the form of alternatives. Task Forces are volunteer-driven and led. The Board Executive Committee appoints a lead volunteer who will chair the Task Force. The Executive Director appoints a lead staff to participate on the Task Force. The composition of task forces can vary according to need and can include a mix of volunteers along with chapter, regional and national staff. A link to all current task forces may be found here.

Thanks to the efforts of the National Parks Task Force, a new National Parks Policy was recently approved by Board of Directors. Look for Ken Burns' PBS documentary on the history of the national parks starting in September. Burns recognizes the prominent role the Sierra Club has played in that history, a role we can all be proud of. Consider hosting a house party to share a sneak preview of the documentary!

The Natural Gas Fracturing Task Force is soliciting comments on a Draft Unconventional Natural Gas Policy. Reminder that you can read the proposed policy here and comment here. Comment period ends October 12, 2009.

Chapter Funding Allocation and Chapter Fundraising Task Forces will be looking at the discussion forums during the Annual Meeting (above) as a dynamic way to solicit input.


Notes from Around the State

Cahaba Notes

Annual Retreat.
Be sure to check out the State Annual Retreat scheduled for November!

Pinhoti Challenge Hikes are back!
With the weather cooling off again, summer behind us, and the fall leaves turning, we are once again resuming our Pinhoti Challenge hikes.  Normally on the 3rd weekend of each month, we are starting off October right with two hikes – one on the second weekend (10/10) and another on the fourth weekend (10/31)!

Coosa Valley Notes

The Dangers of Roadside Spraying

Addressing groupIn August Ron Sparks, Agriculture Commissioner and candidate for governor, spoke to our group about the dangers of roadside spraying.  Sparks, who encourages sustainable agriculture, spoke about several topics interesting to the group including other initiatives he has implemented or supports: collecting 600,000 pounds of outdated chemicals from farms and properly disposing of them; collecting more than a million pounds of plastic waste; evaluating organic food; restricting or eliminating the use of poisonous chemicals in schools by using non-chemical solutions for pest control. It was a very enlightening meeting.  Thank you Commissioner Sparks.

Rosa Coal Mine
The Coosa Valley Group has adopted the Rosa Coal Mine as a conservation project.  See for more information on the plan to reopen the site along the Locust Fork River.  All members, not just the Coosa Valley Group, may want to take a look at the web site and respond to the Alabama Surface Mining Commission and any other authorities so they know that this is a matter of importance to many citizens in Alabama.

Mobile Bay Notes

mobile bay cleanup

Members of the Mobile Bay Group admire the fruits of their labor after participating in the Alabama Coastal Cleanup on 19 September.  Left to right are: Konrad Kressley, David Underhill, Carey Driskell and Danielle Poche.  Not pictured but also participating were Cyndy Lewis and Jean Golden. 
Thank you, Konrad

North Alabama Notes

For the October meeting, Bill McCaul, from the Global Hydrology and Climate Center, will talk about the behavior of storms in the local area.

The North Alabama Sierra Club meets at 6:30 the third Thursday of every month at the Huntsville Madison County Public Library in the main auditorium. The library is in downtown Huntsville on Monroe St. just off Governor’s Drive. Everyone is invited.

Tuesday Night Hikes Go Downtown in October
Starting October 6, the Tuesday night hikes will move back downtown as the nights get shorter. Downtown Huntsville is a great area for walking and you can still get in your regular 2-3 mile walks on Tuesday nights. We meet at 6:00pm at the Land Trust parking lot on 907 Franklin St.
For more information, call Michael at 656-5836.

Bears in the South Cumberland
South Cumberland Recreation Area Park Manager John Christof reports that a local property owner's game feeding stand photographed a black bear not too far from the Collins Gulf entrance to the park. Ranger George Shinn advised that he and other rangers have seen bear scat, tracks and other signs in Collins Gulf, along the Connector Trail and in the vicinity of Hobbs Cabin within the past week. 

Camping and cooking in bear country, and storing a food cache, requires different safety precautions than normal backpacking and camping. The most common close encounters between bears and people in the wilderness almost all relate to the presence of food. The National Park Service has an excellent guide related to bears and bear behavior in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. If you see a bear at South Cumberland during your visit, please report the time and location to a Ranger.
Ranger George Shinn is presently talking with other Tennessee state parks which have bears and South Cumberland will have some written guidelines and recommendations in the very near future.

In the meantime, do not feed bears or leave food scraps in the area when you are hiking or camping. Bears learn quickly and bears that become fond of human food usually end up being shot to protect park visitors and area landowners. Don’t end up being responsible for getting a bear killed because you want to take its picture.

Green U at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens
Come celebrate our environment at Green U - a one-day event to be held on Saturday, September 26 from 10am to 4pm at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. This festival for the environment is the first of its kind in Alabama.

The keynote speaker will be Sophie Uliano, author of "Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth Friendly Life." Sophie and her earth-friendly ideas have been on the Oprah Winfrey show. Sophie's book will be on sale in The Garden gift shop and she will be available for a book signing after her presentation.

In addition to speakers, there will be food, entertainment and activities for the whole family including  bike trail rides, rock wall climbing, solar car races, recycling games and activity stations from Sci-Quest.

Approximately forty local businesses and a farmer's market will also be on-site that day to share their environmentally friendly products and services with the community. Admission is just 5 recyclable items (water bottles, aluminum cans, Capri Sun pouches, household batteries or cell phones) or $5.
For more information, visit