Green Resource Center for Alabama compiles 2016 environmental success stories

Birmingha Alabamam
Photo from the Cahaba River Society

This week, the Green Resource Center for Alabama (GRCA)  announced the release of their 2016 Green Progress Report. This is the 8th annual report by the Center, which began in 2009.

The comprehensive 27 page progress report provides an in-depth look at a rising number of notable green-related projects and sustainability initiatives that collectively make a lasting impact for the state of Alabama.

Download the 2016 Green Progress Report

“For more than eight years the Green Resource Center for Alabama has compiled success stories from across the state to spotlight the strides our communities have made to become more environmentally responsible and sustainable,” said Collier Craft, President of the Board of Directors of the GRCA.

Birmingham Alabama
Volunteers at the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve Cleanup – Photo by Hands on Birmingham

An invaluable gauge to mark Alabama’s progress on the environment, the annual Green Progress Report is divided into nine categories: Land Conservation and Preservation; Environmental Education; Energy Efficiency; Transportation; Recycling and Cleanups; Parks Trails and Recreation; Building and Design; Corporate Sustainability; and Sustainability Progress and Initiatives.

Top highlights from the 2016 report include the statewide passage of Amendment 2 to protect the Alabama State Parks System budget from funds transfers by the Legislature to other state agencies, the Coosa and Cahaba Riverkeepers efforts that provide weekly swim guides developed through testing for E. coli bacteria; the opening of the Rotary Trail walking park from 20th Street to 24th Street along First Avenue South; a $200,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant to Lawson State Community College in Birmingham to operate an environmental job training program; and a cooperative effort by Alabama Power Company, Alabama Marine Resources Division, Cooper/T. Smith Corporation and the Alabama Wildlife Federation to create an artificial reef off the Alabama Gulf Coast.

Birmingham Alabama
Workday at Ruffner Mountain – Photo from Ruffner Mountain Nature Center

Other notable highlights include:


The Birmingham-based company received two awards in 2016 for its commitment to sustainability: The “Commercial Conservation” Award from the Alabama Environmental Council for the company’s goal to be 99 percent landfill free and the “Outstanding Business” Award from My Green Birmingham for its efforts to reduce waste and cut air emissions. Changes made by Royal Cup resulted in a savings of more than $180,000 and 2.5 million pounds of avoided CO2 emissions.


In 2016, 10 Alabama colleges and universities across the state received recognition from Tree Campus USA. The program honors colleges and universities that effectively manage their campus trees, develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests and strive to engage student populations through service learning opportunities centered on campus and community forestry efforts. The Alabama schools that earned Tree Campus USA recognition: Athens State University, Auburn University, Auburn University at Montgomery, Huntingdon College, Jacksonville State University, Troy University, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of West Alabama.


The Engineering News Record included four Alabama-based builders on its 2016 list of Top 100 Green Building Contractors. As a group, the Top 100 generated $52.58 billion in contracting revenue in 2015 from projects actively seeking green certification. The Alabama builders on the list: B.L. Harbert International LLC (No. 28), Brasfield & Gorrie LLC (No. 30), Caddell Construction Co. (DE) LLC (No. 34) and Robins & Morton (No. 54).


Throughout the Renew Our Rivers program’s 17th year, 4,000 volunteers have removed more than 170 tons of trash from Alabama waterways. The program hosted 32 cleanups across the state in 2016. For 17 years, Alabama Power employees and community volunteers have made a remarkable impact in protecting waterways in their communities through Renew Our Rivers.

Birmingham Alabama
Photo from the Cahaba River Society

The GRCA was founded in 2007 and has continued to serve local Alabama communities as an environmental nonprofit dedicated to educating and raising awareness for sustainability related efforts, projects and initiatives in Alabama and throughout the Southeast. The nonprofit recently launched a newly designed website featuring the complete 2016 Green Progress Report, as well as past publications, in addition to information about several other GRCA-led initiatives. The GRCA recently launched its newest initiative in 2017, EMERGE, a sustainability leadership project designed to educate and empower professionals to be better advocates within their companies and communities for smart, sustainable progress.


Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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