Think globally, act locally, lots of nature events on tap in Birmingham this winter

Birmingham Alabama
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. Photo by Pat Byington

I always liked the slogan, Think Globally, Act Locally.

According to environmental lore, the first time the phrase was used in pop culture was around 1971, when David Brower, the founder of Friends of the Earth and longtime director of the Sierra Club, popularized the catchphrase.

Globally, nature hasn’t done to well in the past year.

The wildfires in Australia and Brazil, floods in Venice and sea-level rise.

Perhaps that’s why local conservation groups are focusing on things we can all do together here in Birmingham. Make a difference in our own backyard.

Act Locally

Tree planting at East Lake Park on November 16, 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

How do you act locally? Nature writer Gary Snyder described it best:

“Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.”

With that in mind, here are some upcoming events in the Birmingham area, where folks who care about nature – can “dig in” – “take responsibility” and act locally.

3rd Annual MLK Day Habitat Restoration—W.E. Putnam Middle School – January 20

Volunteers at W.E. Putnam Middle School’s Audubon-Datnow Forest Preserve. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Talk about  “digging in” – celebrate MLK Day at W.E. Putnam Middle School. According to Alabama Audubon, who is sponsoring the event, Putnam’s ten acre footprint provides much-needed urban habitat for Red-shouldered Hawks, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and climate-endangered Brown-headed Nuthatches. Help remove privet and other invasive plants.  By doing this one act, you help make this special place a haven for birds and a classroom for the next generation of conservationists.

Salamander Festival in Homewood – January 25

Photo from the Freshwater Land Trust website

Did you know the wetlands alongside Shades Creek, across  Lakeshore Parkway, near Samford University is prime salamander habitat? Join the Friends of Shades Creek on Saturday, January 25, 3:00pm at the Shades Valley Community Church for their annual celebration of salamanders, frogs, turtles and other critters. Held each year in Homewood, the Salamander Festival is a must for kids wanting to learn how to care and  to advocate for the protection of our favorite salamanders and much, much more.

Launching the Next Generation of Leaders for a Resilient Cahaba – February 6

Cahaba River Society Conservation Director Dr. Randall Haddock. Photo courtesy of Cahaba River Society

This year’s annual meeting of the Cahaba River Society literally gets you to think globally and act locally all at the same time. CRS’s keynote speaker: at this year’s meeting is world renown UAB Antarctica scientist Jim McClintock. Hear Jim’s firsthand account about the rapidly changing climate in Antarctica, and the reasons why people in Alabama should care. More importantly, discover how protecting the Cahaba River (the source of our drinking water) makes a difference on a global scale. The event is free – and it will held on February 6, 5:30 to 8:00 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Wild About Chocolate 2020 – February 8

Photo from the Alabama Wildlife Center Facebook page

Who says you can’t have a party and save wildlife at the same time! Wild About Chocolate is one of the most anticipated annual events in Birmingham. A Magic City original, Wild About Chocolate supports the Alabama Wildlife Center. Mark your calendar and purchase tickets now  – February, 8, 7:00am at the Harber Center.

Faith Meets Business: Climate Solutions for the Common Good – February 8th

Birmingham Alabama
Gentoos Penquins in Antarctica – Photo from Jim McClintock

Birmingham’s local Citizens’ Climate Lobby group will be presenting a  community dialogue on the global climate crisis on February 8th, 8:30am at the McWane Center.  Speakers include Texas Tech atmospheric scientist, Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, Dr. Jim McClintock, UAB polar and marine biologist and several state and local community leaders, including former Alabama Speaker of the House Seth Hammett, who represents the Energy Institute  of Alabama .  Expect lively discussions and creative solutions.  The registration deadline is February 4th.  Here are the details.

Alabama Water Rally 2020 – March 13-15

Rivers Alabama
Alabama Rivers Alliance Water Rally River Celebration Awards Banquet in 2019. Photo from the Alabama Rivers Alliance

Do you have a favorite creek, river or lake?  Every year, Alabamians from all over the state gather together to talk about ways they can protect their community and advocate for clean and plentiful water. In 2020, the Alabama Rivers Alliance is holding its annual Alabama Water Rally at Camp McDowell. A can’t miss event for people who care about our state’s most precious resource – water.   Reserve your spot today. Here are the details.

Earth Day 2020

2020 is also the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. In the spring there will be events held across the globe.  This is a big year for the environment.

We’ll do our best to keep you in the loop. Stay tuned.

Author: 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.