SAVE OUR RIVER: Turns out it’s actually pretty easy being green, at least in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa this September. SweetWater Brewing Company, an Atlanta craft brewery, and Black Warrior Riverkeeper, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, are teaming up for the annual Save the Black Warrior campaign. All you have to do is head down to your favorite participating bar in either city during the month of September and buy a paper fish (for $1, $5 or $10) or a Save the Black Warrior t-shirt. You’ll find a list of participating bars at www.savetheblackwarrior.com. Rock and bluegrass band Rollin’ in the Hay will help kick off the month by playing shows in both cities. The Tuscaloosa show will be held on August 26 at the Dixie, 1307 University Blvd., from 9 p.m. to midnight. The Birmingham show will be held on September 9 at Rogue Tavern downtown from 8 p.m. to midnight. There will be a $10 cover for both gigs, with proceeds going to Riverkeeper’s efforts to monitor water quality in the Black Warrior. To learn more about Riverkeeper, visit www.blackwarriorriver.org. For more about Sweetwater, visit www.sweetwaterbrew.com. AM
SAVE THE HAWKS: According to Bobby Dylan, “No one is free; even the birds are chained to the sky.” Well, Bobby, freedom is certainly not an absolute, but if you’re a bird, you’re a lot freer in the sky than you are anywhere else. Three rehabilitated red shouldered hawks have now returned to the skies around Birmingham, thanks to the efforts of the Alabama Wildlife Center (AWC) at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham. The three birds, all of which had been injured or orphaned or seen their habitat destroyed by bulldozers, were cared for at the center for three months. The AWC released the birds last Friday, August 20, at the Birmingham headquarters of EBSCO Industries. The EBSCO headquarters was chosen as the release site because of the firm’s long-time support for the work of the AWC and because the firm’s campus has plenty of trees and water to help provide a natural habitat for the birds. The nonprofit Alabama Wildlife Center was founded in 1977 and is the state’s oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation organization. For more information, visit www.awrc.org. JC
SAVE THE TORTOISES: While industrial or commercial expansion in an untouched area usually spells danger for native animal species, there is at least one recent case in which the construction may actually prove beneficial to the animals. After being given a contract to build a landfill in Washington County, Advanced Disposal of Jacksonville, Fla., discovered a population of rare, federally protected gopher tortoises on the 300-acre site. They decided to not only relocate the keystone species to a new home 30 miles away, but to film the process, as well. The documentary, Relocating the Gopher Tortoise at Turkey Trot Landfill, documents the company’s work with government agencies and environmental advocacy groups, including the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management in locating, capturing and releasing the turtles in their new environment. “When we learned that we would be relocating a colony of gopher tortoises, we decided to capture it on film and utilize it as a fun, engaging educational tool while showing our commitment to the environment,” according to Mary O’Brien, chief marketing officer with Advanced Disposal, in a recent news release from the company. According to the release, projects like this assist in tortoise conservation actions that could not otherwise be developed without the scientific data collected during the relocation process. Taking specific measurements when collecting the species and conducting long-term monitoring and research at the preserve hel scientists understand more about the tortoises’ habitat needs, survival rates and reproductive success. AM
GET LOADED, SAVE THE TREES: Sequoia Grove Winery of Napa Valley, Calif., and the Firebirds Wood Fired Grill national restaurant chain have announced a promotion that they say can help protect California’s giant sequoias, also known as the Coast Redwoods. According to a news release from the two firms, the “Buy a Bottle, Save a Tree” promotion is designed to raise public awareness of the need to protect the sequoias, the world’s largest trees. From September 1 through October 31, 10 percent of sales of bottles of Sequoia Grove’s 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will be donated to the Sequoia Grove Winery “Save a Tree Campaign,” an initiative benefitting the Sequoia Parks Foundation (SPF). The SPF protects giant sequoias in their limited habitat by funding education, restoration and research projects in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The Firebirds location in Birmingham will host a dinner on September 14 that will allow attendees to indulge in special wine and food pairings and learn more about Sequoia Grove Winery and the Sequoia tree preservation campaign. Several other Firebirds restaurants nationally will host similar events. The Birmingham location of the chain is located at 191 Main Street in Hoover in the Patton Creek Shopping Center. To reach the Hoover location, call (205) 733-2002. To learn more about the Sequoia Grove Winery tree preservation campaign, visit www.sequoiagrove.com. JC
SAVE THE CHILDREN, PLEASE! While Little Billy’s compulsion to chew on his school supplies might seem like a harmless annoyance, studies show that those habits can be more dangerous than you might think. Many school supplies, particularly lunch boxes and backpacks, are manufactured using polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic that contains a veritable cornucopia of toxic chemicals, including dioxin and lead (Kids just can’t seem to get enough of that stuff, huh?). Chemicals released by the PVC lifecycle, according to a news release from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ), are linked to chronic diseases on the rise in children, including learning and developmental disabilities, asthma, obesity and cancer. Fortunately, CHEJ is releasing its Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies to provide information on how to avoid the dangerous plastic. They offer a few helpful hints, such as avoiding backpacks with plastic designs and using cloth or metal lunchboxes, to get kids started back to school on the right foot, toxin free. The guide, along with other tips for healthier living, can be found online at www.chej.org. AM
Jesse Chambers is a Birmingham Weekly contributing editor. Andy McWhorter is a Birmingham Weekly intern. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.