TAKE THE GREEN WAY: The non-profit Freshwater Land Trust (FLT) is developing a greenway master plan for Jefferson County. According to the FLT web site, the Our One Mile project is part of an effort to lower the county’s obesity rate, which is over 30 percent. The FLT seeks to identify a network of over 100 miles of trails, greenways and blueways in the Birmingham area. The public kickoff for Our One Mile will take place Tuesday, October 12, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Alagasco Center for Energy Technology at First Avenue and 20th St. South. Offer your comments on the plan and hear greenways expert Jeff Olson of Alta Planning and Design. Learn more at www. freshwaterlandtrust.org. Watch the Our One Mile video at www.vimeo.com/15220330.
CREATION CARE: The Interfaith Environmental Initiative of Alabama (IEIA) will host its second annual environmental conference, “Forum 2010: Energy and Water Stewardship,” Thursday, October 21, from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The conference will focus on energy efficiency and water conservation in our area. The IEIA, according to its web site, is a community network connecting members of faith groups with scientists, educators, business people, government officials and environmentalists to help further environmental protection. Church members are invited to attend the forum to learn ways to “green” their congregations. The cost is $30 (lunch included). Register online at www.bbgardens.org or call (205) 414-3900. Read about the IEIA at www.interfaithenvironmental.org.
PHONY TREES: According to the Global Justice Ecology Project (GJEP), the forests of the South could be endangered by the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) trees. According to the GJEP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved a request by South Carolina-based ArborGen to plant over 250,000 GE eucalyptus trees in seven Southern states, including Alabama. The group says that eucalyptus trees, like kudzu, are highly invasive, disrupt native ecosystems and displace wildlife. In July, the GJEP, the Sierra Club and several other groups filed a lawsuit to stop the plantings. Check out a new video clip about GE trees and tree monocultures at www.nogetrees.org. For more on the lawsuit, visit globaljusticeecology.org.
MAKE IT SNAPPER: The federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service announced last week that recreational red snapper fishing in the Gulf of Mexico has been reopened for an extra season. The new season began October 1 and will continue through November 21. According to a NOAA news release, this will allow sport fishermen to catch the quota they didn’t reach when a portion of the Gulf was closed to fishing this summer due to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A large portion of the recreational red snapper catch comes from federal waters off Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle, the release states. According to an announcement from Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, you can keep the red snapper you catch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the new season. If you fish both Friday and Saturday, you can bring in a 2-day limit of snapper and other fish. For more information, call (800) 745-7263 or visit www.orangebeach.com/fishing.
GOING ZERO: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Conservation Fund announced last week that they will continue to work together in the Fund’s Go Zero program, which uses private donations to plant native trees on public lands to benefit wildlife and help fight climate change. According to a joint news release, the agreement will ensure that all 552 national wildlife refuges can continue to participate. The release states that, since 2000, Go Zero and other carbon-based forest programs created by the Fund in partnerships with the utility industry have restored 30,000 acres of national wildlife refuge lands with eight million trees. As the forests mature, they are expected to trap the equivalent of more than nine million tons of CO2. To see a video on the program, visit www.conservationfund.org/gozero/plant_a_tree_video.
EVER NEED TO GET AWAY? Nearly 40 national wildlife refuges offer volunteer opportunities to people willing to live on site for a month or more. Volunteers greet visitors, drive a tractor, map invasive species or do other useful things. In return, they get free housing or RV parking, plus plenty of time to hike or watch birds. To find the refuges and wetland management districts accepting volunteers— including those in Alabama—visit www.fws.gov/volunteers/volOpps.html.