meanderings winter 2014 edition
Download Meanderings Winter 2014 to see what we’ve been up to!
Download Meanderings Winter 2014 to see what we’ve been up to!
Since 1996, the Freshwater Land Trust has been working with private landowners to conserve the land that is important to them. However, each year thousands of acres of land are irretrievably altered in Alabama. Conserving land and the natural habitats it supports depends on private landowners now more than ever. Landowners and their families know what is best for their property and the Freshwater Land Trust wants to help find the right conservation method for you. Our mission is to honor the relationship between you and your land while developing the best conservation option.
Conservation minded landowners are increasingly using conservation easements to make sensible and sustainable plans for the future of their land. Each easement is tailored to meet the needs of the landowner and the mission of the Freshwater Land Trust to preserve the conservation values – the natural resources and habitat – of the land.
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently restricts certain aspects of land use in order to protect the conservation values of the property.
When a landowner places a conservation easement on his or her land, he or she maintains ownership and use of the property and can sell it or pass it on to heirs.
The land is subject to certain restrictions agreed upon by the landowner and the land trust. For example, a landowner might agree to limit development on his or her property to one residence of a particular size. Future landowners are bound by these restrictions as well, and the land trust is responsible for monitoring the property and upholding the terms of the easement.
Conservation easements have become one of the most commonly used land conservation tools in the country. Currently, local and regional land trusts hold more than 11,600 conservation easements, protecting more than five million acres of land.
A conservation easement can be a critical component of passing your land onto the next generation. Ensuring your land is conserved in its natural state can bring many benefits to you and your family, but perhaps the most gratifying is knowing that future generations will cherish the land you protected. Our goal is to preserve the places that matter most to Alabamians, so that we can pass along our rich and unique natural heritage to those who come after us. Through a conservation easement, you can leave a priceless legacy by conserving your special place that matters in perpetuity.
To learn more about your conservation options, contact the Freshwater Land Trust at 205–417-2777.
Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System, Moss Rock Preserve, Five Mile Creek Greenway…
These are all success stories made possible by Freshwater Land Trust partners and supporters. In order to continue this great work, we greatly need your help. Our success is rooted in your support. Please consider a tax-deductible donation – however modest – and become a friend of the Freshwater Land Trust.
Your gift today on #GivingTuesday will protect Alabama’s unique biological diversity, enhance the water quality of our rivers and streams, and conserve the exceptional and irreplaceable natural value of Central Alabama not just for today, but forever.
1. Give online via paypal by clicking the button below.
2. Mail a check to the Freshwater Land Trust at:
2308 First Avenue North
Birmingham, Al 35203
Help spread the word! Please take a moment today to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. As we celebrate #GivingTuesday, we encourage you to share what the Freshwater Land Trust means to you by using the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #FWLT on social media.
You can save critical land in Central Alabama. Your gift is so important, and we appreciate your continued support and dedication to our mission. Thank you for joining us as we give back to our community on #GivingTuesday!
Cooperative Initiative Anchored by Wingspread Declaration
BIRMINGHAM, AL – Dr. Max Michael, Dean of the University of Alabama School of Public Health, and Wendy Jackson, Executive Director of the Freshwater Land Trust, have partnered with conservation and health leaders from across the country to address the disconnect between humans and the outdoors.
“People are now more disconnected from nature than ever before,” Wendy Jackson, executive director of the Freshwater Land Trust and Wingspread Declaration signatory, said. “It is our responsibility to shift our focus to reaffirm the important connection between human health with nature for future generations.”
This cooperative initiative is anchored by the Wingspread Declaration, a document signed by 31 of America’s leading health officials, academics and conservation-focused nonprofits, including Yale University, the National Land Trust Alliance, Kaiser Permanente, Children and Nature Network, and the Open Space Institute. The Declaration calls for action from health, environmental, academic, governmental and corporate actors to cooperatively reconnect people with the outdoors and secure new commitments to protect access to green spaces.
“This Initiative recognizes the importance of a livable environment for our health and well-being, including the opportunity to spend time outside enjoying the benefits of that environment,” Dr. Max Michael, Dean of UAB School of Public Health, said. “By signing this Declaration, it is hoped we bring further attention to the remarkable investments our community is making in creating the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail system, for example.”
This new initiative comes at a time when more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, incurring $148 billion in medical costs annually and contributing to 18% of U.S. adult deaths. Publicly available data shows U.S. healthcare costs are the highest per capita in the world – and that amount continues to increase, particularly in Alabama and the southeastern United States.
Time outdoors is known to improve people’s well-being. People without access to the outdoors can be linked to higher rates of anxiety disorders and of mood disorders, such as depression. However, exposure to green space counters these tendencies. People who live near natural settings are likely to report better mental health; urban parks are known to lower stress and elevate mood; and studies have even linked green neighborhoods with lower rates of obesity in children and longer life spans in elders.
“Providing people with meaningful connections to parks, trails and green spaces create an environment where healthy choices are easy choices,” Jackson said. “These connections will transform the physical, economic, environmental and social well-being of our communities, and the Freshwater Land Trust is proud to be playing an active role in this important initiative with partners like UAB’s School of Public Health.”
Health and conservation leaders are discussing and supporting the Wingspread Declaration this week at milestone meetings in New Orleans and Sydney, Australia. Over 13,000 health providers at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in New Orleans and 5,000 parks and conservation professionals at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, will learn more about the Declaration and its goals.
Additional supporters are also responding to the Declaration’s call on health institutions to include nature in their practices and prescriptions; call on schools to ensure all children grow up connected to nature; call on elected officials and philanthropists to invest in parks, trails and green spaces; and call on employers to reconnect their employees with nature.
“We are fortunate and excited to be a part of this growing national movement that makes Birmingham a national leader in assuring everyone in our community reaps the health benefits of the outdoors,” said Dr. Max Michael.
Visit www.healthandnature.org to learn more about and endorse the Wingspread Declaration.
About the Freshwater Land Trust
The Freshwater Land Trust is a 501©(3) nonprofit organization that acquires, conserves and connects open spaces that are critical for the protection of rivers and streams and that provide recreational opportunities for the community. Its mission is the acquisition and stewardship of lands that enhance water quality and preserve open space. It is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, which recognizes it as meeting standards of excellence, upholding the public’s trust and ensuring that conservation efforts are permanent. The Freshwater Land Trust conserves land in Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, Chilton, Bibb, St. Clair, Tuscaloosa, and Walker counties. For more information, please visit www.freshwaterlandtrust.org.
About the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health
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Well…it’s been a dam year! This week we celebrate the one year anniversary of the removal of Old Shadow Lake Dam on Turkey Creek—one of our most successful projects with impactful results.
One year ago, the Freshwater Land Trust successfully removed Old Shadow Lake Dam on Turkey Creek near Pinson. Not only was the dangerous structure removed, but the project also opened up an additional half mile of habitat for the endangered vermilion darter – a fish that before this project only had about seven miles of habitat in the world.
Thanks to funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Freshwater Land Trust is moving forward with replantings to stabilize the bank following the removal. Father Nature Landscapes, a Freshwater Land Trust supporter, has been a huge help in determining appropriate species and placement of the plants to best serve the creek bank. Next steps in the restoration project include sampling the vermilion darter population to see if they are thriving in their additional half mile of habitat. We are also hoping to host more work days at the site to remove invasive species and continue to establish vegetation to secure the creek bank.
This project was only accomplished through partnerships with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Action Environmental, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Vulcan Materials Company, Alabama Power, Brasfield & Gorrie Equipment and Supply, the City of Clay, and a host of other supporters.
Continued restoration work is made possible by Alabama Power with a grant through the Five Star Restoration Program, which involves multiple partners including Alabama Power and its parent company Southern Company, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
As we celebrate the one year anniversary of this project, we want to thank our partners for their continued support on this final phase of the project. We appreciate your contributions as we complete yet another project with long term impacts and significant change for our community.
More on NFWF:
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife and habitats. Working with federal agencies, corporations, foundations and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 34,000 organizations and committed more than $2.3 billion to conservation projects. For more info on NFWF visit www.nfwf.org.
We had a great time this morning during our monthly Red Rock Tuesday segment with Fox 6 Good Day Alabama! Thank you to everyone who came out to support the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System and cycling in our city.
We especially thank Regions for providing us with our special bike giveaway, Alabama Power, the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham, Dr. Mark Wilson and the Jefferson County Department of Health, Stan Palla, and all the Le Tour de Ham riders who joined us! We appreciate your continued dedication to our organization. We also want to thank Mayor William Bell for joining us and for his support of healthy and active transportation.
Join us on the first Tuesday of every month for Red Rock Tuesday with Jeh Jeh Pruitt as we continue to educate our community about the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System! Here are some photos from today’s segment:
We’re giving away a Regions bike LIVE during Red Rock Tuesday on Fox 6 Good Day Alabama with Jeh Jeh Pruitt!
Next Tuesday, November 4th, tune in to Good Day Alabama between 6:30 and 8:30am for a chance to win.
It’s easy! Here’s what you’ll need to do:
During the show, LIKE and SHARE our Facebook photo of the green Regions bike with Jeh Jeh Pruitt to be entered into a drawing. We’ll pick the winner live on TV!
Like our Facebook page and help us celebrate cycling in Birmingham next Tuesday!
Special thanks to Regions, Freshwater Land Trust corporate partner, for this exciting giveaway and for your support of the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System!
If you like to ride bikes and are passionate about cycling, you won’t want to miss our next Red Rock Tuesday on Fox 6’s Good Day Alabama with Jeh Jeh Pruitt.
Join us November 4th for Red Rock Tuesday at Kelly Ingram Park from 6:30–8:30am as we feature cycling in Birmingham! You can help us continue to educate the community about the Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System.
This month we will focus on cycling in Birmingham and the role it plays in the Red Rock system. We’ll also feature local cycling group, Le Tour de Ham, and their mission to promote the importance of active, safe transportation.
Le Tour de Ham in an eclectic, fun social cycling group that celebrates their right to ride. Le tour de ham is the largest weekly ride in Alabama created by Stan Palla (Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve) and Vero Vanblaere (Naked Art). Silvertron Cafe sponsors the ride each week, which begins at 6:15 pm on Tuesdays in the heart of Forest Park and ends with food, drinks and fun at Silvertron Café.
Other special Red Rock Tuesday guests will include representatives from Alabama Power, the Jefferson County Department of Health, and the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham. We encourage riders of all ages to join us as we demonstrate why cycling is important to the quality of life and the economic development of our city!
The Freshwater Land Trust will also have a special live giveaway announcement via social media! Like our Facebook for more details and tune in to Good Day Alabama next Tuesday to see how you can enter to win our surprise giveaway!
by Ryan Parker, Red Rock Trail Coordinator
The Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail System, a proposed network of over 750 miles of sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails throughout the Birmingham region, is designed to provide connections. That means creating safe environments that connect people to the places they want to go, such as the local library, corner store, and neighborhood park. It also means working regionally to provide safe transportation choices between communities and developing a meaningful trail network that will collectively benefit residents, neighborhoods, and cities.
The new sidewalks and trails in the Pratt City neighborhood of Birmingham are a model example of both types of connections, improving access to Jimmie Hudson Park and Howze-Sanford Park, as well as the recently rebuilt Pratt City Library that was destroyed in tornado on April 27, 2011.
A new pedestrian bridge over Village Creek was also added, linking neighborhoods in Pratt City to the adjacent Ensley community. Additional projects are also underway to extend the connections beyond Ensley, to downtown Birmingham and Red Mountain Park.
Just over a month after the storms ravaged Pratt City in 2011, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood visited the area and vowed to assist the community in rebuilding efforts. Through a Department of Transportation infrastructure grant, broken streets are repaved and new sidewalks and trails are built. Residents now have safe, convenient transportation options that improve regional sustainability and enhance local quality of life.
More than four miles of new trails and sidewalks on the ground in Pratt City bring us one step closer to a regional network of trails, sidewalks, and bike lanes that connect people and communities together.
Interested in a service work day?
Each Spring and Fall, the Freshwater Land Trust hosts work days with local businesses on several of our properties, including Wildwood Nature Preserve in Homewood, the Joyce and Jerry Lanning Chestnut Orchard on Chandler Mountain, McCallum Park in Vestavia Hills, among many others.
Work days allow our corporate partners and other Birmingham businesses to get their hands dirty for a good cause, while also allowing the Freshwater Land Trust to foster relationships and partnerships with the business community.
We’ve worked with many different organizations from large corporations to small nonprofits. This past spring, Wells Fargo, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Integrated Medical Systems, UAB, Alabama Power, and Bishop May of the Latter Day Saints were all able to participate in projects that conserve places in Alabama that are invaluable to future generations.
The Freshwater Land Trust will be happy to work with you to find the best volunteer opportunity suited for your organization. If you are interested in participating in a work day, contact us today at 205–417-2777 or email Zac Napier, FWLT Land Steward, at firstname.lastname@example.org.