Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rain Barrel Workshop

The Alabama Environmental Council is hosting a Rain Barrel Workshop on December 4th at Camp McDowell near Double Springs and Jasper, Alabama. The workshop cost is $25 which includes rain barrel materials and tools. Interested participants should register with Adam Johnston, johnsaw.adam@gmail .com or 205-300-0555. The workshop is scheduled on December 4th from 10 - 12 and participants should bring their own lunch. An optional afternoon canoe trip along Clear Creek is available after lunch.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rainbow Trout Released Below Lewis Smith Lake

Here's an article from the Birmingham News about rainbow trout being released below the Smith Lake Dam.  The link is here:  http://photos.al.com/birmingham-news/2010/11/rainbow_trout_release_6.html

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hunters Encouraged To Legally Take Feral Swine

In a news release issued by the Bankhead National Forest, hunters are encouraged to legally take feral swine when the opportunity arises. See the news release at http://www.aces.edu/~henshmd/temp/Feral%20Hogs%20News%20Release%20BankheadNFFinal2Approved.pdf to learn about the growing feral swine problem in our area and how you can help control the problem.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Addison and Meek Elementary are "Youth Taking Action"

Students involved in after-school programs at Addison and Meek Elementary Schools have been involved in learning about being good stewards of the outdoors.

As participants in the USDA Forest Service sponsored program "Youth Taking Action" they have been introduced to topics as diverse as tree identification and forest management - to their role in taking care of the planet. For example, after surveying areas around their school to find litter they discussed ways they could help their school by not littering and recycling the things that they use.

An emphasis on being active outdoors instead of indoors playing video games or watching TV is emphasized because one of the goals of the program is to help reduce childhood obesity by helping youth be active outside. Jumping rope was one outdoor activity that many found challenging and fun. Future topics include energy conservation and respecting the outdoors so future generations can enjoy it too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Minutes of November Meeting

The following members were present at our regular meeting on November 18th at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs:  Mike Henshaw, LaVerne Matheson, Jim Hughes, James Burnett, and Stephanie Love.

Allison Cochran e-mailed some information that we discussed:
  • The Rush Darter has been proposed for listing on the Federal threatened and endangered species list.  This species has been found in Mill Creek, Doe Branch, and Wildcat Branch, all of which are tributaries to Clear Creek.  Daniel Drennen with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to meet with some local citizens ahead of the proposal.  Allison has asked for suggestions on individuals or organizations that would be interested.  LaVerne said that he was sure that there would be someone with WCSLAI that would like to attend.  Allison noted in her e-mail that critical habitat would likely be designated at the same time.  While little is known about this proposal at this time, it could have significant economic impacts in the area, so there could be some controversy surrounding this proposal.  LaVerne gave examples of a dam in Tennessee that was delayed due to an endangered fish while other dam construction plans were canceled altogether.  The council suggested that other organizations that might have a role are the NRCS and Alabama Water Watch. 
  • Allison also said that she supported the Pulling Together Initiative and supported the council funding the proposal with $1,000, if the grant funding comes through.  Since Johnna, the Treasurer, and Chris, the Chairman were not present, and there is no need for immediate action, this issue will be taken up at a later meeting.
The council also discussed other business:
  • Approved a request for $50.25 for FAWN program insurance.
  • Hazard Mitigation Funding for local land owners was approved.  These funds can be used for mulching and prescribed burning on private land.  This funding came to the Alabama Forestry Commission through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
  • James Burnett brought several copies of a booklet about the Alabama Winter Weather Awareness Week from November 15 to November 19th.
  • James also brought information about the Great Central U. S. ShakeOut.  This is an event commemorating the 200th anniversary of the New Madrid earthquakes.  As part of this effort, the ShakeOut will hold a drill that will be the largest earthquake preparedness event in central U. S. history.  More information is available at www.ShakeOut.org/centralus
  • Jim Hughes suggested Addison as the location for a 2011 Natural Resources Field Day.  Jim suggested that the Burdick property might make a good site.  LaVerne agreed that with the Rock Creek Watershed Project, Addison would be a good location.  He also suggested looking into the Brannon Farm as a possible site.
  • LaVerne gave an update on the Rock Creek Watershed Grant.  While funding has been promised, the funding amounts and date funds will be received is uncertain.
  • James said that the American Red Cross would be conducting a blood drive at the Double Springs Municipal Building on December 7th.
  • A new invasive insect pest is making it's way into Alabama, the bean plataspid.  This insect feeds on various legumes such as kudzu and soybeans, and may be a threat to peanuts, alfalfa, and clover.  More information is available here. 
  • Stephanie Love invited everyone on the Council to the Annual Christmas Party for the Bankhead National Forest on Friday, December 10th at 6:00 p.m. at the Bernice Hilton Walker Building in Double Springs.  Meat and drinks will be furnished.  Please bring a covered dish or dessert to complete the meal.  Please RSVP by December 3rd, at 489-5111.
Johnna Franks, Treasurer, emailed that the balance was $7,301.50, as of 11/17/2010.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mike Henshaw, Secretary
Winston County Natural Resources Council

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November Council Meeting

The next Winston County Natural Resources Council meeting will be held on Thursday, November 18th, at 9:00 a.m. at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fire Use Restriction for Bankhead National Forest Lifted

The restriction on fire use for the National Forests in Alabama, including Bankhead National Forest, has been lifted.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hightower and Wood Visit National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Leon Hightower, left, and Glenn Wood, both of Addison, visited the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., on September 11th, 2010, through a program provided by Honor Flight Tennessee Valley. The Honor Flights are intended to give World War II veterans a chance to see the memorial and to show them the nation's gratitude for their years of sacrifice.

Hightower served from 1944-45 in the 379th Infantry Regiment which was part of the 95th Infantry Division of the Third Army commanded by General George Patton. Hightower fought in Holland, France, Luxembourg, and Belgium before crossing the River Rhine into the French town of Sarlat. He was wounded three weeks before the war ended. After being wounded, he was sent to Germany to recover from his injuries. Hightower has served on the Winston County Soil and Water Conservation District Board for over 40 years.

Glen Wood served in the Army in the China-Burma-India Theatre under the command of General Joseph Stilwell. He served for over two years as a cook for airplane pilots in remote jungles of Burma and India.

Hightower and Wood were part of an Honor Flight of 103 veterans that visited the memorial.

Double Springs Resident Gary White Takes Part in Mississippi Highpoint Dedication

Gary White with Woodall Mountain monument.

Gary White, a Sipsey Wilderness Hiking Club member and a Highpointers Club member, recently helped dedicate a monument at Mississippi's highest point during the recent national Highpointers Convention.  This highpoint is the 806 foot Woodall Mountain near Iuka.  The highpoint is on private property owned by the Brown family, but permission was granted to move a 8,200 pound rock to the top of the mountain to mark the exact location.  The rock has a permanently mounted bronze plaque that gives the elevation of the highpoint and some history about the mountain.  Gary acquired the rock, transported it to Woodall Mountain, and helped prepare it for the dedication.

The Daily Corinthian newspaper published an article about the monument dedication and the Highpointers Club.

A video about the dedication of the monument is at this link on the Highpointers Club website.

The monument was made possible in part by the Highpointers Foundation.  This foundation works with landowners to obtain access to state highpoints and to fund necessary improvements such as signage and monuments.