Sunday, December 19, 2010

LaVerne Matheson Selected as the Arley Women's Club Person of the Year

LaVerne has been selected as the Arley Women's Club Person of the Year!  The following is a message from Linda Atkinson about the news  :

Our President and founding father of Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy was selected last week as the Arley Women’s Club Person of the Year!  We are so proud of him, and hope that you will extend congratulations his way!   Below is the nomination detailing his accomplishments.

Merry Christmas to you and yours from your Board members, and Happy New (cleaner Lake) Year!


Linda Atkinson, Secretary Treasurer

When the Arley Person of the Year moved from Florida to Alabama, he immediately recognized a need to become involved with local conservation and community groups.  He noticed that some parts of Lewis Smith Lake were having clean-up events but none within Winston County.  He also found that, even though some landowners were concerned about water quality there was no organized group doing anything about it.  He then organized and led the effort to establish Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy in 2006.  Since that time, the group has grown to 80 members.  The Advocacy Group’s mission is to preserve and protect the environmental quality of Lewis Smith Lake and its tributaries through education of the public and promotion and implementation of sound environmental practices. 

This person is the backbone of the group and is responsible for a number of achievements.  To educate Winston County residents and leaders about the importance of watershed health and highlight our unique and clean water resources, this person has provided presentations and slide shows to County Commissioners and others at community events and public meetings.  He represents the group on the Winston County Natural Resources Council and the Bankhead National Forest’s Liaison Panel. 

This person and the Advocacy Group have hosted several Alabama Water Watch training courses for volunteer water quality testers.  The Advocacy Group volunteers (including this person and some 30 others) test Smith Lake’s water at 18 sites in Winston County.  The Group provides testing equipment and reports results to Alabama Water Watch.  The Alabama Water Watch recognized this person with their Fresh Face Award for outstanding performance and contributions of a group that quickly organized monitoring efforts in 2007.

Perhaps the greatest local achievement of this person and the Advocacy Group is their work with Alabama Power Company’s Renew Our Rivers program.  This is a waterways clean-up program to remove Styrofoam, litter and abandoned boat houses from Smith Lake.  This person has single-handedly organized two clean-ups on Rock Creek and coordinated with the Bankhead National Forest to have two clean-ups on Clear Creek and Sipsey Fork.   Hundreds of landowners, the Winston County Commission and local businesses have worked together on this project.  This person understood the need for local involvement and garnered support from the Winston County Commission and other community leaders and businesses.  He has also secured free disposal sites for homeowners to discard old boat house Styrofoam in a responsible manner.  To date many river miles in Winston County have been cleaned-up resulting in an estimated 700 tons of debris removed from our waters.  Over 130 structures were included in that number.

Not only has he led the effort to get the waterways cleaned up; he has also worked to educate the next generation about the issues of water quality.  Partnering with Alabama Power Company, he and the Advocacy Group have distributed Message In A Bottle coloring books to all Winston County elementary school children for the last three years.  These educational coloring books teach students about littering and pollution of our waterways.  They have also participated in the FAWN field days by having an educational lesson on Water Quality for all 5th graders in Winston County Schools.

This person spent many hours working with Alabama Water Watch and many other organizations to develop a project plan that would help rescue parts of the Rock Creek Watershed from the 303D endangered streams list.  He has worked diligently with Advocacy and a local company to obtain a grant and to execute it to erect signs at the entrance to 33 creeks on Smith Lake in Winston County.

In 2009, this person received the prestigious W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Award for 2008, an award administered by Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences to recognize individual achievements in promoting the wiser use of renewable natural resources.

This person is a dedicated volunteer.  He is interested and actively engaged in the conservation of water resources in his new home community on Smith Lake and Winston County.

Sounds like a person with a lot of energy… and he and his lovely bride bought a Wave Runner for the first time and have been enjoying it immensely, and they recently decided that they wanted to realize another lifelong dream…they bought a 1994 Jaguar convertible and have been cruising the highways and byways.. he’ll be 82 years young this month, so wish a very happy birthday to the 2010 Arley Women’s Club Person of the Year, the amazing LaVerne Matheson!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Arley Students Sing the 12 days of Fitness

Meek Elementary students learned about the 12 Days of Fitness.

Singing and acting out the movements of the song to the tune of the "12 Days of Christmas" the students got a workout during the after-school program.

“On the first day of fitness, my trainer gave to me”
- 12 jumping jacks
- 11 raise the roofs
- 10 knee lifts
- 9 side stretches
- 8 jogs in place
- 7 jabs/punches
- 6 kicks to the front
- 5 hula hoops (imaginary)
- 4 jumping ropes (imaginary)
- 3 muscle poses
- 2 scissors (feet apart then cross in front, feet apart then cross in back)
- 1 stork stand (balance on one foot)

After working out for several minutes they transitioned into putting together a bag of trail mix to take home to gift to another or themselves. Ingredients in the trail mix included lots of healthy options -- from dried cranberries, to soynuts, to sunflower seeds, and even whole grain oats.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Healthy Snacking for Addison Youth

Youth in Addison's After-School program got to try soy-nuts and dried cranberries prior to making their own mixture of a trail mix. Using whole-wheat oats cereal as a base, the boys and girls mixed up sunflower kernels, raisins, peanuts, almonds and chocolate and peanut-butter pieces into a healthy snack they could eat while being active outside. They were reminded that different foods provide different nutrients to our body and make it possible for us to be healthy and active.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Youth Trapper Education Workshop

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will hold a youth trapper education workshop in Decatur on December 17 - 19. Seasoned trapping instructors teach students a variety of subjects including the history of trapping, furbearer ecology and management, trapping techniques, laws and regulations, and outdoor ethics. The workshop is free and open to youth at least 6 years old. Youth under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required. Call 205-339-5716 to register. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area Hunters Helping Feral Swine Control Efforts

According to Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area Biologist Barry Baird, hunters have reported removing 29 feral hogs so far this season. Baird estimates another 19 have been taken and not reported since the opening of archery season on the Black Warrior. Hunters are being encouraged to help control the feral swine population on the Area by legally harvesting every feral hog encountered. Feral swine hunting regulations for the Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area and for public and private lands in the state of Alabama can be found on On Black Warrior WMA, it is legal to harvest feral swine during any scheduled hunt with the legal arms and ammunition for that hunt with proper license and permit. For example, during this Friday and Saturday Zone A gun deer hunt, hunters may take a feral hog with a centerfire rifle. A state hunting license, management area license, and a management area permit are required. Permits are available at the Black Warrior Check Station on Forest Service Road 208.

During the last two weeks' scheduled gun deer hunt on the Black Warrior WMA, hunters reported seeing feral swine in the Flannagin Creek, Borden Creek and Walston Ridge areas. Please share feral swine sightings and harvest reports with area biologists.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Meek and Addison Elementary Students Learn about Earth Ethics

Students in the after-school programs at Meek and Addison Elementary continue learning about positive actions they can take to be stewards of the environment. During one session the students discussed rules of the outdoors -- from no littering to staying on trails. After reading the book "Trapper" they then talked about other rules that might include no collecting of natural items in the outdoors. In another session students at Meek Elementary developed puppet shows after learning about different things that can be done at home to conserve energy - from turning off the lights when you leave a room, to recycling aluminum and plastic items.