Friday, March 23, 2012

High Tunnel Workshop

On Thursday, May 10, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., rain or shine, a High Tunnel Workshop will be held at Charles and Kathy Brannon's Farm in Addison.  A high tunnel is a simple greenhouse structure that can help vegetable producers grow earlier crops in the spring and later crops in the fall.  There is no charge for the workshop, however, you do need to call the Winston County Extension office at (205) 489-5376 to register.  The Brannon farm is located at 20302 County Road 41, Addison, AL.  To learn more about the topics that will be discussed and for directions,  you can click on the following link

Online Mapping Guide for Landowners

The Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences has produced a publication titled "Mapping Your Land: An Overview for Landowners".  This guide has information on how to use the USDA web soil survey, Google Earth, Alabama Historic Aerial Photo Archive, NRCS online resources, and National Agroforestry Center software.  A copy is available at the link above or by calling our office at (205) 489-5376.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Engaged Leaders for Better Communities

The Haleyville Area Chamber of Commerce is offering its annual leadership class, Engaged Leaders for Better Communities, starting Wednesday, April 4, 2012.  The class meets once a week for nine weeks, and each session will feature leaders from the community, area businesses, and officials from local and state government.  The complete schedule is available at this link:  The class also includes a field trip to the Alabama State Captiol for a tour and meeting with state legislators.  There is no charge for the class; to get more information contact Melinda Weaver at (205) 486-9408.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lawrence County High School's Feral Swine Project

Lawrence County High School has posted an excellent video on the school's efforts to solve the feral hog problem in their community.  The school is one of the winners in the Samsung Solve For Tomorrow program.

Minutes of the March WCNRC Meeting

Sougahoagdee Falls the Bankhead National Forest
The Winston County Natural Resources Council met on March 15, 2012, at the U. S. Forest Service office in Double Springs.  The following members were present:  Carl Godsey, John Creed, Mike Henshaw, Chris Wright, LaVerne Matheson, Allison Cochran, and Travis McDonald.  The following topics were discussed:
  • White Nose Syndrome found in the Russell Cave National Monument.
  • Raptor Experience Program will be held at the Double Springs Library on June 19th.
  • Small Ruminant Outreach Meeting will be held on March 20th in Double Springs at the Bernice Hilton Walker Building.
  • Alabama Conservation Officers Association pledges $1,000 toward support of the FAWN Program.
  • Arbor Week Tree Give-Away discussion.  Over 60 people attended and almost all trees were given out.  Left over seedlings were sent to Haleyville for Arbor Week activities.  The most popular trees were crepe myrtle, oakleaf hydrangea, and sawtooth oak.
  • Political signs on Rights-of-way.
  • SmartYards Program planned for May 5, at the Arley Traders and Farmers Bank from 1:00 to 4:00.  Co-sponsored by the Extension System and WCSLAI.
  • Winston County Smith Lake Advocacy Incorporated and the Bankhead National Forest have been awarded the USDA's Rise to the Future Award.  This national award is to recognize accomplishments achieved through partnership and cooperation.  The award presentation will be held in Washington D. C. at the National Archives.  LaVerne and Cordie Matheson and Allison Cochran will be attending to accept the award.
  • Allison mentioned that Jeremy McDonald and his wife Destry are the proud parents of twins.
  • Results of the Hog Hunt on the Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area.
  • Lawrence County High School's project to control feral hogs.  Their project was chosen as a finalist in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Program:
  • Travis reported on a water sampling project in the Bankhead National Forest.
  • LaVerne announced several meetings being planned by WCSLAI.  There will be a public meeting on April 13, at 7:00 p.m., at the Arley Traders and Farmers Bank.  They are also sponsoring two Water Safety Programs with the Marine Police from 10 a.m to Noon.  One will be at Duncan Bridge Marina on Saturday, May 5, and the other will be held at the Church By The Lake near Rock Creek Marina on Saturday, May 12. Both sites are accessible by road and by water.
The April WCNRC meeting on Thursday, April 19th will be a field trip to Cane Creek Preserve in Colbert County.  Tom Counts has made reservations with Jim Lacefield, the owner of the property.  Jim will meet with us, if his schedule permits.  We plan to hike on the property for a couple of hours and will probably also make a side trip to Tom and Debbie's home that is just minutes from Cane Creek Preserve.  Thanks to Tom for making the arrangements for this trip. The details are still being worked out, but we agreed to meet at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs at 8:00 a.m.  We'll take as few vehicles as possible and depart shortly after 8 a.m.  Watch for more details on this trip in April.

Mike Henshaw, Secretary

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Backyard Poultry Flock Meeting

If you have an interest in learning about raising your own Poultry Flock, a meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 20, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Marion County Extension Office, Courthouse Annex Meeting Room in Hamilton, AL.  The building is located at 372 7th Avenue SW and across from the Hamilton Recreation Center. 

The program will include:   
Getting Started-Choosing, Housing and Managing Backyard Poultry - Dr. John Blake
Backyard Flock Feeding and Management - Dr. Joe Hess
Poultry Health for the Hobbyist - Dr. Ken Macklin

Also in addition, information cd's, pamphlets, and embryology posters will be available for participants.  For further information, individuals may contact Lisa Murphy at 205 921-3551 or at

White-Nose Syndrome of Bats Confirmed in Alabama

White-Nose Syndrome of Bats Confirmed in Alabama

White-nose syndrome (WNS), the disease that has killed millions of bats in eastern North America, has been confirmed in bats in the Russell Cave complex in Jackson County, marking the arrival of the disease in Alabama.
“White-nose syndrome had been confirmed in several counties in Tennessee, but had yet to be discovered in Alabama until this year,” said Keith Hudson, a biologist with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “This disease is likely one of the most significant disease threats to bat populations in Alabama due to its potential to affect multiple bat species and the devastating nature of the affliction. This disease is not known to affect humans.”
Although scientists have yet to fully understand white-nose syndrome, research has demonstrated the disease is caused by a newly discovered fungus, Geomyces destructans, which often grows into white tufts on the muzzles of infected bats, giving the disease its name. White-nose syndrome was first detected in New York state in 2006 and has killed more than 5.5 million cave dwelling bats in eastern North America. Mortality rates of bats have reached almost 100 percent in multi-year infected caves. With the discovery of WNS in Alabama, a total of 17 states and four Canadian Provinces have now been confirmed with the disease. This finding in Alabama represents the southern-most occurrence of WNS in North America.
On March 1, 2012, a team of surveyors from Alabama A&M University and the National Park Service, coordinated by the Alabama Bat Working Group, were conducting a bat survey in Russell Cave in Jackson County where they saw numerous bats displaying symptomatic white patches of fungus on their skin. Two tri-colored bats and tissue samples from a Northern long-eared bat from the cave were sent to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study unit at the University of Georgia for testing, which confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome. The Russell Cave complex is a cave system that spans several miles of cave passage, including entrances on private property, and Russell Cave National Monument is managed by the National Park Service.
“The National Park Service has been working closely with state and federal agencies and has implemented protection protocols to try and limit the spread of this deadly disease,” said John Bundy, Superintendent of Russell Cave National Monument. “Although the cave system has been closed for 10 years, access to the park’s archeological site remains open.”
“We have worked closely with Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Alabama Bat Working Group to prepare for white-nose syndrome,” said Mike Armstrong, USFWS Regional WNS Coordinator. “Now that it is confirmed here, we will continue to work with the state and our federal partners in their research and management of the disease.”
WNS is known to be transmitted primarily from bat to bat, but fungal spores may be inadvertently carried to caves by humans on clothing and caving gear. Cave visitors are encouraged to check with landowners before entering any caves or mines, and to follow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decontamination protocols to reduce the risk of human assisted transport of fungal spores.
Bats are an important part of our nation’s ecosystems, and provide significant pest control services to American farmers. Insectivorous bats likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion dollars each year, or approximately $74 per acre for the average farmer. Alabama is home to 15 species of bats, including federally listed endangered Gray and Indiana bats.
White-nose syndrome does not pose a threat to humans, pets or livestock. Physical signs associated with WNS are a white fungus on the bat’s nose, wings, ears or tail membrane, although affected bats do not always have visible fungus. Bats afflicted with WNS often exhibit unusual behavior in winter, including clustering near hibernacula entrances. Affected bats also may leave their hibernacula during the day and may be observed flying or clinging to rocks outside or on nearby buildings. Dead or dying bats are often found on the ground near affected areas. To report unusual bat activity persons can use the Alabama Bat Working Group’s website at:
For more information about white-nose syndrome, visit
For more information about bats in Alabama, visit or
For more information about Russell Cave National Monument, visit
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit
Photos can be found at:
To download a photo:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Alabama's Premier Bird of Prey Experience

Raptor Trek - Alabama's Premier Bird of Prey Experience will be "happening" at the Double Springs Library. The library is funding the project and the Alabama 4-H Center in Columbiana will be presenting.

This fascinating program, which includes live bird exhibits, will be held on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.  It is open for children from 6 to 12 years of age, however, adults are also welcome.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Outreach Meeting - Focus on Goats and Sheep

An Outreach Meeting focusing on goats and sheep for small and beginning farmers is being held Tuesday, March 20, at the Traders and Farmers Bank, Bernice Hilton Walker Building (upstairs), 64 Main Street, Double Springs, AL. The meeting is being held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

This program will focus on sheep and goat production, and the use of a a new locally produced mineral that has shown an improvement in animal performance on many Alabama farms (on-farm research data will be shared at this meeting).  We urge any new farmers, small farmers, or just anyone interested in hearing about government assistance to attend.  Several agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Farm Service Agency, and the Northwest Alabama RC&D Council will be on hand to inform farmers about USDA programs available to them that could help their farm operation.

For more information, call Heath King at 256-383-1446.

March Council Meeting

The Winston County Natural Resources Council meeting will be held on Thursday, March 15, at 9:00 a.m. at the U. S. Forest Service Office in Double Springs.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officer Association Pledges Support for FAWN

The Alabama Conservation Enforcement Officer Association (ACEOA) has pledged $1,000 to the FAWN program this year.  The FAWN program reaches over 300 Winston County 6th graders each year.  The youth learn about natural resources, conservation, and safety, at an outdoor field day at the Houston Recreation Area in the Bankhead National Forest.  Through fund raising efforts of the WCNRC, youth are able to attend at no cost to the school system, or the students' families.  The WCNRC provides transportation and a free t-shirt to each student.  FAWN would not be possible without the support of volunteers and groups like the ACEOA.  Special thanks goes to Ernie Stephens, a Conservation Officer in Winston County, for leading the effort to secure this funding for FAWN.