August 9, 2018
Friends of Shades Creek Monthly Meeting and 20th Anniversary Celebration
Wild Taro: Early Stages of an Ecological Disaster in the Cahaba Watershed
Dr. Randy Haddock, Field Director, Cahaba River Society

Wild Taro, one of the oldest cultivated plants on earth, is a highly invasive exotic plant in rivers of the southern two-thirds of Alabama, covering bank and in-stream habitats and harming native flora. It’s in several Cahaba tributaries such as Patton Creek, Little Shades Creek, and Shades Creek and is beginning to invade the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge, a major threat to the Cahaba lilies. Dr. Haddock will address the goals of the Cahaba River Society’s new Wild Taro management program: to keep it out of the wildlife refuge, to prevent it from spreading further in the Cahaba watershed and to educate the public and landscape/garden professionals about reducing its use as an ornamental landscape plant. A new brochure, a joint effort between the Cahaba River Society and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, has been published to spread the word about the ecological hazard of Wild Taro in our rivers. It will be available at the meeting.

Celebrating our 20th Anniversary!

Come join us for an anniversary cake and snacks to celebrate our anniversary. We are kicking off a new program year and celebrating our 20 years of educational programs, advocacy for clean water, outings and work cleanups. Friends of Shades Creek began in August 1998 with a group of 24 people invited to a meeting at Homewood Library. The Alabama Rivers Alliance facilitated our first meeting in the fall of 1998 and haven’t stopped having monthly meetings. Cindy Lowery, Executive Director of the Alabama Rivers Alliance will be at our meeting to say a few words about the importance of local river groups. Randy Haddock, Field Biologist with Cahaba River Society will present our program for the evening.

May 3, 2018
Birmingham Botanical Gardens Conservatory
Molly Hendry, Garden Assessment Project Leader at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens

We will meet at the front entrance of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on May 3. Molly Hendry, Garden Assessment Project Leader at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, oversees the strategic future planning for the 2 dozen individual gardens that make up the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Molly holds a B.S. in Horticulture and Masters in Landscape Architecture from Auburn University. Although native to Birmingham, Molly has worked at Winterthur Garden in Delaware as well as several gardens across England and Scotland as the Royal Horticultural Society’s Interchange Fellow before returning home to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in 2017. Molly will be leading us on a walk + talk of BBG providing insight to her role at the gardens as well as future developments at the gardens. Through her role as the Garden Assessment Project Leader, she has spent a lot of time in the archives studying the history of the BBG and the individual gardens. Her job is to understand the original design intent, investigate how it is used today, assess each garden’s strengths and weaknesses, and prioritize changes that will happen so that each garden can reach its full potential and engage the public.

April 12, 2018
The History and Mission of Camp Fletcher
Janis Barksdale – Camp Director

Camp Fletcher is a story of persevering in difficult times. It is a story of how an African-American woman fought to get her nursing degree and then spent most of her own money to buy land where African-American children could get the same camp experience, learning about nature and the outdoors, as white children could. The obstacles were great, but 90 years later, the camp is still providing services to children, grades 1-12 and now to all ethnic groups. Camp Fletcher is on Shades Creek – come hear Janis Barksdale tell the stories of Camp Fletcher and its mission today.

March 8, 2018
Human Evolution, Adaptations and Implications Regarding Diet and Exercise
Richard (Dick) Mills

Using fossil, DNA evidence, and a bit of conjecture, this program will trace the 6 million year-long origins of our species, feature the adaptations our ancient ancestors had to make for survival in the African savanna, investigate the diets of  living hunter gatherers and suggest how and why our bodies are, or may not be, optimally designed for today’s life style.

February 8, 2018
Mission and Land Holdings for the Fresh Water Land Trust
Jeffrey Drummond, Stewardship Director at Fresh Water Land Trust

Jeffrey will be talking about the 1,200 acres of conservation property including property on Shades Creek that FWLT manages. Jeffrey helps identify and oversees restoration and public access projects and engages the community through public outreach and scientific research. Jeffrey inherited his Cherokee grandfather’s passion for wildlife and conservation, which has kept him outdoors his entire life. At Freshwater Land Trust, he uses his skills and passion to conserve invaluable natural areas in the beautiful, biodiverse region of Central Alabama.

January 11, 2018
Sewage, Sewage Overflows and Health, Equity and Economic Development
Dr. Betsy Dobbins – Director, STEM Scholars Program and
Professor in the Dept. of Biological and Environmental Science at Samford University

Presentation for the Evening: Dr. Betsy Dobbins will present a program on Sewage, sewage overflows and the challenges it poses for Alabama in terms of health, equity, and economic development. The program will highlight some successes that Riverkeepers and the Alabama Rivers Alliance have had to increase public awareness and will focus on a recent project with students in Perry County. Information will also include some of the work Cahaba River Society has been doing in this area. Join us and hear about the work and study that is taking place to protect our water resources.
Come early for refreshments – Refreshments will not reflect the theme.