2023 Friends of Shades Creek Educational Monthly Meetings

Native Trees and Forests of Alabama (November 9, 2023)
Henry’s presentation identifies natural groupings and ecological characteristics of Alabama’s common native trees. He refers to species growing uniquely in particular locations within Birmingham’s forested watersheds, some remotely, but others very accessibly in our historic parks. 
November 2023 Native Forest Trees link is here.

Antarctic Research at the Bottom of the Earth (October 12)
Maggie Amsler, researcher at UAB Department of Biology has made over 30 trips to Antarctica and over 500 Antarctic research dives since 1980. She researches Antarctic chemical ecology, ocean acidification and krill, which are a small, cold-water relative of crayfish and is the basis of the Antarctic oceanic food web.

In 2017, Amsler was on one of the first-ever cruises using manned submersibles to document sea floor communities in Antarctica. It is likely that she became the first woman ever to make a submersible dive there. In 2021, Maggie’s adventurous scientific spirit was recognized by The Explorers Club naming her to the inaugural EC50 cohort – “Fifty people the world should know about”. Maggie has been author or co-author with her polar colleagues on over 50 publications. In recognition of her zeal to share science with the professional community and lay community alike through numerous outreach efforts, in 2022 Amsler was named a Sigma Xi Fellow. She has studied the chemical defenses of marine plants and animals, the impacts of ocean acidification on calcifying organisms and the distribution of deep sea crabs that may be invading shallow waters as a consequence of ocean warming. Most of Maggie’s Antarctic fieldwork has involved scuba diving. She has logged over 500 dives in the icy waters studying krill, chemical ecology, and ocean acidification.

Climatic changes along the Antarctic Peninsula are clearly evident with the lack of snow on the glacier coupled with a rapidly receding, vanishing glacier. Skiing and even nightly camping have become sporadic due to warmer air temperatures and moisture conditions. Dramatic changes aside, without hesitation, Maggie exclaims “Antarctica’s terrestrial and marine environments are simply amazing to experience and continue to fascinate me. I can’t wait to return!” Video link: https://youtu.be/CEm4przWO-Q


Protecting Our Natural Heritage is in Our Hands
Pat Byington, with “Birmingham Now” talks about some historic environmental wins over the years, leaders that helped with those wins and he says in the future, making the issues personal will help tell the story today and hopefully result in more wins.  His challenge is to talk to leaders and tell the story why our environment is important to save. Video link: https://youtu.be/jufjZsEqPds

Multifaceted Mudbugs: The Story of Alabama’s Charismatic Crayfish
Dr. Rebecca Bearden, Biologist has two degrees from Auburn University and her Ph.D. from The University of Alabama. She works for the Geological Survey of Alabama. Her presentation talks about discoveries and mysteries about Crayfish. October 13, 2022 – Video link: https://youtu.be/8Mn5ctpW4To

Bringing Butterflies to Your Yard
August presentation: Dr. Cybulsky was born in Canada, moved to Birmingham in 1977, and led a private practice. After retirement in 2014, he became an avid gardener, completed his Advance Master Gardener certification in gardening for butterflies!
August 11, 2022 – Video link: https://youtu.be/gFFseZarDxc

Greg Harber teaches about Bird markings, sounds, and unique habits
April presentation: Greg Harber is an expert “Birder” in the Birmingham, Alabama area. At the April Friends of Shades Creek meeting, he showed photos of common and uncommon birds of our area, told about unique habits and played recordings of songs these birds make. By watching and listening to this video, you will be rewarded in knowing more about birds in central Alabama.
April 14, 2022 – Video link: https://youtu.be/UVm1xI64Eq0

Edgewood Lake photos, and Birmingham to Tuscaloosa on Birmingham Mineral Rail Road (BMRR)
February presentation with James Lowery: 1. Area rivers and mountains 2. Aerial photos of Edgewood lake and Shades Creek 3. Take a ride on the Birmingham Mineral Railroad (BMRR) from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa.
February 10, 2022 – Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8aUXdGoEqM&t=5s

2021 Friends of Shades Creek Educational Monthly Meetings

Underground Birmingham, presentation with Jeff Newman,
Jeff takes us on a pictorial journey deep inside the cold, dark and long abandoned mining tunnels, he has been exploring since he was 16, that are now buried and hiding along the ridge of Birmingham’s Red Mountain, including mines at Red Mountain Park which is in the Shades Creek Watershed.
December 9, 2021 – Video link: https://youtu.be/wxF5lh4V96U

Presentation by Jack West, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Policy & Advocacy Director.
Jack brings legal experience from corporate private practice, as well as an entrepreneurial background to ARA. Jack is a Birmingham native and grew up camping in Cheaha State Park, fishing in Lake Guntersville, and backpacking Alabama’s Pinhoti Trail. He previously founded a technology company at Birmingham’s Innovation Depot. Jack will talk about some of ARA’s current programs and priorities.
November 11, 2021 – Video link: https://youtu.be/JFZZ_UmUzRA

Presentation by David Butler, Official Riverkeeper and staff attorney.
Cahaba Riverkeeper was founded in 2009 to defend the ecological integrity of the Cahaba River and its watershed, hear the challenges
October 14, 2021 – Video link: https://youtu.be/R484KDiZj4s

Presentation by Dr. Scot Duncan, Biology Professor, Birmingham Southern College
Climate impacts to Southeastern Rivers: Challenges and Solutions
September 9, 2021 – Video link:  https://youtu.be/tDfUNZZwh9g

Presentation by Ben Wegleitner, River Sustainability Director, Cahaba River Society
Tipping Points and Ecological Stressors
August 12, 2021 – Video link:  https://youtu.be/fn20l6tIX_A

Outdoor Meeting at Sim’s Garden in Homewood
Outdoors with Steve Bender, Southern Living Gardening Writer (The Grumpy Gardener)
May 1, 2021 – (live outdoors, no recording)

Presentation by Jason Throneberry, Director of Freshwater Programs,
The Nature Conservancy in Alabama
Fish Passage from the Gulf of Mexico to the Cahaba River
April 8, 2021 – Video link:  https://youtu.be/p-p7ew5QFBw

Presentation by Beau Brodbeck, PhD
With the Alabama Cooperative Extension System Planning for and protection of trees during construction projects, large or small
March 11, 2021 – Video link:  https://youtu.be/SNy3eA-6OlU

Presentation by Amy Milam, Resident Caretaker of Sim’s Garden in Homewood
Sims Garden – Pocket Park Garden: The history, challenges and successes of this gem
February 11, 2021 – Video link:  https://youtu.be/-tcDOOjYAyI

Presentation by Ben Raines, Journalist, Filmmaker, Author
Saving America’s Amazon, The threat to our nation’s most biodiverse river system
January 14, 2021 – Video link:  https://youtu.be/Ze0IPUxPdt0