Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-iv

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. v-vi

List of Figures

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Foreword

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-xiii

This book comes at a time when many Americans doubt they can make a significant difference in our political system and government. They want to; they are just not sure how. Although the subject here is the Alabama Environmental Quality Association (AEQA), the book is about much more than that. It is a case study focusing on what everyday citizens can accomplish by joining forces. It is a story of the power of the associations and networks citizens can build....

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xiii-xvi

Sometimes history takes us places we have never been. Sometimes it takes us back to times and places we have long forgotten. Sometimes it does both.

That is what I discovered when, in the fall of 2013, I began working with Martha McInnis to chronicle the history of the Alabama Environmental Quality Association (AEQA), a once powerful but now virtually forgotten environmental education organization that existed in Alabama from the late 1960s through the early...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xvii-xx

Writing a history of a bygone organization the likes of the Alabama Environmental Quality Association (AEQA), an institution that shut its doors more than four decades ago and has been long out of the public eye, could have been a daunting endeavor. But it was not, and that is because I had access to so many people and archival resources that it was an embarrassment of riches for which I am very grateful.

I am first and foremost grateful to Martha McInnis, the woman who was the life force of the AEQA for some sixteen...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xxi-xxiv

The history of environmental movements is long and complicated, a story of successes and failures that has of­ten been driven by grassroots, bottom-up, citizen-driven action at its finest. Sometimes the organizers of such movements are fiery crusaders. At other times they are cool pragmatists. But regardless of the differences in style, they all share an intense, ardent desire to protect and preserve the natural world, and they do not hesitate to voice their concerns to their fellow citizens, particularly people in the position to effect...

read more

1. An Accidental Advocacy

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-9

There is nothing like riding the back roads of Alabama—the back roads of any state for that matter—to get a picture of a community and of human society that is sometimes distressing.

It was on just such back roads in Dale County during the 1960s that rural mail carrier Lance Tompkins saw both the beauty of his Wiregrass region of Alabama and the ugliness of society’s residue. Trash littered the shoulders of the roads and piles of cast-off junk—from household garbage to the shells of derelict cars and rusted...

read more

2. A Suggestion Becomes a Movement

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 10-20

“I didn’t know too much about what could be done,” admitted McInnis of the rural cleanup project that had been handed to her and her committee. Still, since she subscribed to a “no such thing as can’t” philosophy (something she had learned from her former University of Alabama professor and mentor Henrietta Thompson), McInnis set to work.

One of her first contacts was A. W. Jones, a retired economist in Auburn University’s School of Agriculture (now College of...

read more

3. “Sweeping” Change: Women’s Rural Cleanup Campaign Expands

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 21-28

“There’s a large broom with many pushers sweeping over the state. And here’s a warning to beware, lest you be swept up in the biggest cleanup effort Alabama has seen in a long time.” These words, written by the AFB’s Department of Information Director Charles McCay in an article in the January 1969 issue of AREA magazine, captured the popular metaphor of brooms (and mops) becoming the tools for “sweeping” changes in Alabama that were being led by a group of ardent and energized Farm Bureau...

read more

4. Building an Environmental Conscience and Structure

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-32

As the decade of the 1970s began, more and more Alabama communities joined the effort to clean up the state, and McInnis and her band of volunteers continued to expand their efforts and cause within the state and beyond. Their sense of purpose was also filtering into state government, as signaled by an increase in environmental legislation being brought to state lawmakers, much of which was championed by State Representative Phil Smith.

He and other legislators began introducing bills to address myriad environmental issues, from strengthening the state’s...

read more

5. Structuring for the Future

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 33-39

While waiting to hear about the National Environmental Education grant, McInnis, Bloomer, and others in the state continued to assemble support for environmental quality efforts, finding another strong ally in the governor’s office.

George Wallace, who was again governor after defeating Albert Brewer in a close and heated election the previous year, proclaimed April 1972 as “Environmental Quality Month,” the first of what was to be many years when an entire month, not just a week or weekend,...

read more

6. Formulating a Master Plan

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 40-43

The first regional meeting to begin developing the master plan was held in Montgomery on January 9, 1973, followed by others throughout the month in each of the state’s other regions. These town meeting–style events allowed anyone and everyone to speak their minds and offer input, continuing the grassroots-driven mission begun almost a decade before by Lance Tompkins.

McInnis and Gilliland also began traveling across the state presenting programs to community and civic groups. They carried with...

read more

7. A Dream Team: The AEQA’s First Staff

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 44-49

With the release of the master plan and with funding in place from revenue sharing monies, the AEQA was finally able to hire a fulltime staff. Among those staff positions was an executive director, a project/field service director to work with the regional councils, a communications manager, and an office manager.

McInnis, who had been splitting her time between her AFB and AEQA roles, was faced with a big decision: stay with the Farm Bureau, where by that time she had worked for seven years, or move...

read more

8. Big Issues, Big Names, Big Ideas

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 50-56

With a full-time staff in place, the AEQA began addressing a broad array of resource management and environmental issues, ranging from recycling to clear-cutting, pesticide use to strip mining, and many others, all based on the unique needs of each Alabama community.

According to Frank Filgo, those needs varied greatly across the state; accordingly, the AEQA tried to address each one in turn. “Surface mining was a big issue in Northwest Alabama,” he recalled. “Water pollution was a concern in the Mobile area. In the rural areas...

read more

9. Blazing New Trails at Home and in the Region

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 57-66

Since its beginning, the AEQA was involved in the preservation of scenic and historic trails and sites, from working to help establish the Chinnabee Silent Trail in Talladega National Forest as a National Recreational Trail to helping kick-start an effort to clean up and preserve Old Cahawba, the site of Alabama’s first state capitol in Dallas County. But among its greatest and longest-lasting contributions to historic and natural preservation was its work in establishing the Bartram Trail...

read more

10. Teaching Teachers

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 67-70

Because environmental education was the AEQA’s top priority, McInnis was always looking for fresh, innovative educational programming opportunities, and, in 1980, she found an ideal prospect through a new employee, Mike Schrier.

Schrier had come to Alabama from Michigan six years earlier to join the faculty in the College of Education at Auburn UniversityMontgomery. In addition to teaching upperclassmen and graduate students at AUM, Schrier also used his background in fisheries...

read more

11. Ramping Up Recycling

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 71-81

Recycling had been a major focus of the AEQA’s work from its beginnings, but those efforts gained greater momentum when, in March 1974, the association collaborated with Alabama Public Television and other local sponsors to host a statewide recycling weekend, a “first-of-its-kind venture.”

The following year, the AEQA’s programs were highlighted on a national stage, as the organization was invited to present a paper at the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science’s...

read more

12. Developing PRIDE

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 82-85

In 1979, during the annual awards luncheon in Montgomery, the AEQA unveiled a new initiative—Project PRIDE, a community improvement program designed to help towns and cities prepare for the future while protecting the environment through planned sustainable growth and development. When the program was officially announced, PRIDE (an acronym for Private Revitalization in Developing the Environment) was described as “a structured community improvement program whose flexibility makes it adaptable to...

read more

13. Saving Parker Island

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 86-92

In the fall of 1980 a new land and heritage preservation effort began when, in October, it was announced that foreign investors were poised to buy Parker Island, a roughly two thousand–acre site located at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers near Fort Toulouse and home to a number of ancient Native American mounds.

The island was privately owned by a group of Florida-based partners who had purchased the land in 1948 but wanted to sell the island and reinvest the money in farmland near Quincy, Florida....

read more

14. Doors Close, Legacies Continue

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 93-98

“One of the most imaginative environmental groups in the country.” These were the words that David Mathews, president of the Kettering Foundation in Ohio, used to describe the AEQA when he delivered the keynote address at the association’s fifteenth annual awards luncheon in June 1983.

Mathews could speak those words from a position of experience. The former president of the University of Alabama and head of the US Office of Health, Education, and Welfare had worked with...

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 99-102