HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Dr. Doug Phillips, host of “Discovering Alabama” on Alabama Public Television, recently visited Wallace State for Earth Day activities.
Phillips’s appearance on campus attracted a mixture of Wallace State students and community members, filling three classrooms at the Wallace State School of Nursing and Center for Science Building. The presentation was simulcast to the additional rooms.
Phillips discussed the abundance of natural riches Alabamians are able to enjoy in their home state before presenting a few opening clips from “Discovering Alabama” episodes.
“I find that many of us have a roadmap perspective of our state. It’s a common perspective and understandable. We tell someone to look for McDonald’s and turn by the Baptist Church,” Phillips said. “I like to show people another image we should have of Alabama. Our state is one of the most naturally-rich, diverse places on Earth. Alabama is more geological diverse than any state other than California.”
Phillips said Alabama is home to 300 different soil types, including to some of the best soils in the world, and there are more than 70 different forest communities and more tree species in Alabama than in any other state.
Additionally, Alabama has some of the greatest aquatic diversity in the world, and there are 70,000 miles of rivers and streams in the state.
Phillips took questions from the audience after they were treated to segments from “Discovering Alabama,” which won two Emmy Awards in the 2011 National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Southeast competition for exploring the trauma and uncertainty imposed on humans, animals and ecosystems by the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010.
The “Discovering Alabama” series is a production of the Alabama Museum of Natural History and in cooperation with the Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio (CPTR) Alabama Public Television (APT). The series, which airs each Sunday at noon on APT, also has a strong partnership with Alabama State Department of Education.
During the question-and-answer session, Phillips said one of the biggest ecological issues facing Alabama is the lack of urgency to protect rural areas in the state.
“The loss of the rural landscape in the problem we are facing in Alabama long-term. The sky is not falling right now, but it’s changing faster than you think. All you have to do is look at other states where 30 to 40 years ago there was nothing but 20 miles of countryside. Those places are now subdivisions or new bypasses,” Phillips said.
Phillips currently serves as the Coordinator for Environmental Information and Education with the Alabama Museum of Natural History at the University of Alabama. He has pioneered many other important Alabama initiatives for education and conservation, including the acclaimed model school curriculum, “Discovering Our Heritage: Incorporating Environmental Education to Integrate the Teaching of History, Geography, Science, Mathematics, and Language Arts – A Community Collaborative Approach,” and the nationally-recognized model for wildland conservation, the Alabama Forever Wild Program.
With Phillips’s visit, Wallace State continued its tradition of recognizing Earth Day each year, whether by inviting special guests like Phillips or planting trees on campus to commemorate the event.
Earth Day activities are sponsored each year by the Wallace State Green Team.
For more information about Wallace State, visit wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu
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Administrator, The Evelyn Burrow Museum
Wallace State Community College
801 Main Street NW | Hanceville, AL 35077
Office: 256.352.8118 | Cell: 256.339.2519 | Toll Free: 866.350.9722