When Spring arrives, the Earth is renewed, the Resurrection is celebrated and you have to believe something good is about to happen. But Spring is a fickle lady… some days are beautiful and some days are filled with dark clouds, nowhere is that more true than right here in Alabama- the third wettest state in our nation. Alabama Public Television debuted the documentary a few months ago- America’s Amazon and guess where it is? Right here in Alabama the Beautiful! As we commemorate Earth Day, our opportunity to be good stewards of the world we live in- it is our hope that whether this is your home state or not, you will appreciate this amazing place filled with Oaks so ancient they’ve grown beards or wear gray veils, a place with dozens of species of oaks, pine forests so fresh, Cypress swamps, whole stands of magnolias, and endangered species of delicate pitcher plants, wild orchids and Cahaba Lilies. Magnificent waterfalls, rushing streams, sugar sand beaches, the Delta’s own region including Mobile Bay- from top to bottom earthborn beauty abounds! There is enough water running through Alabama rivers and streams to encircle planet Earth five times!
- That’s-132,000 miles of rivers, 10% of the fresh water in the continental United States flows through or originates in Alabama!
- There are 350 species of freshwater fish- a full one third of all known species also in the nationally known species in the continuous States.
- Native to Alabama are- 38% of North American fish, 43% of North American freshwater snails.
- There are 84 species of Crawfish (Louisiana has 32), !8 species of Turtles- now, that is more species than the actual Amazon River… more, in fact than any river system on planet Earth!
Alabama prides herself in Wild Shrimp, Blue Crab and Royal Reds. And… the Spaniards nicknamed Mobile Bay- ‘the Bay of the Holy Spirit for a phenomena known as the ‘Jubilee’, which happens only one other place on earth- and it is said not to be exactly the same…the oxygen level goes down in the bay and the fish start jumping! All sorts of delicacies rise to the top for the taking- crab, shrimp, fish- folks wade out into the bay with nets and fill coolers with the bounty! The conditions must be exactly right, the timing is never predictable though folks who live there say that there are some who can sense a Jubilee is coming!
For all of this bounty and beauty- there is a downside… water runoff from at least four states runs through Alabama which includes our own and others’ industrial wastes, construction site waste and pollution, this is our opportunity to do our part to preserve America’s Amazon. Sadly, we are not a state full of tree-huggers or of lawmakers who have passed strict environmental laws but there are a significant number of folks who have decided to do their part –
- ‘Renew Our Rivers’ is in their 18th year on the Alabama River
- years ago- a group of concerned citizens began clean up on the Cahaba River, and similar groups who care for the Warrior River, the Tombigbee River and the Coosa River which runs through my own county.
- Alabama’s Delta is of special importance- thousands of acres of swampland is being preserved in Mobile County,
- and the Alabama Nature Partners-
- Now, this wonderful documentary America’s Amazon is drawing public support. You can purchase the DVD through Alabama Public Television and other DVD retailers!
- You can even download the incredible map at no cost through Alabama Water Watch!
The map alone inspires me to do my part to preserve Alabama the Beautiful! Camellia’s Cottage wishes all of you a blessed Earth Day, something good is bound to happen this Spring!
Love y’all, Camellia
*the photographs of Live Oaks are posted in loving memory of our own Delta girl, Denis, who chose to live in Magnolia Springs and lovingly shared her expertise and these amazing photographs with us- we will always love you. The sunset photograph is by our own Jeremy Miniard, posted again in memory of Denis who adored sunsets just as we do. For more information and stunning photographs go to: www.al.com/americas-amazon/ To download the map- go to Alabama Water Watch