UWA reaches out to promote region’s natural resources

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, October 6, 2010

LIVINGSTON – The University of West Alabama’s Black Belt Conservation and Research Institute is making significant strides toward the environmental protection of the region.

In a recent Alabama Certified Prescribed Burn Manager recertification workshop, 85 area land managers in received recertification necessary to continue their own efforts in conservation.

Led by Kent Hanby Prescribe Fire Training Program, the recertification workshop qualified participants for six continuing forestry education credits for certified prescribed burn managers, members of Society of American Foresters, regulation foresters, and professional logging managers.

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According to Dr. Lee Stanton, director of the BBCRI and assistant professor of biological and environmental sciences at UWA, such programs are necessary for the study and preservation of the region’s natural environment and thus essential to the organization’s outreach mission.

“Foresters, biologists and land managers regularly use fire as a tool to promote native vegetation and enhance wildlife. Even though the use of fire is relatively inexpensive, the knowledge required for safe application and the liability that comes along with it is significant. The workshop presented new techniques for creating a safe burn plan and predicting fire and smoke behavior,” Stanton explained.

Organizing workshops and conferences to provide current management information such as this to Black Belt landowners is one of the primary goals of the BBCRI.

“By working with local, state and private agencies and researchers at other universities, we are in a position to provide both accurate and useful information to those interested in protecting the regions natural resources,” Stanton said.

The BBCRI is a program of UWA’s Center for the Study of the Black Belt, whose mission includes encouraging scholars and citizens to address the region’s challenges by promoting its abundant and unique natural historical, and cultural resources.

Stanton hopes to see continued success in similar presentations that enhance the Center’s mission.

“Our campus facilities at Land Hall, Alfa Hall, and the Bell Conference Center are equipped with the latest in presentation technology and can accommodate up to 200 participants. We are proud to have these facilities and the support of UWA in keeping with our mission to provide regional landowners with information to help maintain the unique natural ecology of the Black Belt.

For more information workshop hosted by the BBCRI or to plan a workshop, please contact Lee Stanton at lstanton@uwa.edu or 205-652-3415.