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Urban Environmental Studies

Opportunities for Involvement

There are several local institutions and organizations that take an active role in promoting sustainability in the region and state. Many BSC students have worked with these organizations, and their doors are often open to those wishing to volunteer their time. Paid internships are available for qualified students. Contact UES Administrator Francesca Gross fgross@bsc.edu 226-7755 

Students in the field

  • The Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is owned by Alabama's Forever Wild Program and co-managed by BSC Southern Environmental Center and the Freshwater Land Trust. The tract is managed as a nature preserve for the endangered vermilion darter and hosts a number of passive recreational opportunities, including hiking, wading, fly fishing and nature photography. BSC alumni Charles Yeager is the current manager.

  • Alabama Environmental Council - The Alabama Environmental Council (AEC), is an educational and grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of Alabama's natural environment and health. AEC works to build environmental awareness, promote the wise management of our natural resources, and ensure the protection of Alabama's diverse natural heritage.Dr. Duncan

  • Alabama Rivers Alliance - The mission of the Alabama Rivers Alliance is to unite the citizens of Alabama to protect clean, healthy waters. They team with the Southern Environmental Law Center on the Alabama Water Agenda: A Guide for Achieving Healthy Water in Alabama.

  • Alabama Wildlife Rehabilitation Center - Located in Oak Mountain State Park, the AWRC is Alabama's oldest and largest wildlife rehabilitation center. More than 3,000 injured and orphaned wild creatures are cared for each year, including almost 2,000 birds representing more than 100 species. Volunteers are always welcomed.

  • Associated Colleges of the South - BSC is a member of the Associated Colleges of the South, and is an active participant in its Environmental Program. Faculty, students, and student organizations have received several grants from ACS's Environmental Program. If you have an idea that needs funding, or want to know more about ACS's program, please visit www.colleges.org.

  • Birmingham Audubon Society - is dedicated to the conservation and greater knowledge of birds and other wildlife. They sponsor The Audubon Mountain Workshop a four-day camp focusing on the ecology and natural history of Alabama.  Birmingham-Southern biology faculty often teach classes during the workshop.

  • Black Warrior Riverkeeper – is a strong local river advocacy organization with a mission to protect and restore the Black Warrior River and its tributaries.  They focus on patrolling waterways, educating the public, and holding polluters accountable. BSC students are welcome as interns or volunteers.   

  • Cahaba River Society - is Alabama's largest watershed conservation organization and is recognized nationally for river stewardship. Their success is due to its balanced, science-based, and inclusive approach. Their mission is to restore and protect the Cahaba River watershed, its rich diversity of life, and the quality of the drinking water that the river supplies to 25% of Alabama's population. BSC students and alumni work with CRS to help it achieve its goals including educational field trips.

  • Camp McDowell Environmental Center - CMEC is the camp and conference center for the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama. With a strong emphasis on environmental education since 1948, people of all faiths and backgrounds have used these facilities to rest, learn, grow, worship, and play. The Camp McDowell Environmental Center and Feathers in Focus (Raptor Program) provide outstanding environmental education for thousands of students every year. Each year CMEC recruits volunteers and counselors for their summer camp programs.

  • The Freshwater Land Trust - The Freshwater Land Trust's mission is the acquisition and stewardship of lands that enhance water quality and preserve open space in Jefferson County, AL, as part of the Jefferson County Greenways Program. FLT works to ensure that everyone wins: landowners, businesses, and communities alike. BSC students have worked with the land on a variety of projects and internships. Urban Environmental Studies graduate Rebekha Pine Parsons is the land steward.

  • Jones Valley Teaching Farm -a growing non-profit organization that produces and promotes organic produce and nutrition programs in the Birmingham area.  Jones Valley has a 3-acre downtown farm and works with local schools in food education.

  • The Nature Conservancy - Alabama Chapter - The mission of TNC is to preserve the plants, animals, and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. Since 1951, TNC has been working with communities, businesses, and citizens to protect nearly 117 million acres around the world. BSC has placed interns in their excellent summer internship program.

  • Railroad Park- is a 19-acre green space in downtown Birmingham that celebrates the industrial and artistic heritage of our great city. Located on 1st Avenue South, between 14th and 18th Streets, the park is a joint effort between the City of Birmingham and the Railroad Park Foundation. The park is used as a lab and field trip venue for many Birmingham Southern classes. Executive Director Camille Spratling, is a BSC alumni and former employee of the college.

  • Red Mountain Park - isthe third and at over 1,000 acres the largest park in Birmingham’s three parks initiative.  Formerly owned and by U.S. Steel Corporation, the park will serve as an industrial archaeology museum and recreational area combining mining history with accessible trails for walking, hiking, biking and more.  

  • Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham-is responsible for conducting and coordinating most major urban planning efforts in the Greater-Birmingham region, including public transit, land use, and urban growth. They have supported BSC interns in urban planning and Geographic Information System (GIS) training.

  • Ruffner Mountain Nature Center - is a 1,100-acre nature preserve in the heart of Birmingham dedicated to preservation, education, and recreation for everyone. The new LEED certified Treehouse and Back Porch Complex hosts educational classes and weekend events. BSC students learn invaluable skills in conservation planning and park management through internship and service learning on Ruffner Mountain.

  • Southern Environmental Center  - on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College, is the largest educational facility of its kind in Alabama and can handle groups of up to 100 visitors at a time. In addition to its award-winning Interactive Museum and EcoScape Gardens, the SEC is also active in the community. It has initiated a number of model partnerships targeting water quality, smog, and urban sprawl. BSC students benefit from numerous connections to local projects and partnerships.