The Wonders of Alabama


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The Wonders of Alabama

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The Wonders of Alabama

  1. 1. Session Two WondersThe Wonders of AlabamaPreparations Education: 25 minutesArrange a classroom table “altar” Teach from the following.with a cloth, a candle, a clear As we learn more about “Water-container with water, and a Bible sheds and Warming” – that is,open to Deuteronomy 8:7. Before how our home waters are relatedparticipants arrive, familiarize to climate change – our focus to-yourself with the Legacy posters, day is The Wonders of that you can refer to them as What is so significant about the During the last ice age, as glaciersyou share information about the lakes, rivers, streams and water advanced southward, they pushedWonders of Alabama. Decorate features of our Diocese, and the nutrient-rich topsoil ahead ofthe room with the posters that state of Alabama? them, right into Alabama. (Referwill be referred to in today’s Ses- to Legacy “Soils of Alabama”sion. As class begins, invite par- The World Wildlife Fund, whose poster.) The glaciers themselvesticipants to add their gifts to the support contributed to this Guide did not reach as far south astable “altar” – representing the (, Alabama, so we did not experi-beauty and wonder of Alabama. has targeted 200 places world- ence their adverse effects. These wide for their focus over the factors contribute to our rich bio-Reflection: 10 minutes next 50 years. Out of these select diversity. (Refer to Legacy “Ala-1. Prayer 200 places around planet Earth, bama’s Water Resources” poster.)We thank you Almighty God, for the WWF is focusing more closelygift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit on just 19 places – worldwidemoved in the beginning of creation. – between now and 2015. OneThrough it you led the children of Is- of their top-focus 19 places israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the combined Tennessee Riverthe land of promise. In it your Son and Mobile Basins. This includesJesus received the baptism of John and most of the state of Alabama,was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the and therefore the Diocese of Ala-Messiah, the Christ… To him, to you bama. The region of our Dioceseand to the Holy Spirit, be all honor is among the most biologicallyand glory, now and for ever. Amen. diverse and beautiful geographi- The region of our Diocese(BCP p. 306, excerpt from the Thanksgivingover the Water) cal areas in the world. Our rivers is among the most and streams are the richest in biologically diverse2. Someone reads the Scripture North America, and among the and beautifulFor the Lord your God is bringing richest on Earth. And we haveyou into a good land, a land with just named several wondrous geographical areasflowing streams, with springs and places and features of God’s Cre- in the world.underground waters welling up in ation in Alabama.valleys and hills. Deuteronomy 8:7 NRSV The term “biologically diverse”3. Meditation is used to describe the numberInvite participants to meditate of different organisms that livequietly for one minute and then naturally and thrive in our identify special places in Ala- Alabama’s rich diversity existsbama, particularly those in and because our state is uniquelyaround water (lake, river, creek, located where some of the greatbeach, Camp McDowell, etc.) landscapes of North AmericaMake a list on newsprint. come together. Watersheds and Warming 2-1 35% post-consumer content
  2. 2. Session TwoWonders Topography/Landscapes highest-ranked state east of the Alabama has a broad range of Mississippi. To travel the scope topographies or landscapes. of the Diocese of Alabama and the length of our state from the At the south end of the state, the Gulf Islands to the Cumberland Gulf of Mexico creates beaches, Mountains is an experience of dunes and coastal habitats that the incredible richness of God’s support a wealth of plants and Creation. animals. (Refer to Legacy “Plants of Alabama” and “Wildlife of Alabama” posters.) A Network of Water Courses (Refer to Legacy “Alabama’s Further inland, great pine forests Water Resources” poster.) Fresh dominated by longleaf pine once water is always moving through stretched across more than 2/3 the State and among the different of Alabama. The remnants of physiographic regions described these forests contain a unique above. (See the Alabama River and rich diversity of plants and map from http://alabamamaps. animals; indeed, the plant diver- About 8% of the fresh- sity of longleaf pine forests is the water in the continental U.S. richest in North America. Places originates in or flows through like the Bankhead National For- Alabama. Our state has more est (near Camp McDowell) con- navigable rivers (1,438 miles) tain elements of both the coastal than any other state. pine and Appalachian hardwood For the Lord your God forests and contain a rich tapes- High in the mountains, rocky is bringing you try of species from both regions. streams and creeks fall through into a good land, (Refer to Legacy “Common Trees the forests, joining together into a land with flowing streams, of Alabama” poster.) increasingly larger streams and with springs eventually small rivers. At the northern end of Alabama and underground waters the Cumberland Plateau is home There are a number of small welling up to the rugged mountains and and medium rivers crossed by in valleys and hills. deep caves that contain a wealth Alabama citizens every day of species that make the Appala- – the Paint Rock, the Cahaba, Deuteronomy 8:7 NRSV chians one of the biological “hot- the Sipsey, the Choctawhatchee, spots” on the entire continent. the Perdido. These small rivers Alabama ranks first among the and their headwater streams are 50 states for cave diversity – the among the most biologically rich number of different life forms freshwaters on Earth. that live underground. Two Great River Systems Plants and Animals Most of Alabama’s small rivers Plants and animals, on the land, flow into one of two great river in the water, and underground– systems of North America. all of these species make our state of Alabama fifth-ranked In north Alabama, they flow among all the U. S. states for into the Tennessee River, one biological diversity, and the of the great biological treasures2-2 Watersheds and Warming 35% post-consumer content
  3. 3. Session Two Wonderson the continent. The Tennessee Alabama has more speciesflows into the Mississippi River. of mussels, freshwater snails, crayfish, freshwater turtles andIn south Alabama, most of the damselflies than any other state.rivers flow into the Mobile Riversystem which ends in the Ten- (Source for watershed informa-saw Delta and Mobile Bay. Like tion, pages 2-3: Jeff Danter andthe Tennessee River, the Coosa/ The Nature Conservancy http://Tallapoosa/Alabama system of, and the Tombigbee/BlackWarrior system, have been ofgreat importance to the develop- Summationment of our state, and are also Return to the newsprint. Inviteamong the biologically richest participants to another minuteriver systems on Earth. of silence. Then, as time allows, add to your list of special water- shed places.Biological DiversityBecause of the rich biologicalheritage of Alabama, our stateis one of the most popular forecological research, conservationefforts and naturalists.Alabama is ranked among thetop 10 states for reptiles and am-phibians, and is home to a largenumbers of species of mam-mals and birds. (Refer to Legacy“Wildlife of Alabama” poster.)Birdwatchers arrive annuallyfrom around the country to expe-rience bird migrations, contribut-ing to the state’s economy.According to The Nature Con-servancy Alabama ranks #1among the 50 states for fresh-water diversity, the number ofspecies that live in our rivers and Our human body is 60% water,streams. 4 billion year recycled waterAlabama has more species of that comes fromfreshwater fish than any other the riversstate. The Cahaba River alone and streamscontains 135 species of fish, of Earth’s waters.compared to 99 species that exist Healthy rivers and streamsin the entire state of California. are crucial to the future of life -(Refer to Legacy “Fishes of Ala-bama” poster.) and there are no refills. Watersheds and Warming 2-3 35% post-consumer content
  4. 4. Session TwoWondersAction: 10 minutes Prayer We join with the earthInvite participants to select one We give you thanks, most gracious and with each other.or more of the following Care of God, for the beauty of earth and sky To bring new life to the landCreation activities. and sea; for the richness of moun- To restore the waters tains, plains, and rivers; for the songs To refresh the air1. As you pray, worship, study of birds and the loveliness of flowers. We join with the earthand work this week, notice vari- We praise you for these good gifts, and with each other.ous features that contribute to and pray that we may safeguard themthe beauty, wonder, and natural for posterity. Grant that we may con- To renew the forestsbiodiversity of the Diocese of Al- tinue to grow in our grateful enjoy- To care for the plantsabama. Invite family and friends ment of your abundant creation, to To protect the creaturesto notice too. Write what you the honor and glory of your Name, We join with the earthfind in a journal or notebook, now and forever. Amen. and with each other.take photos, sketch images, or Thanksgiving for the Beauty of the Earth,look for pictures in magazines. BCP p. 840 #8 To celebrate the seasBring your reflections/ images To rejoice in the sunlightto place on the table “altar” for To sing the song of the starsSession Three. We join with the earth and with each other.2. When rain falls at your church To recreate the human communityor at home, where does it go? To promote justice and peaceDelineate the route that water To remember our childrentakes from your home site to the We join with the earthriver, or groundwater. Describe and with each the waters of baptism foryour parish get from their source We join togetherto the baptismal font. as many and diverse expressions of one loving mystery:3. Bring pictures of your home for the healing of the Earthriver or stream to place on the and the renewal of all life.table “altar” for Session Three. Prayer from U.N. Environmental Sabbath Program Earth Prayers From Around the World, p. 94 Resources: Wading in the Waters beautiful and informative posters used in this session, along with other resources, are produced byLegacy, Inc. Their website contains a wealth of information for citizens. To order your own set of posters, godirectly to the poster page by using the address below. One free set is available to each citizen of Alabama.Remember to put an “underline” in the space between “materials” and “poster.” is a beautiful website. It features Beth Maynor Young’s photographs. As you click on the photo for a par-ticular watershed, the site will open to an enlarged photo, plus that watershed with its river and tributariessuperimposed on a map of Alabama, outlined by county. Under the picture you can click on a topic of inter-est and will find not only good information but usually more pictures. This site is wonderful. This websitegives information about the wonders of our biodiversity, with beautiful photos of our rivers and pictures ofriver creatures. It also connects to the EPA watershed site for access to even more information. Have fun!2-4 Watersheds and Warming 35% post-consumer content