Friends of Oak Mountain.
I serve as a scientific advisor to Friends of Oak Mountain (FOM), a coalition
of citizen and non-profit organizations who care deeply about Oak Mountain
State Park. This park is located 25 minutes south of Birmingham, and at
9000+ acres, is the largest state park in Alabama. The park has a tremendous
amount of biological diversity, especially its expanse of mountain longleaf
pine forest. I advise FOM on issues of forest ecology and biodiversity
conservation in the park. Working closely with several members of the
group, we drafted the "A Call for a Biodiversity Conservation Plan
for Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama" (see link below) Finished in
June 2004, this document makes a strong and detailed case to the Department
of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), within which State Parks
is administered, that clear guidelines are needed for managing the natural
areas of the park in order to ensure that the biological diversity that
make the park unique is preserved for future generations. Whether DCNR
will adopt the recommendations and begin the process of developing a biodiversity
conservation plan (BCP) remains to be seen.
Call for a Biodiversity Conservation Plan for Oak Mountain State Park,
Oak Mountain State Park Interpretive Center Steering Committee.
Samford University has spearheaded a move to build an interpretive center
at Oak Mountain State Park. Several groups are involved with the planning
of this center including DCNR and Alabama State Parks, Alabama Wildlife
Rehabilitation Center, and Friends of Oak Mountain. As is currently envisioned,
research and educational activities in the park will be integrated and
coordinated through the Interpretive center. Due, in part, to my role
in ecological research in the park, I was invited to join the committee
in these initial planning stages.