Civic Involvement

Over the past 15 years I have been involved in a number of volunteer projects, which I will briefly describe below.

Alabama Environmental Council

The Alabama Environmental Council is based in Birmingham, Alabama, and is a statewide, non-profit environmental organization engaging citizens toward sustainable living and stewardship of the environment. In particular, the AEC runs drop-off recycle points in and around Birmingham where citizens can recycle solid waste. The organization is active in clean water-clean air efforts in Alabama, and it partners frequently with other organizations in the area to achieve common environmental goals. I served as President of the Board of AEC for two years while living in Birmingham.

Birmingham Audubon Society

Birmingham Audubon is one of the oldest environmental organizations in Alabama. Although it focuses on birding, Birmingham Audubon has an active Conservation Committee that participates in advocacy for habitat preservation and it supports other organizations in the region when it shares their environmental concerns. I was a member of their Board of Directors for a number of years, and beginning in the late 1990s I secured their domain name and designed and maintained their first three Web sites (including the current site that is here).

Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform (ACCR)

Alabama has the longest constitution in the world, with over 800 amendments. The constitution of Alabama has a jaded history, having been designed in 1901 by an all-male group of legislators dominated by mill and large plantation owners. The constitution disfranchised several groups of Alabama citizens including poor whites and blacks. Much of the constitution has been rendered unconstitutional by amendments to the U.S. constitution or by federal law. Because the current constitution gives so much power to the legislature in Montgomery (there is no home rule in the constitution except by state-wide constitutional amendment), local governments are often unable to govern and must seek statewide constitutional amendments to carry out even the most benign local governmental function. For example, one city has a constitutional amendment that allows it to spray for mosquitoes. A citizens' group was formed in the 1990s to launch a grass-roots movement to change the constitution of Alabama. I participated in this state-wide effort for a number of years and served as the president of the Birmingham chapter of ACCR.

Southern Progressive Alliance for Exploring Religion (SPAFER)

SPAFER is an organization of lay people and clergy who bring speakers to Birmingham twice a year to speak on various aspects of religion or spirituality. All of the speakers are published authors and well-know authorities and scholars in various aspects of religion. The organization is a non-profit, self-supporting group that has between 75 and 150 paying members at any given time. I served on the Board of Directors for SPAFER for a number of years and was president of the organization for two years.

North Texas Master Naturalist

In the winter and spring of 2014 I completed the training for Master Naturalist through the north Texas chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist organization. Since then I have volunteered with various non-profit agencies to earn certification for 2014 and 2015. In addition, I became certified as a native plant landscape designer in 2014.