After one visit, it is easy to see that Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is a treasure worth protecting. However, it has not always been that way. It has taken the efforts of countless individuals, over many years of hard work, to ensure that TCNP is preserved for future generations. Without their efforts, this treasure would have been lost forever!
S.T.A.R.T(Society to Advance the Resources at Turkey Creek)
In 1998,Jefferson County proposed building a prison at Turkey Creek, setting off a controversy. The people of Pinson formed the Society To Advance the Resources at Turkey Creek (S.T.A.R.T.), which quickly gained 7,000 members. Between 1998 and 2003 S.T.A.R.T. members (and partners from the Freshwater Land Trust) worked tirelessly to not only end the plans for a jail but also eventually lead to the State’s Forever Wild Land Trust’s purchase and preservation of the proposed jail site. Today, this group’s enthusiasm and dedication is seen as one of THE most successful grass-root efforts of our time. For generations to come, visitors will enjoy the beauty of Turkey Creek all because of the efforts of this group of concerned citizens. Thank You S.T.A.R.T.!!
For more of the S.T.A.R.T. story check out TCNP Currents: A fresh S.T.A.R.T. for Turkey Creek Part 1
In 2009, S.T.A.R.T, The Freshwater Land Trust, and Forever Wild partnered with partner with the Southern Environmental Center (SEC) at Birmingham-Southern College to establish an onsite environmental education and management position at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve. This is were the rubber, truly meets the road. Through this partnership, the SEC provides long term planning, maintenance, security, and educational programing at Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.Today, thousands of students engage in the hands-on environmental education programs at TCNP every year!
The Southern Environmental Center at 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. Click here for directions to the SEC or here for a map of the BSC Campus.
The Freshwater Land Trust, a Birmingham, Alabama– based non-profit organization, is dedicated to preserving Alabama land of exceptional and irreplaceable natural, cultural and recreational value, with a focus on protecting lands that enhance water quality in our rivers and streams. The 5th most biologically diverse state in the nation, Alabama has more than 18 river systems and more freshwater species diversity than any other state. Alabama is home to 35% of our nation’s freshwater fish with 11 that are only found here. Sadly, our state ranks 3rd nationally for threatened endangered species.
Their mission is to preserve the special places that set us apart. We work to protect our treasured lands and species by collaborating with landowners interested in protecting water quality and other conservation values such as family farms and working forests, scenic views, historical sites, public recreation, and habitats for rare plants and animals. By leveraging partnerships with landowners, corporations, local, state, and federal governments, and other non-profit organizations, our plans help to ensure that we preserve the places that matter the most.
At Turkey Creek, the Land Trust worked for two years to combine approximately $1.5 million from the Jefferson County Greenways Program with $750,000 in private landowner contributions to secure support from the Alabama Forever Wild Program, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Jefferson County and others to help establish the 700-acre Turkey Creek Nature Preserve and Greenways.
Two decades after its establishment by constitutional amendment in 1992, the Forever Wild Land Trust has purchased more than 227,000 acres of land in Alabama for public use – yet that’s still a smaller percentage of public conservation land (3.66 percent) than nearly any other Southeastern state. Of this permanent land, the trust owns 165,807 acres, less than .51 percent of the total land area in Alabama. A long-term recreational lease has secured additional land.
The FWLT’s acquisitions have also created 220 miles of recreational trails within 21 new recreation areas and nature preserves, while providing additions to ten State Parks and 17 Wildlife Management Areas.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) manages these lands through its various divisions: State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. The ADCNR is not a General Fund Agency, and relies on revenues from license sales (hunting and fishing) and park visitor fees to support its public service operations.
Without relying on taxpayer money, these coastal wetlands, forests, wildlife habitats and other natural areas have been protected so that future generations can enjoy them
The City Of Pinson, Alabama
The residents in this city, from the Palmerdale and Pinson Valley communities, were united in the goal of local control with an overwhelming vote for incorporation. After the initial incorporation, the next chapter was set in motion.
Pinson’s Mayor, Hoyt Sanders, and the Pinson City Council invite you to visit our city to experience the warmth and charm that is a staple of southern hospitality.