Environmental leaders from across Alabama and beyond gathered at the Embassy Suites in Montgomery for the Alabama Water Rally, the Alabama Rivers Alliance’s 16th annual conference. The conference kicked off Friday, March 7th with the Alabama Water Rally at Troy University Montgomery. The Water Symposium was the seventh of its kind to occur around the state, bringing together various stakeholders to discuss the issues surrounding a comprehensive water management policy for Alabama.
Friday evening brought the River Celebration Awards banquet where Dr. Doug Phillips of the Emmy Award winning Alabama Public Television series Discovering Alabama was awarded a coveted River Hero Award. Other notable award winners included the Alabama Scenic River Trail for Outstanding Group of the Year, the Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club for Beyond Rivers Partner of the Year, the Coalition of Alabama Students for New Group of the Year and EBSCO Industries for Business Partner of the Year.
Alabama Water Rally is one of Alabama’s premiere environmental education event. Featuring nationally-recognized speakers, valuable educational sessions, and entertaining networking opportunities, the conference draws over a hundred participants from a variety of backgrounds each year. The conference is held in different regions of the state each year to make it accessible for citizens across Alabama.
“This year’s conference is being held in the River Region, the capitol of Alabama, the River State. This is a poignant place to come together as a community and celebrate the accomplishments of the past while sharing ideas for a better, cleaner future for our rivers,” proclaims Cindy Lowry, Executive Director of the Alabama Rivers Alliance.
This year’s conference featured speakers from local, regional, and national environmental organizations, such as River Network, American Rivers, and the Coosa Riverkeeper. Leaders from Georgia Interfaith Power and Light and the Alabama Episcopal Diocesan Task Force for the Stewardship of Creation led a discussion on engaging faith based organizations in environmental work. A Saturday lunch keynote featured Scot Duncan, author of Southern Wonder, an exploration of Alabama’s amazing biological diversity. Sunday included field trips to the EAT South farm and paddling down the Coosa River.