March 2017 Newsletter

Outdoor Series Brings Millennials to Black Belt

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is always looking for new, innovative ways to promote the region’s spectacular beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. A new ALBBAA Outdoor Series is now under way. Three members of our Advisory Council, made up of millennials with connections to the Black Belt, have hosted people from their peer group for two special events in the region. 

“We’re speaking to this generation to appeal to their sense of outdoor adventure and their desires to experience life to its fullest,” said ALBBAA Project Director Pam Swanner. “We have had two events so far where our Council members have helped to show off the great experiences available in the Black Belt to some of their friends who were unfamiliar with the region.

“Mikel Cade hosted a pheasant hunt at Westervelt Lodge in Pickens County (photo at left) and Freddy Padilla and Sarah Reid Harris joined together to welcome friends to Soggy Bottom Lodge in Marengo County to shoot some sporting clays during a fundraiser for a Demopolis park project and for a duck hunt. Our lodge partners at ALBBAA have been wonderful in helping us make the Outdoor Series happen.”

Read more about the Soggy Bottom experience at the Alabama News Center.

Avid Turkey Hunter Survey Needs Participants

The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is looking for hunters who spend at least 10 days each spring in the woods turkey hunting. Participants are needed for the Avid Turkey Hunter Survey. Those who take part will receive a copy of the state’s annual turkey report – “Full Fans & Sharp Spurs” – and will be automatically entered to win a new shotgun donated by the Alabama Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. To be eligible, survey participants must submit their season hunting information by May 10, 2017.

“This survey offers hunters a unique opportunity to contribute directly to the conservation and management of wild turkeys in Alabama,” Steve Barnett, leader of the WFF Alabama Turkey Project, said in a DCNR press release. “The more hunters who participate, the better. The more days spent hunting, the more useful the information will be.”

The survey will provide WFF biologists with valuable information on statewide and regional trends in gobbling activity, hunter effort, harvest rates, age structure and sex ratios. That knowledge ultimately helps WFF make management decisions that link the interests of sportsmen with the wise use of the state’s turkey resource.

To participate, contact the WFF at 334-242-3469. Hunters may also email Barnett at for more information.

Selma Art Walk Is First Saturday Treat

Historic downtown Selma is the place to be the first Saturday of every month for 1st Morning Art Walk. From 8 a.m. until noon artists downtown open their studios to the public. Each month new artists are featured.

Southland Studio, Charlie Lucas “The Tin Man” and Anne Strand Designs will be open April 1 to view and to buy local and regional art. Gallery 905 and The Selma Art Guild are also featured, and be on the lookout for Uncle Clyde’s BBQ Food Truck.

Search Facebook for 1st-Morning-Art-Walk for up to date information.

Busy Day at Alabama Nature Center on April 8  

April 8 at the NaturePlex at the Alabama Nature Center in Millbrook will be a busy day with lots of activities for the whole family. For example, the Alabama Flora and Fauna Arts Festival is there from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with nature-inspired art from artist from all across Alabama as well as works unique to Alabama’s Black Belt.

Also, the Nature Center’s Gopher Tortoise Day Celebration will be taking place with fun activities for children and adults with lots of information about this keystone species that is so important for the habitat of the tortoise that stretches across a swath of our state and the Southeast.

And, if that weren’t awesome enough, it’s also Lanark Plant Sale day! There will be specialty vendors and plant expert presentations on the grounds.

NaturePlex general admission – $5 per person with a $20 maximum per family – applies and includes visits to the NaturePlex Discovery Hall, theater and hiking trails.

Crowing About Rooster Day

Mark April 8 on your calendar for a full day of fun in Demopolis for the Marengo County Historical Society’s Rooster Day. The fundraiser was inspired by another fund-raising event from the original rooster auction in 1919. This year’s event starts with a 5K run that leads into an arts and crafts fair and ends with a rooster auction and dance.

The original Rooster Day in 1919 was used as a method to raise money to build a bridge over the Tombigbee River to connect Marengo and Sumter counties, the last link in the Dixie Overland Highway. Thousands attended and roosters were donated by many famous folks, including President Woodrow Wilson, actor Fatty Arbuckle and Gen. George Pershing. The Historical Society reports that Helen Keller “even sent a ‘little blue hen.’”

The Society started this Rooster Day festival last year to celebrate the area’s rural roots, talented artists and craftsmen, innovative students and the love of a good time. Money raised support the operation of the Marengo County Historical Society and the preservation of two historic homes – Lyon Hall and Bluff Hall.

Rooster Day activities begin on Friday, April 7, with a 5:30 p.m. 1-mile fun run followed by a kids’ movie at the Public Square in front of Alabama Power. Cock’s Crow 5K pre-registered runners can also pick up their packets from 4-6 p.m. at the Let’s Crow Stage in the Public Square. Race day registration starts at 7:30 a.m. on April 8 with the race beginning at 8 a.m. The Fair in the Square booths open at 9 a.m.

More information is available and bidders can get in on the auction early for some selected items by going online to

And if you’re in Demopolis on Sundays or during the week, check out Stacy’s Café in the Demopolis Inn. It’s a great place to enjoy some fine Black Belt region food. Stacy’s is open for lunch from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday through Friday.

Get Those Turkey Photos to Us!

Time’s a wastin’ in the 2017 spring turkey season and that means the deadline for our annual Big Gobbler Photo Contest on Facebook is drawing nearer, too! Turkey season ends on April 30. We give you an extra week to get those photos in, so the deadline is May 5. The winner this year gets a fan, spurs and beard mount from Foster Taxidermy in Montgomery, valued at $150.

To enter a photo, send it to Photos shared via Facebook are NOT eligible. The contest is for turkeys taken by hunters age 12 and older in Alabama’s Black Belt region during the 2016-17 season. Include the name of the hunter and the county where the turkey was taken.

The winner will be chosen based on the number of “likes” the photo gets. The 2015-16 and 2014-15 winners are not eligible. As a reminder, the Black Belt counties are Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox.

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<p>Counties included are Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox. Counties included are Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox.

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