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Press Release

Tonsmeire Weeks Bay Resource Center Near Completion

July 11, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                CONTACT: L.G. Adams
July 11,2008                                                                                                                           251-928-9792
 
Tonsmeire Weeks Bay Resource Center Near Completion

With completion only weeks away, new buildings at the head of Weeks Bay will add valuable educational space to the Weeks Bay Reserve complex and will also carry a new name.

In a ceremony at the recent Forever Wild Board meeting, the facility, which replaces structures damaged by Hurricane Ivan, was officially named the Arthur C. (Skipper) Tonsmeire III Weeks Bay Resource Center by proclamation of Alabama Governor Bob Riley.

Once complete, the buildings will support conservation programs largely for education, stewardship and outreach - in particular the Coastal Training Program.

Dr. John Borom, avid conservationist and president of the Mobile Bay Audubon Society, cited the tireless efforts of Fairhope’s Tonsmeire in the creation and ongoing support of programs like the Forever Wild Land Trust, Coastal Land Trust, Weeks Bay Foundation, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

“There are many other significant and good accomplishments I could have mentioned that have made life better for us all,” Borom said of Tonsmeire. “However, the one thing in all these endeavors is that a key person worked hard behind the scenes to set things in motion. This person understands the Native American proverb, ‘We did not inherit the Earth from our forefathers. We hold it in trust for future generations.’ He has helped forge partnerships with local firms, public agencies and conservation organizations to protect thousands of acres of Gulf Coast wetlands that safeguard wildlife habitat, increase outdoor recreation opportunities and safeguard seafood productivity.”

The new facility includes sister buildings that will complement activities in each, according to L.G. Adams, Manager of Weeks Bay Reserve.

The Education Building will provide a classroom that will be used for a variety of activities. These will be directed toward many different audiences that include K-12 to graduate students and researchers, continuing education groups, environmental organizations and enthusiasts, conservation partners, non-profit organizations, and the local community and public at large. Activities will include K-12 local and regional school class visits, formal workshops and conservation class and course work, internet-based learning opportunities, field-based experiential learning activities, summer estuary camps, local and regional conferences, research symposia, and public and community meetings.

“The Coastal Training Program at the Reserve will utilize the site for programs that transfer technical information to coastal managers for the purpose of making best management decisions that will better conserve and protect natural resources in coastal Alabama,” Adams said. “The educational classroom will provide an opportunity to highlight natural resources of the Weeks Bay estuary and raise public awareness of conservation in coastal Alabama.”

The Multi-Purpose Building will be used to support activities in the Education Building, as well as provide space for research, stewardship and outreach activities at Weeks Bay Reserve.

Visit http://www.outdooralabama.com/public-lands/stateLands/WeeksBay/ for more information on the facilities and programs at Weeks Bay Reserve.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.

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