Discovering Alabama
1. Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

This Delta is second in size only to the Mississippi River Delta. Dr. Phillips canoes the Delta to examine both its historical role in the settlement of the New World and its present status as a remarkable natural resource. “Classic Pilot Program”


2. Cheaha Mountain/Talladega National Forest.

Containing the southernmost reaches of the Appalachian Mountains, the Talladega Division of the National Forest includes the state’s highest peak, Cheaha Mountain, at 2,420 feet. Our host hikes the Chinnabee Silent Trail and describes the local history of the area. “Classic Pilot Program”


3. Cahaba River.

The Cahaba River is one of the most ecologically diverse rivers in the South and is home to the rare Cahaba lily. Dr. Phillips discusses the river’s many features, as well as concerns about environmental changes to the Cahaba. “Classic Pilot Program”


4. Southeast Alabama/Wiregrass Region.

Often overlooked, this area of Alabama is rich in natural qualities including caves and sinkholes. Our host explores these unique features in historical, as well as biological contexts, and also visits the Conecuh National Forest. “Classic Pilot Program”


5. Talladega National Forest/Oakmulgee Division.

Dr. Phillips sets out from his farm in Tuscaloosa County and takes viewers on an interpretative walk across the Oakmulgee to Payne Lake. Along the way, he examines a variety of plants and animals that live in the area and discusses the importance of maintaining Alabama’s natural areas. “Classic Pilot Program”


6. Guntersville State Park.

Few places can match this park for its mountain lake setting. Dr. Phillips gives particular emphasis to the potential of the area to recover the endangered bald eagle. He also joins a group of children on a nature walk and discusses the importance of environmental education for America’s youth. “Classic Pilot Program”


7. Coastal Alabama, Part I: Natural Diversity.

Although relatively small in size, the state’s coastal area is diverse in natural qualities: rivers, bays, swamps, marshes, and beaches, as well as resident plant and animal species. Dr. Phillips is joined by local naturalists and wildlife officials in a tour of the region. “Classic Pilot Program”


8. Coastal Alabama, Part II: Environmental Issues.

This video highlights a range of primary environmental issues as Dr. Phillips revisits the area to examine the leading causes of environmental change. Local experts add their perspectives on farming, forestry, commercial fishing, and the overall growth and development of Alabama’s coastal areas. “Classic Pilot Program”


9. Tannehill Historical State Park.

Dr. Phillips presents Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park and its displays of buildings, tools, and artifacts dating from the early European settlements to the first iron manufacture in Alabama. He explores the park’s “living history” classroom and discusses with craftsmen the reconstruction of historical log cabins. “Classic Pilot Program”


10. Little River Canyon.

The show opens with a re-creation of Union soldiers encountering the deep, impassable Little River Canyon as Confederate soldiers close in pursuit. Along the seventy-mile hike of the length of Little River, Dr. Phillips points out the various features of the area and recounts points of local history. “Classic Pilot Program”


11. Caves of Alabama.

Alabama has almost 3,000 caves. Dr. Phillips takes viewers on an actual exploration of an unmapped cave in northern Alabama. Along the way he discusses how caves are formed, the diversity of geological and biological features that occur in caves, and the history and location of Alabama caves. “Classic Pilot Program”


12. Oak Mountain State Park.

This park, more than 10,000 acres in size, is Alabama’s largest. It is also only minutes away from Birmingham, and Dr. Phillips contrasts the harried atmosphere of the city to the peaceful forested ridges, valleys, streams, and abundant wildlife of the park. “Classic Pilot Program”


13. Locust Fork River.

In recent times, Locust Fork River has gained attention for its beauty. Unfortunately, this attention also poses environmental threats to the river. On a sentimental journey back to the site of his childhood home, Dr. Phillips tells the viewer of the river’s past and discusses its future. Teacher’s Guides


14. Moundville.

Dr. Phillips visits Moundville Archaeological Park, famous village site of the mound-building Indian culture of the prehistoric Mississippian Period that lasted from about A.D. 1000-1550. The program examines the symbols, beliefs, and life ways of this once dominant culture and traces two centuries of study in an attempt to understand these early Americans and the significance of their earthen mounds. Teacher’s Guides


15. Alabama’s Natural Diversity.

High-growth urban areas of our nation often generate noise, pollution, crime, and stress. In comparison, Alabama’s rural landscape offers its citizens respite and a sense of belonging to the earth and its riches. Alabama’s great variety of terrain, wild habitats, native plants and animals rank it among the most naturally diverse in the nation. Teacher’s Guides


16. Geological History of Alabama.

Since the eighteenth-century, geologists have been attracted to Alabama because of the region’s diverse geology. This video overviews the geological history of Alabama in context with the major geological eras of the earth’s development and its corresponding fossil record. Teacher’s Guides


17. Red-cockaded Woodpecker.

This video features the life history and the environmental controversies surrounding the red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis), an endangered species that lives in Alabama. Issues discussed include the prevailing conflict between commercial timber interests and the interests of environmental preservationists. Teacher’s Guides


18. Cahaba River Watershed.

This video is the second of the Discovering Alabama series featuring the Cahaba River. In it, Dr. Phillips explores the full length of the Cahaba and examines the relationship between river conditions and changes in the watershed. The program gives special attention to rain-dispersed, or non-point, sources of pollution. Teacher’s Guides


19. A Walk in the Woods.

As fields, streams, and woods are slowly replaced by shopping centers and parking lots, Dr. Phillips takes us on a walk in the woods to encounter nature on a fundamental level. Throughout the program, quotations from famous Native Americans remind us that our natural environment is the basis of life. Teacher’s Guides


20. Alabama Forests.

Alabama is one of the most forested regions in the world. The forest is a setting in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, soil, water, wildlife, plants and trees. These all work together to form a self-perpetuating natural community, or ecosystem. Teacher’s Guides


21. Dauphin Island.

This video presents both the natural and the human history of Dauphin Island and describes the forces of geologic change to barrier islands. The show concludes by looking at environmental changes occurring on the island caused by growth and development and examines ways to manage such activities to benefit the island’s natural future. Teacher’s Guides


22. Black Warrior River.

The river’s name was taken from the Native American Chief Taskalusa (meaning black warrior) who encountered the De Soto expedition in 1540. This video recalls the history of the Black Warrior River from the time of early human settlement to the present. Special focus is given to the river’s changing status since the construction of a series of dams and locks completed earlier this century. Teacher’s Guides


23. Sipsey Wilderness.

Dr. Phillips takes the viewer through the Sipsey Wilderness and recalls the influence of nineteenth-century romanticism and the emergence of a national movement for the preservation of America’s wilderness regions. Teacher’s Guides


24. Village Creek.

The video traces the history of Village Creek and examines how careful urban planning can help maintain a high quality of life in cities and prevent environmental degradation. Teacher’s Guides


25. Wildlife History.

Our nation is rooted in a rich, natural heritage that helped define our national identity. Central to this heritage is the history of our society’s changing relationship with wildlife. This video gives an overview of Alabama’s role as a national leader in wildlife conservation and restoration. Teacher’s Guides


26. Red Hills Salamander.

This video follows a team of research scientists as they go on an actual search for the Red Hills salamander and examine the ecological significance of this threatened species. Private landowners, along with wildlife officials, develop strategies to conserve the salamanders’ habitat. Teacher’s Guides


27. Horse Pens 40.

Located atop Chandler Mountain in St. Clair County, this site is a unique ring of large rocks forming a natural corral, used by Indians and settlers for gathering horses, and today operated as a commercial attraction. This video shows the cultural values and natural beauty of historical Horse Pens 40. Teacher’s Guides

28. Alabama Adventure.

Using beautiful nature footage from throughout Alabama, this special presentation is a visual feast accompanied by a continuous musical background for viewers who delight in Alabama’s forests, beaches, fields, mountains, rivers, flora and fauna. Teacher’s Guides


29. Longleaf Pine & 30. Ecosystem.

This video traces the history, and significance, of the Longleaf pine, Alabama’s official state tree. Experts now believe that the Longleaf ecosystem was at one time the single largest forest ecosystem in the south. This video highlights ongoing efforts to better understand and perpetuate the Longleaf Ecosystem. Teacher’s Guides


31. Wetumpka Impact Crater.

In an 1891 report, state geologist, Professor Eugene Allen Smith, noted that the area around Wetumpka was “structurally disturbed.” In this video, Dr. Phillips, along with expert geologists, examine evidence that suggests the altered landscape around Wetumpka is the result of an ancient asteroid collision. Teacher’s Guides


32. Alabama Trees.

In this program, host Dr. Doug Phillips takes an autumn stroll through Alabama woods to introduce viewers to individual members of the forest community and answer the commonly asked question, “what kind of tree is this?” Teacher’s Guides


33. Native American Festival.

This show reflects on Alabama’s native heritage as we learn the importance of the Native American Festival held each year at Moundville Archeological Park. The show features Native Americans asthey demonstrate arts and crafts unique to the Indian culture, play games from long ago and listen to stories about primary tribes, tribal territories, and basic lifeways. Teacher’s Guides


34. Arboretums.

Highlighted in this video are four of Alabama’s arboretums and their significant contribution to the preservation of our native plants and trees. Teacher’s Guides


35. Mobile River Basin.

Few places boast such an abundance of freshwater as our state of Alabama. Join host Dr. Phillips for a journey across 44,000 square miles of the Mobile River Basin, a freshwater drainage encompassing most of Alabama. Teacher’s Guides


36. Fort Morgan.

Visit historic Fort Morgan and witness an active archaeological dig, take a trek through an ancient maritime forest and witness the capture, banding, and release of migratory birds. Dr. Phillips talks to local residents in presenting the past and considering the future of Fort Morgan Peninsula, one of Alabama’s best coastal wonders. Teacher’s Guides


37. Fort Toulouse/Jackson.

Take a journey back in time for a visit to Fort Toulouse/Jackson State Park and the park’s annual Frontier Days Festival. Meet Ailbamous Indians, French soldiers, Davey Crocket, Andrew Jackson’s regiment, and converse with 18th century botanist William Bartram while also learning about the natural appeal of the location. Teacher’s Guides


38. Sipsey River Swamp.

Launch a canoe with Dr. Doug and discover the wild allure of the Sipsey River Swamp. The 100-mile long Sipsey River is one of Alabama’s few remaining unimpounded rivers, much of it surrounded by river-bottom swamp. Teacher’s Guides


39. Forever Wild.

Alabama’s “Forever Wild” land conservation program is recognized nationally for its effectiveness in protecting significant wildlands. This video reflects on the history of how the “Forever Wild” program was established and tells how Alabamians can participate in promoting such land conservation. Teacher’s Guides


40. Dugger Mountain Wilderness.

The Dugger Mountain Wilderness contains Alabama’s second highest peak, Dugger Mountain, and is one of several federally designated “wilderness areas” in the state. In this program, Dr. Phillips hikes through the wilderness as he follows the Pinhoti Hiking Trail. Along the way, he encounters many natural wonders while considering the citizens, scientists, and government officials interested in protecting the area. Teacher’s Guides


41. Earth Day.

This video visits Selma, Alabama to join the local school system’s annual celebration of Earth Day. Interviews with teachers, students, parents and various officials highlight the significance of this national day of environmental appreciation and give special emphasis to the importance of environmental education throughout the school year. Teacher’s Guides


42. Tuscaloosa County.

The era of “new south” progress has brought important improvements to the southern region. However, parts of the South are also experiencing rapid growth and development that could threaten such traditional southern qualities as abundant natural surroundings and a comfortable pace of life. This video examines Tuscaloosa County, Alabama as an example of a southern community affected by accelerating new-south growth and faced with the challenge of managing this change so as to protect local rural and environmental values. Teacher’s Guides


43. Alabama Soils.

Host Dr. Doug and faithful companion Turkey journey across Alabama to examine the seven major soil areas of the state and learn about the more than 300 soil types associated with these areas. Guest experts discuss the vital ecological function of healthy soil and highlight the importance of Alabama soils to the state’s economic and environmental health. Teacher’s Guides


44. Forest History.

Alabama Forests are part of the larger southern forest ecosystem, the most productive forest regions in the nation. This unique forest region is especially diverse due to its climate and soils, and because of geological conditions associated with particular events of prehistoric times. This program highlights the importance of Alabama forests in context with the history and significance of the southern forest system. Teacher’s Guides


45. Forest Issues.

Discovering Alabama has completed several programs about the natural wonders of Alabama forests. Therefore, this program focuses primarily on key issues of forest controversy, including such hot-button issues as the practice of clear-cutting and the conversion of natural forestlands to pine tree plantations. The program features guest commentary from industry, environmental organizations, and forest research scientists, and examines these different interest groups perspective about the concept of “sustainable forestry.” Teacher’s Guides


46. Night Hike.

Follow host Dr. Doug Phillips as he takes a nighttime stroll through the Alabama woodlands by the light of the stars. He explains how to enjoy such a night hike without the aid of a flashlight, lantern, etc. Along the way, viewers are given a lesson in studying the night sky as Dr. Doug is joined by a group of teachers interested in astronomy. Teacher’s Guides


47. Alabama Wetlands.

The term “wetlands” is relatively new. For much of the nation’s history wetlands were considered wastelands, and thus frequently drained, polluted, or otherwise altered and ruined. Today, there is new recognition of the many important ecological and economic benefits of wetlands. This video overviews the diversity of wetland resources in Alabama, describes the many values they contribute, and highlights the dilemma of inadequate wetlands protection in the state. Guest experts provide scientific and policy explanations to further clarify wetlands issues. Teacher’s Guides


48. Alabama Rivers.

Harvard University’s world renowned ecologist, Dr. E. O. Wilson is an Alabama native and can testify personally to what a growing number of scientists today acknowledge – “Alabama is the aquatic state!” In this video, Dr. Phillips takes viewers on a riverboat trip to examine firsthand the diversity of streams and rivers that set Alabama apart as a unique realm of freshwater resources. Guest commentary by Dr. Wilson and other experts provides added insights into both the impressive qualities of Alabama’s freshwaters and the environmental threats they face. Teacher’s Guides


49. Bear Creek Watershed.

Far up in northwest Alabama is Bear Creek, a stream of impressive wildness surrounded by farms and forests. Although remote, this part of Alabama today enjoys distinguished recognition for the successful cooperation of local organizations and landowners in correcting the serious “non-point source” pollution problems that for years caused Bear Creek to be officially closed to human use. Teacher’s Guides


50. Alabama Black Belt - Part One.

Few parts of the world can boast of land as fertile as the rich, dark soils found in Alabama’s blackland prairie region, known as the Black Belt, but unfortunately, the region is often negatively associated with cotton plantations and slavery. This program examines the region’s natural history and how it has helped shape its human and cultural history. Various leaders and local residents are featured as they consider past and present conditions and ponder prospects for the Black Belt’s future. Teacher’s Guides


51. Alabama Black Belt - Part Two.

Many issues confront the residents of Alabama’s Black Belt region, among the more economically depressed areas of the state. Today a host of efforts are being made to examine the region’s problems and consider possible solutions to a variety of needs—economic, educational, and social. In this program, viewers visit a sampling of the projects and initiatives under-way to assist the Black Belt. Project representatives, including government officials, university leaders, and local participants, discuss their hopes for the region.

52. Discovering Our Heritage.

This program celebrates Alabama teachers and highlights the value of Alabama’s outdoors as a “natural classroom.” Viewers visit with selected master teachers who incorporate natural history and environmental education to enhance the study of required academic subjects. Also featured is the acclaimed model curriculum, Discovering Our Heritage – A Community Collaborative Approach, which draws upon a variety of environmental themes to help integrate the teaching of science, social studies, mathematics, and language arts. Included are interviews with representatives of organizations such as the Alabama Wildlife Federation, who support such environmentally-based teaching as a means of improving students’ academic performance while also promoting conservation ethics and environmental stewardship.


53. Lee County.

As Alabama was being settled, the portion of the state now called Lee County was a rough frontier akin to the Wild West. Over time, the establishment of churches, local governments, businesses, farms, and notably, Auburn University, helped change Lee County into a thriving area. During recent decades, the demise of farming, together with an upsurge of industrial and commercial development, are changing much of the county in new ways. This program explores the history and heritage of Lee County and examines the implications of accelerating development that may significantly alter the county for all time.


54. Covington County.

As the modern world becomes increasingly urban-ized, there are places that remain largely the way nature crafted. One such place is Covington County with its enchanting forests, crystal clear rivers, and beautiful countryside. This program overviews Covington County’s history and natural appeal as host Dr. Phillips hikes through the county along a portion of the Conecuh Trail. Along the way, viewers hear from local areabiologists, educators, and others who enjoy living in Covington County and are concerned about sustaining a quality future for the county.


55. Wildlife Rescuers.

This program highlights several programs to help injured wildlife by Alabamians who feel special compassion for animals. Included are visits to the Wildlife Center at Oak Mountain State Park, the Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn University, and a project to save endangered sea turtles along Alabama’s Gulf Coast.


56. Tracks Across Time.

This program visits a remarkable coal mine site in Walker County that reveals a scientific mother load of superbly preserved animal tracks from periods dating back around 300 million years ago. The site was purchased by the state in 2004 for permanent protection under management by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State Lands Division. Teacher’s Guides


57. National Forests in Alabama.

Alabama’s five national forests (the William B. Bankhead N.F., Tuskegee N.F., Conecuh N.F., and Talladega and Oakmulgee Divisions of the Talladega N.F.) contain magnificent stands of Alabama’s many native tree species and native forest types. Today these public forest lands also provide Alabamians with abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation. In this program, views are treated to a grand overview of the natural beauty of Alabama’s national forests while also learning the remarkable story of how these lands were recovered from early decades of extreme exploitation, thanks to the conservation commitment and stewardship of the U.S. Forest Service which celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2005. (Televised in High definition, surround sound)


58. Little River Canyon National Preserve.

Alabama’s Little River Canyon has been called “the Grand Canyon of the South.” And, indeed, it is one of the most dramatic physiographic features in the South. In 1985, Discovering Alabama featured Little River Canyon in one of the series’ earliest shows, drawing public attention to the unique natural attributes of the canyon and helping to win protective National Preserve status for a part of the canyon. In this program Discovering Alabama marks its 20th year anniversary by returning to Little River Canyon to examine the canyon’s current status and consider its future. (Televised in High definition, surround sound)


59. Weeks Bay.

In recent decades, coastal Alabama has begun experiencing burgeoning growth and development and rapid population increase, with many consequences that threaten the health of some of the nation’s most biologically productive ecosystems, Alabama’s estuaries. In this program, Discovering Alabama host Dr. Doug Phillips canoes down Baldwin County’s Magnolia River for a return visit to one of Alabama’s best kept estuaries, Weeks Bay (originally featured among the series’ earliest shows thus drawing public attention to the natural values of this special estuary and helping win protective federal designation as a National Estuarine Reserve.) Host Dr. Doug Phillips examines troublesome changes and impacts affecting Weeks Bay today and talks with local leaders who discuss the rising potential for environmental decline throughout Alabama’s coastal area. (Televisedin High definition, surround sound)


60. Project Community.

This program features Alabama’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Dr. Phillips visits with teachers and students involved in after-school natural science education activities for a first-hand look at Alabama’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers and a project being implemented by Discovering Alabama called Project Community. Included is guest commentary by officials from the Alabama State Department of Education highlighting the importance of science education and the many values of extended-day and extended-year school programs. Also featured are recent technological innovations linking hands-on nature study to computer-based science resources, together with a look at many of the changing realities of public schooling in Alabama today.


61. Invasive Plants.

Exotic, invasive plant species have established a foothold, and they are refusing to let go. Millions of state and federal dollars are spent each year trying to stop these alien invaders from conquering yet more of our precious native lands. Dr. Doug Phillips braves the kudzu, the privet, the alligator weed and more to examine the growing problem of invasive plant species, the threats they pose, and how – if – these Alien Invaders can be controlled.


62. Alabama Trails.

Mountains, prairielands, woodlands, rivers, coastal marshlands. Fun, adventure, relaxation, inspiration, nature study. Alabama’s diverse natural settings provide for diverse forms of recreational and educational experience, available along the many outdoor trails in every part of the state. In this program, host Dr. Phillips highlights the variety of Alabama’s outdoor trails as he chooses to hike “the one less traveled,” taking viewers for a pleasant journey of wilderness solitude and reflecting upon the history of early trails in the state, the many benefits of outdoor trails today, and related implications for the future. Also featured are guest interviews with Alabamians involved in the development and promotion of various trail systems in the state, including such non-traditional trail offerings as Alabama’s birding trails, golf trail, and covered bridge trail.


63. Flint River.

Across the nation today, numerous rivers and streams are being encroached upon by sprawling growth and development. Such is the case with a beautiful mountain-fed stream in north Alabama. The Flint has historically been surrounded by hardwood forests and abundant wildlife. Today, the accelerating growth in Madison county and surrounding areas is rapidly robbing the Flint of its special natural qualities. In this show, host Doug Phillips floats the Flint River from near its mountainous headwaters to its juncture with the Tennessee River. Along the way, interviews with various experts and local residents help to highlight the impressive history of the Flint and the pressing changes that threaten the river today. Teacher's Guides


64. White-Tailed Deer.

The white-tailed deer (species name, Odocoileus virginiana) is a fascinating creature that exemplifies much of what is good about our state. This majestic animal has long been synonymous with Alabama’s diverse woodlands, wildlands, and rural countryside. In this program, host Dr. Doug Phillips joins various experts on the whitetail to look at the history of this animal, to see how people and deer are bound together today, and to learn of some cutting-edge research into the lifeways of the whitetail, and to consider what the future will hold for white-tailed deer in Alabama.


65. Delta Revisit.

The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is one of those uniquely special places in Alabama–and on planet earth.. Back in the 80s, many voiced concerns that the Delta might not be around for our children to enjoy in the 21st Century. Today the Delta is a living, thriving testament to what collaborative conservation efforts can achieve.


66. Nature and the Arts.

Art and nature have a long and intimate relationship. Since prehistoric times, humans have created art that reflected the natural world in the form of crafted tools and handiworks, etchings and paintings, music, dance, architecture, poetry and literature. Likewise, nature embodies the inspiration of art, challenging man to capture its beauty. In this episode, viewers are taken on a quest to explore nature in art and art in nature. The program visits several Alabama artists of different modalities as they transform and convey the marvels of nature through their creations. Highlights include a demonstration of Native American dancing at the Moundville Native American Festival, the poetry of children’s author Charles “Father Goose” Ghigna and conservation photography of Beth Maynor Young. The program also examines the glasswork of Cal Breed, inspired by years of studying the beauty of the ocean, and wraps up with a performance by bluesman Willie King. Interviews with these artists provide added perspective on the relationship between the artist and his surroundings–the creator and the Creation.


67. Alabama in Space.

In the 1960’s when America undertook its bold initiative to put a man on the moon, a first step was finding a suitable place on Earth to build and test the powerful rockets that would be needed. That place turned out to be Alabama – North Alabama in the Huntsville area to be exact. Here NASA found a unique combination of suitable undeveloped land together with easy access for materials transport via the Tennessee River. The rest is history. This show traces that history, the natural history and the human history, of Alabama’s role in America’s legacy of space travel. Produced with special assistance from NASA, and including guest interviews by NASA officials, the show also honors the nation’s 40th year celebration of the first arrival of man on the moon. Teacher's Guides


68. Alabama Bats.

Various species of that unique flying mammal, bats, can be found in Alabama. Several, such as the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the Big Yellow Bat (Lasiurus intermedius) are considered imperiled due to declining populations. This program follows a team of bat scientists on a research expedition into Alabama’s Bankhead National Forest to study the habits and ecological status of bats. Included are expert assessmentsof the special capabilities of bats and their important role in the natural environment.