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By Casey Whitaker

The 2014 Mississippi-Alabama Rural Tourism Conference is set for Oct. 20-22 in Greenwood, Mississippi. with key speakers to discuss ways to improve rural tourism in surrounding communities.



Mikey Howley

Mike Howley will speak Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 9 a.m. on Rebuilding a Community for the Locals and Tourists – Water Valley Story. Howley serves as the director of the Water Valley Main Street Association and represents all 51 Main Street directors on the Main Street state board.




Trent Barnett

Trent Barnett, an Extension agent in Calhoun County, Mississippi, began working at Mississippi State University in 1998. He transferred to Calhoun County in 1999 after completing a training program and began working with the Calhoun County Fair Association. Barnett has been involved with fairs since his youth and enjoys working with youth, livestock and horse programs. He will talk about how county fairs celebrate the agricultural history of the South.





Tami Reist

Tami Reist, president and CEO of the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, is responsible for planning, implementing, directing and evaluating all promotion and development of the tourism industry within the 16 northernmost counties in Alabama. She will discuss how to work with hotels and tourism partners. She has 26 years of experience in the hospitality industry and also serves as the Alabama Tourism Chair for the Appalachian Regional Commission.





John Wild


John Wild has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for 34 years and is the current president for the Auburn/Opelika Tourism Bureau. He will conduct a sports tourism workshop at the conference. Wild previously managed the Auburn University Hotel & Dixon Conference Center and worked for Richfield Hospitality for 20 years. He is actively involved in the community and supports the Auburn Rotary Club, United Way of Lee County, Alabama, Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, Alabama Hospitality Association and the Auburn & Opelika Chambers of Commerce.



For more information about the conference and speakers, visit

Forest lands cover more than 210 million acres in the southeastern United States, and there are more than 21 million acres of forest in Alabama alone. More than 95 percent of Alabama’s forest lands are privately owned.

Landowners need quality land and wildlife resource training opportunities so that they manage their properties effectively. Dr. Gary Lemme, Alabama Extension director says Alabama landowners can learn more about a variety of management techniques by attending a Regional Forestry Field Days.

“Participants will learn how to manage Alabama’s forests for a variety of uses,” said Lemme. “These events will feature experts in forest and wildlife management resources as well as a tour of a certified TREASURE Forest or Tree Farm.”

Sponsored by the Alabama Natural Resources Council (ANRC) and the Alabama State Tree Farm Committee, three regional Forestry Field Days will be held in October. Registration for these free events begins at 8 a.m. and lunch will be served. Call the appropriate regional field day contact to confirm your spot and to get directions.

North Alabama - Oct. 2 - Burgess Farm in Colbert County


  • Predator Solutions; Trapping
  •  Mulching Timber & Creating Wildlife Openings
  •  Thinning, Prescribed Burning & Timber Markets
  •  Pine Plantation Establishment & Invasive Species Control

Contact: Johnnie Everitt - (256) 383-4376

Central Alabama - Oct. 9 - Charles Holmes Property in Perry County


  • Agri-Tourism
  •  Wild Pig Management
  •  Longleaf vs Loblolly Pine Management
  •  Stream Crossing

Contact: John Ollison - (334) 683-6888

South Alabama - Oct. 16 - Newman Property in Coffee County


  • Dove Field Management
  •  Hardwood Management
  •  Mid Rotation Release
  •  Wetland Management

Contact: Mary McLean - (334) 894-5596

The Alabama Natural Resources Council’s primary mission is to promote the stewardship of Alabama's forest resources. These regional forestry field days are just one of the Council’s outreach efforts. Visit the ANRC website for more information.

Auburn University Men's Basketball Head Coach Bruce Pearl will give the keynote address at the 2014 Alabama Community Leaders Network (ACLN) award luncheon Tuesday, Oct. 7, from noon until 1:30 p.m. at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

"He's the right man at the right time for Auburn," Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs stated.

Pearl comes to Auburn as a 28-year veteran at the NCAA Division I and Division II levels, with 19 years of experience as a head coach. He has led his teams to winning seasons in each of those 19 years, including an overall record of 462-145. He has also earned seven conference coach of the year awards and three national coach of the year honors.

Since the onset of his career in 1992 at Southern Indiana, Pearl has coached three teams (Southern Indiana, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Tennessee) into turnaround seasons. With

his first title as a head coach for the University of Southern Indiana (USI), Pearl inherited a team that had won just 10 games in the previous season and led them to a 22-7 season record and a trip to the NCAA DII Tournament. Over nine seasons, USI posted a 231-46 record, won four Great Lake Valley Conference Championships and appeared in the Sweet Sixteen six times.

As head coach of UW-Milwaukee, Pearl led the Panthers to the most successful season in school history in 2005, winning the regular season, conference tournament and UWM's first appearance in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. In four years as the head coach at UW-Milwaukee, the Panthers won a pair of Horizon League titles (2004, 2005) and two Horizon League Tournament Championships (2003, 2005).

During his six seasons at the University of Tennessee, his teams never failed to make the NCAA Tournament. Pearl led the Vols in winning the 2008 regular season South Eastern Conference Championship, claiming three SEC Eastern Division titles and earning the school's first-ever No. 1 ranking, with a school-record 31 wins. On top of athletic success, each of Pearl's four-year players earned their degrees.

"I don't know how long it will take, but it's time to rebuild the Auburn basketball program and bring it to a level of excellence so many of the other teams on campus enjoy. I'm thrilled to join the Auburn family and appreciative of this opportunity and the challenge that awaits," Coach Pearl said about his new career with the Auburn Tigers.

Seasoned seminar and inspirational leader and two-time best-selling author Millicent St. Claire will give the closing keynote address at the 2014 Alabama Community Leadership Network (ACLN) conference Oct. 7-8 at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center in Auburn. She will speak from 10:30 a.m. until 11:15 a.m on Oct. 8.

As a LIGMO (Let it go, Move On) master trainer and communications expert, St. Claire's mission is to "illuminate hearts and minds using innovative educational tools and resources for personal and professional growth with an emphasis on positive living and emotional self-management."

Formal training in Accelerated Learning, PhotoReading, Hypnotherapy and other sciences of the mind, along with a moving life story, assures the success of her seminars in areas of neural and cognitive sciences.

Using her publications Simply Ridiculous! and LIGMO (Let it Go, Move On) Self-Mastery Process, St. Claire will offer insight on how to help business professionals and students let go of limiting beliefs and behaviors to have a new experience for themselves.

The goal of St. Claire's seminars is an "interaction-rich, learning-centered space that connects people to who they are beyond the cultural constructs and familiar paradigms."

St. Claire travels extensively, speaking and training at businesses, organizations and colleges, as well as public and private workshops.



The Alabama Wildlife Federation is offering two educational opportunities to advance your knowledge of and offer suggestions for enhancing your outdoor classroom.

Oct. 2-3, AWF will host the Alabama Outdoor Classroom (AOC) Expo at its headquarters in Millbrook. This expo will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, and commence at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3. The price for attending the AOC Expo is $50. This fee will cover all meals and one night's lodging at a local hotel.

"The two-day expo will include sessions on a wide variety of topics including hands-on outdoor activities, wildlife and wildlife habitats, and it will offer sustainability options for your outdoor classroom," said Doyle Keasal, an environmental education specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System."

This year's keynote speaker, Dr. Scot Duncan, the author of Southern Wonder: Alabama's Surprising Biodiversity, will take attendees on a journey through the diverse ecosystems of Alabama.

In the following weeks, AWF will offer the Developing and Effective and Sustainable Outdoor Classroom Workshop. The workshop will be offered in six different locations and times. They are as follows:

- Tuesday, Oct. 14, Marshall County Extension Office (Guntersville)

- Wednesday, Oct. 15, Coffee County Extension Office (New Brockton)

- Thursday, Oct. 16, Lawrence County Extension Office (Moulton)

- Thursday, Oct. 16, Alabama Wildlife Federation Headquarters (Millbrook)

- Thursday, Oct. 23, Birmingham Botanical Gardens (Birmingham)

- Tuesday, Oct. 28, Mobile County Extension Office (Mobile)

This workshop will teach attendees about the free resources and technical support provided through the AOC Program that offer assistance to schools looking to create or maintain sustainable outdoor classrooms.

Attendees will receive a free copy of the Alabama Outdoor Classroom Planning Guide along with 5.5 Continuing Education Units.

To register or for more information on either of these events, visit Expo 2014.

Featuring the 2014 National Youth Science Day (NYSD) and Rockets to the Rescue, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville is hosting its annual 4-H Day Oct. 11 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Groups may register by Oct. 3 for an admission fee of $18.

4-H'ers are welcome to explore the USSRC museum and its space simulators, Shuttle and Rocket Parks and the GPS Adventures maze. They will also hear from guest speaker Terry Able from a 4-H partner and sponsor Lockheed Martin, watch presentations in the Discovery Theater and indulge in a MARS Meal lunch.

For an additional $7, attendees can view an IMAX film.

In addition to hosting regional 4-H'ers for 4-H Day and National Youth Science Day activities, the USSRC is hosting a "4-H Missions in Space" camp session Oct. 10-12. This three-day, two-night program offers youth a weekend of nonstop activities exploring the past, present and future of manned space flight. Activities include a simulated shuttle mission, a spin on the 1/6th Gravity Chair, an IMAX film, a chance at the Multiaxis Trainer and on-site meals and lodging.

"Young people in 4-H have long benefited from programs and activities conducted at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville," said Tony Cook, a 4-H specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. "Home of Space Camp and one of the most exciting space museums in the country, the USSRC has inspired many young people to strive for more in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

"Alabama 4-H is glad to partner with the USSRC, Lockheed Martin and others in offering 4-H Day and featuring the National Youth Science Day – Rockets to the Rescue experiment this year. We hope to join many young people from throughout Alabama and neighboring states for an exciting and inspiring day Oct. 11," Cook added.

The registration fee for 4-H Mission in Space Camp is $239 per attendee. Interested counties should contact Tony Cook at or (334) 844-2233 as soon as possible in order to still register for this camp session.

Neither of these events are exclusive to 4-H groups. All groups or individuals interested may register.

For more information regarding 4-H Day or the 4-H Missions in Space camp or to register, view the promotional flier at, the website at

Retired NBA All-Star Mark Eaton will serve as the opening keynote speaker for the 2014 Alabama Community Leadership Network (ACLN) Leadership Conference held Oct. 7-8 at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

"Mark has transformed the lives of many through his astounding story of triumph and record-breaking success," said Arturo Menfee, conference director and Extension specialist with the Economic and Community Development Institute at Auburn University.

Throughout his 12-year (1982-1993) professional career in the NBA, Eaton was awarded one NBA All-Star selection in 1989 and two NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1985 and 1989. Retiring with 875 games, 5,216 points, 6,939 rebounds and 3,064 blocks under his belt, he is known as one of the best defensive centers in NBA history. He holds the record for most blocks in one season with 456.

Since his retirement from the NBA, Eaton has continued in his success to become an entrepreneur, TV and radio talk show host, world-class speaker, trainer and coach.

Today Eaton travels the country employing principles and coaching techniques to teach industry leaders, teams and individuals how to outsmart, outlast and outperform their competition and achieve record- breaking success.




Karyne Jones.pngDr. E Percil Stanford.jpg
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University will host its thirteenth Successful Aging Initiative in Madison County on Thursday, October 9 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event will be held at Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church located at 315 Winchester Road in Huntsville. The theme this year is The Journey of Aging. 

The featured conference speakers are President and Chief Executive Officer Karyne Jones of the National Caucus and Center on Aging, Inc. (NCBA) and the NCBA Housing Management and Development Corporation, and Dr. E. Percil Stanford, founder and president of Folding Voice and the current president of the KIND Corporation that provides housing for low-income older adults. 

The Successful Aging Initiative is a free one-day conference that is open to the public and designed to address issues impacting Alabama’s Baby Boomers and older adults. Participants obtain easy-to-understand information and resources that enable them to make informed decisions, to maintain independence, to play active roles in society, and to improve their quality of life. Older adults and family members, caregivers, and individuals who serve seniors should plan to attend.

A hot lunch will be provided in addition to free health screenings, door prizes, and other giveaways. Visit to register by Tuesday, October 7. Group registration is highly encouraged. No telephone registration will be accepted due to high attendance.

For media inquiries, please contact Attorney Kevin Crenshaw at (256) 372-4939. For general information, please contact Jackie Collier at 256-372-4947.​

The Alabama Community Leadership Network (ACLN) will host its 2014 conference on Oct. 7-8 at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

This year's theme is "Leaders Get in the Game."

Keynote speakers for the conference are:

  • Mark Eaton who is a retired Utah Jazz player and NBA All-Star. He will explain his method of employing principles and coaching techniques from his twelve years of playing professional basketball to teach attendees how to outsmart, outlast and outperform their competition and achieve record-breaking success.
  • Bruce Pearl is the newly-appointed head coach of Auburn University men's basketball. After earning seven conference coach of the year awards, three national coach of the year honors and 19 years of experience in head coaching positions, he offers insight to what it takes to lead a team to success.
  • Millicent St. Claire is a seasoned seminar and inspirational leader and author who will share how to let go of everything that is Simply Ridiculous and focus on what's really important in life— personal and professional development so that you can stand out and achieve your goals to make a powerful contribution in life.

"In addition to our keynotes, this conference offers a variety of workshops," says Arturo Menefee, conference director and Extension specialist with the Economic & Community Development Institute at Auburn University. The workshops include Grant Writing, Mind Mapping, Non-Profit Development, Fundraising, Strategic Planning, Youth Success Strategies, Social Media Marketing, Civic Engagement and many more.

The registration fee for the 2014 ACLN Annual Leadership Conference is $185. The student registration fee is $150. The deadline for registration is Oct. 1.

For more information or to register for the ACLN Annual Leadership Conference visit

For reservations at the Hotel at Auburn University, call the Hotel directly at (334) 821-8200. Be sure to mention "ACLN Conference" for special room rates of $109. The deadline for the special rate is Sept. 21.

Fall is a great time to garden in the South. Cooler weather makes for great planting of trees and shrubs. Milder weather is just the thing for fall vegetable garden. Need some help getting your garden off to a good start? Alabama Extension’s Tallapoosa County office​ and the Tallapoosa County Master Gardeners Association will host a Fall Gardening Extravaganza Friday, Oct. 10 at Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City.


The six hour workshop includes a number of  horticulture and garden experts. Shane Harris​, Tallapoosa County Extension coordinator, calls the speakers an all-star lineup.


“This is really a different kind of garden program,” said Harris. “People that I have talked with are very excited about the our group of speakers.”


  • Steve Bender is a senior writer for Southern Living. In addition to his articles for the magazine, Bender writes “The Grumpy Gardener”, a popular blog on the Southern Living website. He has authored severalbooks including Passalong Plants, The Southern Living Garden Book, and the Southern Living Landscape Book. Bender will discuss “Grumpy's Deadly Garden Plagues.”
  • Lois Trigg Chaplin is Bonnie Plants marketing director. A lifelong vegetable and herb gardener, she was the Southern Living’s garden editor for 13 years. She is the author of the Southern Gardener’s Book of Lists. Chaplin’s talk, “Eat Your Way Around the House,” will help audience members see how they can expand vegetable and herb growing around their own landscapes.
  •  Robert  Lee is the inventor of Encore® Azalea, the world’s best-selling re-blooming azalea. He has more than 30 years’ experience in nursery management, breeding, propagation and new plant development. Lee will address the rapidly expanding choices in landscape plants in his “New Plant Explosion” session.
  • Jason Powell is co-owner of Petals From The Past nursery in Jemison, Alabama. His nursery specializes in antique roses, heirloom shrubs and hard to find perennial flowers, herbs and fruit crops.  Powell will share his selections for “Reliable Plants for the Fall Garden.”

 The Fall Gardening Extravaganza will be  8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Oct. 10, at the Betty Carol Graham Technology Center on Central Alabama Community College’s Alexander City campus. Cost is $15 per person and includes lunch.


Reservations are required because of limited seating. Online registration is available. Go to to register or for more details about this event. 


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