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The History of Discovering Alabama

The Discovering Alabama series began in 1985 as an outgrowth of the life-long Alabama travels of series creator and producer Dr. Doug Phillips. As series host, Dr. Phillips combines extensive knowledge of Alabama’s natural features with a personal commitment to conservation and education.

doug-phillipEach Discovering Alabama program presents the wonders of Alabama in a manner that is comfortable for general audiences but also useful for Alabama schools. Many of the Discovering Alabama videos and accompanying teacher’s guides are drawn from actual backcountry expeditions conducted during Phillips many years of providing outdoor education training for Alabama school teachers. Among educators, Discovering Alabama is noted for its unique value in helping to make learning locally relevant for students. The series is geared to serve as a springboard for schools seeking closer connections with community resources, needs, and issues.

Discovering Alabama is based on an educational philosophy that emphasizes development of the whole student, academically, personally, and as a productive citizen. The series capitalizes on the interdisciplinary aspects of nature and natural history to enrich, vitalize, and complement required academic content. Discovering Alabama programs are correlated with the State Exit Exam and with the Alabama Courses of Study. For further information on how Discovering Alabama is correlated with state requirements, please contact us.

Discovering Alabama is also rooted in a sentiment shared by many Alabamians who believe that, as other parts of the nation continue to lose their native natural surroundings, Alabama’s abundant wildlands help to make our state exceptional. Thus, today there exists a timely opportunity to maintain these increasingly special qualities through increased protection for the state’s natural heritage.

doug-in-canoe
This opportunity also poses a serious challenge. A foremost need is for improved education that includes an emphasis on conservation and the natural environment. Here, Discovering Alabama is a ready resource for environmental education. Likewise, as most Alabamians understand, the state must seek a proper balance between economic development and environmental protection. And here, Discovering Alabama promotes such a balance while celebrating the state’s additional opportunity for a future in harmony with a prior, fundamental balance – the balance of nature. Meeting this opportunity requires leadership that actively appreciates our wildlands, wetlands, forestlands, farmlands, and undeveloped countryside. Toward this end, Discovering Alabama provides a perspective that underscores the values of these natural assets.

Discovering Alabama is produced in cooperation with Alabama Public Television. Past programs have been supported by funding from a variety of sources, including foundations, businesses, and conservation and educational organizations.*

Countless fascinating topics await future funding and Discovering Alabama welcomes contributions from those interested in supporting the educational aims of the series.

*Current annual sponsors include Legacy, the Alabama Wildlife Federation and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (see link for organization logos and contact info).