Many activities have been restricted in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. For those nature lovers currently unable to visit one of Alabama’s 21 state parks, officials are working to bring the parks to you by the way of technology.
The Alabama State Parks Naturalists will host Virtual Naturalist programming by the way of their Facebook pages at five parks. Along with Gulf State Park, the others include Oak Mountain, Lake Guntersville, DeSoto and Cheaha.
According to the group, these virtual programs will be an assortment of Facebook Live videos, short videos, photos, park stories, pictures and maybe a challenge. Go to the Facebook pages for the five individual parks and look for the State Parks Naturalists’ content.
The State Parks Naturalists have also created a survey to determine what type of content best suits the viewers. To participate in the survey, go to alabamadnr.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9BRdZYm3kzGvBzf.
Park officials encourage visitors to take part in the many self-guided activities that provide social distancing, including camping, fishing, hiking, birding, biking and more. However, some facilities may be limited.
On March 19, Gov. Kay Ivey announced that private and public beaches in Alabama were closed. This includes all the beaches at Gulf State Park. The fishing pier remains open at this time, along with the campgrounds, trails and other non-beach areas.
Visit alapark.com for more information on the opportunities to explore the state’s natural wonders as well as the precautions taken by Alabama State Parks to minimize the exposure for park visitors.
Red snapper update
The Marine Resources Division (MRD) of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) has announced Alabama state waters and federal waters will open for red snapper fishing for private anglers on Friday, May 22. However, the current COVID-19 outbreak has made the situation unclear at this time.
“This event is new to everyone and has lots of unknowns,” Col. Scott Bannon, director of MRD, told Lagniappe. “That being said, it would be difficult to predict anything that far out. We are currently working on Governor Ivey’s direction to reduce activities through April 6. My prayer is we are over this well before May 22.”
Bannon asked Lagniappe’s readers to sign up for news releases at outdooralabama.com or to like them on Facebook or Twitter for updates. To see the full news release on the fishing season, visit outdooralabama.com/articles/alabama-opens-red-snapper-fishing-may-22.
Enjoying the outdoors
My former newspaper colleague David Rainer now works for ADCNR. He recently wrote a very interesting article on how to have fun while practicing safe social distancing.
“We take these precautions and recommendations very seriously at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,” Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship said in the article. “We know many Alabamians want to get outdoors during the spring and enjoy some recreational opportunities that can refresh in these challenging times; just remember, we must do so safely.”
If hunting or fishing is not a preference, Rainer said to consider the beautiful natural hiking trails and camping facilities available at Alabama State Parks close to where you live, not to mention the natural beauty on the Forever Wild tracts available to the public.
To see his entire column, visit content.govdelivery.com/accounts/ALDNR/bulletins/2821614.
* Heidi Giles, a senior at the University of Mobile (UM), has been named the Southern States Athletic Conference Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year. This is her second straight year being honored with this award.
To be eligible, a student-athlete must have reached sophomore eligibility, have a 3.5 GPA and must have competed in 50 percent of games. Giles easily met those requirements with her 4.0 GPA. Her on-field honors included first-team all-conference after leading a Rams’ defense that delivered six shutouts and one goal in eight other games. She received Academic All-America honors in 2018.
* The United Soccer Coaches organization has announced its Scholar All-Region Teams for all levels of NCAA and NAIA men and women’s soccer. The UM women’s team had three players selected. In addition to Giles, also making the squad are seniors Cheyne Bush (3.89 GPA) and Abigail Bush (3.78 GPA).
* The Gulf South Conference (GSC) has announced its Academic Honor Roll for the fall sports season. Spring Hill College placed 13 student-athletes from women’s soccer on the roster.
The list includes Sophie Bailey (freshman, biology/pre-health), Sabrina Cruz (junior, international business), Libby Durrough (sophomore, pre-nursing), Olivia Hall (junior, nursing), Kylee Harrell (junior, health science), Hannah Linss (freshman, psychology), Abby Lollar (junior, graphic design), Kylie Long (sophomore, pre-nursing), Johanna Meister (senior, international business), Grace Riley (sophomore, business administration), Morgan Spivey (freshman, pre-nursing), Sidney Spivey (junior, nursing) and Meggie van den Oever (junior, actuarial mathematics).
* The Spring Hill College (SHC) men’s soccer team was also honored by GSC, with 19 players named to the Academic Honor Roll. Senior forward Alex Lipinski leads the way as the first SHC player on the conference’s elite, 11-man All-Academic Team. He is majoring in management/marketing.
Others recognized were Denis Agayi (senior, financial economics), Diogo Sousa (sophomore, business administration), Luca Carrese (sophomore, financial economics), Sacha Ducreux (sophomore, journalism), Alessandro Erdelyi (sophomore, management accounting), Manuel Fragapane (junior, financial economics), Grayson Hetherington (senior, biology/pre-health), Vassil Kokali (junior, management/marketing), Benedikt Kraemling (junior, management/marketing), Barou Ndaw (graduate, Master of Liberal Arts), Marco Passera (freshman, business administration), John Putnam (junior, history), Timo Schabetsberger (junior, financial economics), Robin Stoffels (sophomore, financial economics), Till Trippner (junior, international business), Albert Vila Truco (freshman, international business), Nicolas Wandl (graduate, Master of Business Administration) and Zach Witt (junior, health science).
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