Algae Solution Clean-up at UWA Duck Pond

Algae Clean up 3The Historic Covered Bridge that spans the Duck Pond in the middle of the University of West Alabama campus finds itself the subject of many photographs. However, what do you do, when that picturesque space becomes overrun with algae?

One solution is to dump herbicides to take care of the problem. While that will take care of the problem, it also runs the risk through runoff of harming beneficial plants such as cattails and burr marigolds, and other plants in the adjoining Black Belt Garden.
That solution was not acceptable to the staff of UWA’s Black Belt Museum. They joined forces with Department of Biological Sciences & Environmental Sciences, Beta Beta Beta Honor Society and UWA’s Physical Plant to look for an environmental friendly solution.

“We wanted a solution that cleaned up the area and also provided a learning opportunity for our students,” said Mr. James Lamb, Director of the Black Belt Museum.algae clean up 2

According to Lamb, the algae problem stems from the warm winters experienced by our region over the last few years. “Instead of dying back as it is supposed to do in the winter,” Lamb said, “the algae have continued to spread, covering the pond in an algae blanket.”
Through team work, students, professors and professional staff of UWA, are literally pumping the algae from the Duck Pond, logging their findings, and reusing the collected algae as an organic fertilizer for the Black Belt Garden. The problem has now become a benefactor to another area of campus.

So far, more than 800 pounds of algae have been collected, and the Duck Pond and Covered Bridge are being readied for many more picture perfect moments.

algae clean up 1Housed within the Division of Economic Development and Outreach the Black Belt Museum provides a crossroads between the University and the community –a way for students to anchor academic pursuits within their immediate surroundings and to hone these pursuits toward the betterment of our region. Its mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit, interpret, and celebrate the landscape and rich history of the Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi.

To learn more about the Black Belt Museum and its programs, contact Lamb at jlamb@uwa.edu and like the Black Belt Museum on Facebook.


UWA Career Exploration Summer Camp now accepting student applications

Career Exploration Summer Camp 2017 cover promoThe University of West Alabama (UWA) will host two 2017 Career Exploration Summer Camps (CESC) for students who will be sophomores and juniors during the 2017-2018 school year. The camps will be held on June 11-16 and June 25-30, 2017.  Students will be asked to list their first and second preference for camp attendance. If selected, student preference will be taken into consideration for assignments.

The CESC is a residential program where students will stay on the UWA campus.  The purpose of the CESC Program is to offer students the ability to explore career options and prepare for college through interactive and engaging hands-on activities, field trips and presentations.  The CESC Program, sponsored by the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, is open to students attending public and private secondary schools across the State.   The CESC is an extremely intense and structured learning opportunity for youth in the secondary school systems of Alabama.



You’re Invited to Fort Tombecbe Community Day

Free Event –Saturday, April 22, 2017 –10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Community Day 2017 WEB

Join the staff of the Black Belt Museum and volunteers from the Alabama Archaeological Society at the 18th-century site of Fort Tombecbe. Unveiling of interpretive panels and guided tour of the site at 10:30.




Apply Now: Career Exploration Summer Camp Residential Counselors


Career Exploration Summer Camp Residential CounselorsUWA Primary Square Logo 2015

General:  The Career Exploration Summer Camp Residential Counselors are responsible for the supervision and safety of 10th and 11th grade high school students.   Counselors are expected to lead and organize educational and recreational activities for camp participants.  Also, counselors are expected to serve as leaders and role models throughout the program.  Counselors must be available to the students 24 hours per day throughout the duration of the camp program.  The camps are held June 11-16 and June 25-30, 2017.


Principle Responsibilities/Duties:

  • Live in residence hall with approximately twenty students and be available to them for the entire camp and conduct daily room checks
  • Supervise students during recreational and educational activities in the residence hall, on-campus and during educational field trips and assist with clean-up
  • Supervise students during meals and snack times and assist with clean-up
  • Establish relationships and communicate with each participant
  • Develop, organize, and participate enthusiastically in nightly recreational and educational activities
  • Provide homework assistance
  • Articulate program rules and daily scheduled routines clearly
  • Monitor and ensure the safety of students
  • Enforce program rules fairly and consistently
  • Encourage respect for personal property, camp equipment, and facilities
  • Inform the administrative staff of any personal, medical, or social concerns of the students
  • Follow detailed instructions
  • Be alert and keep safety in mind at all times
  • Perform other duties as assigned by Camp Director and the Executive Director of the Division of Economic Development and Outreach

Necessary Skills/Abilities:

  • Experience in recreation, a camp setting or classroom setting
  • Demonstrated ability to work with high school students with diverse backgrounds
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Proven record of leadership skills
  • Demonstrated initiative, sound judgment, and professionalism
  • Proven ability to work as a team member

Preferred Credentials:

  • CPR and First Aid Licensing
  • Life Guard Certification
  • Child Care Certification

For an application, click on the link below or contact Sanquenetta Thompson at (205) 652-3408 or Monica Moore at (205) 652-3828.  Applicants may pick-up an application at the Division of Economic Development and Outreach at Kelly Land Hall or download at www.centerforblackbelt.org or email sthompson@uwa.edu.   The application deadline is Friday, April 28.


Sucarnochee Folklife Festival set for April 15

Sucarnochee Folklife Festival 2017 PosterThe Sucarnochee Folklife Festival (SFF) celebrates thirteen years of the unique life ways of Alabama’s Black Belt on Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at McConnell Field-Lyon Hall Quad on The University of West Alabama (UWA) campus.

The Festival joins the Alabama Tourism Department’s theme, ALABAMA 200, the birthday celebration of Alabama’s bicentennial. For three years, from March 3, 2017, to December 14, 2019, ALABAMA 200 will celebrate the people, places, and stories that make the state unique.  The event schedule for commemoration of Alabama’s statehood is 2017: Places, 2018: People, and 2019: Stories.

“Birthdays are fun and we are excited that the bicentennial’s first year of focus is on Alabama places,” said UWA’s Executive Director of Economic Development and Outreach Dr. Tina Naremore Jones. “This year the Festival honors “Sumter County Places” with a commemorative T-shirt of communities in Sumter County.

“The Festival favorites are slated for all to enjoy, including the popular Blue Ribbon Contests,” said Jones. The competition ties back to the original goal of the festival and why it began- as a way to teach people about traditions and customs of the Black Belt region and keep them alive for future generations.”

Bragging rights for Blue Ribbon Contests participants this year are the Cornbread Cook-off including the categories of best traditional cornbread, best specialty cornbread and original main dish recipe using cornbread. Also up for grabs is the Home Canning Competition including the categories of pickles, BBQ sauce, preserves, jelly, and specialty pickled item.

Festival attendees are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket and enjoy the “Sucarnochee Live,” a stage show of local talent hosted by Danny Buckalew and Danielle Buckalew. The father-daughter duo has compiled a line-up of great entertainment for the Easter weekend. Family enjoyment is offered to those of all ages as music, food, storytelling, art, and much more are shared throughout the day.

Event sponsors include The University of West Alabama, Black Belt Museum, UWA Fine Arts Department, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Alabama Department of Tourism, City of Livingston, Sumter County Chamber of Commerce and the Alabama Folklife Association.

For more information on the Sucarnochee Folklife Festival, please call (205) 652-3828, email centerforblackbelt@uwa.edu or grobbins@uwa.edu. To download vendor and Blue Ribbon application forms, visit www.centerforblackbelt.org.

Click on a Festival form below to download.


Arts and Crafts Vendor Application Form

Cornbread Cook-off

Home Canning


UWA’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach launches Certified Nursing Assistant Program

cna-nursing-promo-pic-1-smallThe University of West Alabama’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach will host a Career Pathways for Youth Certified Nursing Assistant Program for qualifying young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 beginning Wednesday, Dec.7.

Participants who complete the program will be able to take the National Nurse Aide Assessment, which certifies individuals to work as nursing assistants in nursing homes, group homes, hospitals and other health care facilities.

In addition, participants will take the ACT Workkeys assessment to obtain National Career Readiness Certificate.

“There is a demand for qualified CNAs in our region and the state of Alabama, ”  said Dr. Tina Jones, Executive Director of UWA’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach. “We are fortunate to be able to partner with UWA’s Division of Nursing with this program. Their facilities and instruction will provide our participants with a great opportunity to receive hands-on instruction in a real world environment.”

This free program is possible through funding made available to the State of Alabama from the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The grantor is the U.S. Department of Labor and the program is administered by the Alabama Department of Commerce, Workforce Development Division, AWDA Section.

Interested participants should pick up an application and eligibility requirements at the Division of Economic Development and Outreach office located at the University of West Alabama, Kelly Land Hall, or go to www.centerforblackbelt.org to download information. To inquire by phone, call Jordan Mahaffey, program coordinator at (205) 652-3828 or email her at jmahaffey@uwa.edu.

Click here for CNA Application

Certified Interpretive Guide Training Course offered in Montgomery

57b5929f-acd6-4b95-aea2-687a7072cce5The Alabama Department of Archives and History, in partnership with the Black Belt Museum, Division of Economic Development and Outreach at the University of West Alabama and the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) is offering a training course for individuals who work at museum, parks, historic sites and help educate them about the importance of their site or institution.

Hosted at the Department of Archives and History facility in Montgomery from Dec. 5- 8.

The Certified Interpretive Guide program is designed for anyone who works with the public in an educational setting or interpretation.

The course combines the theoretical foundations of the profession with practical strategies in delivering quality interpretive programming to your visitors. The 32-hour course includes history, definition and principles of interpretation, techniques on how to make programs more purposeful, enjoyable relevant and organized, plus much more.

Taught by Black Belt Museum Public Historian Brian Mast, he has many years of experience working with a variety of public and private institutions including the National Park Service.

“This course is a great way to expand your knowledge of your profession while learning new skills and techniques to take home with you,” said Mast.

Cost for the course is $380 including certification or $230 without certification.  Participants must sign up through the NAI website (www.interpnet.com).  For more information, contact Brian Mast at 205-652-5528 or bmast@uwa.edu.


ATHP Fall Lyceum in Cullman- Register now

cover-fall-2016-cullman-lyceum-programJoin the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation for a weekend in Cullman, Alabama’s authentic German Community which survived a catastrophic tornado in April of 2011, despite the destruction of 1000 buildings in the historic part of town. The Trust has partnered with the Cullman County Historical Society and Museum to produce a program that presents Cullman’s history intertwined with the story of the storm that changed the face of their community. Everything in Cullman is designated as before or after the tornado. The tornado forced Cullman to rethink itself as a community. We examine how the community pieced together the fragments of their historic buildings and repurposed them to be an integral part of the community and commerce of Cullman.

For the Cullman Lyceum information and program link, click here.

For La Quinta Inn & Suites reservations, click here.

For more information or to make reservations by phone, call (205) 652-3497.

Food and Farm Forum at UWA on December 1

asan-uwa-information-flyer-10-2016The Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network’s (ASAN) annual series of Regional Food & Farm Forums will convene farmers, gardeners, community leaders, and good food advocates to “cross-pollinate” and learn from one another, at The University of West Alabama (UWA) on Thursday, Dec. 1, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the Tutwiler Conference Center at Lyon Hall on the UWA campus. The Regional Forums held throughout the state are ASAN’s anchor events series.

“We have exciting speakers and exhibits coming to campus for this exhibit,” said UWA’s Division of Economic Development and Outreach Executive Director Dr. Tina Jones. “Food connects us all. From economic development to quality of life, the foods we eat matter.”

The Regional Forum is a training and networking event that brings together small-scale and sustainable farmers, gardeners, community leaders, and good food advocates. Anyone interested in traditional skills and folkways (like seed saving and herbal medicine), rural communities, environmental justice, community health and alternative economies is invited to attend. The event consists of roundtable discussions on a wide variety of food- and farming-related topics, a tour, networking, exhibits, and a locally-sourced meal. Roundtable discussion topics will touch on everything from cooperatives to accessing capital, soil microbes to medicinal herbs.

This event is for people of all levels of skill and experience, with the goal of creating a platform for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and relationship-building within Sumter County and the Black Belt region. Through the Forum, ASAN seeks to create the spark for collaborative relationships that can flourish and grow even after the event has ended.

According to Alice Evans, executive director of the Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network, the Forum is planned in collaboration with a local planning committee, providing on-the-ground capacity for all aspects of the event planning process. This process ensures that the Forum event is grassroots, both reflective of and responsive to the community.

The Division of Economic Development and Outreach at UWA is the local event sponsor. The Regional Forums are supported by the Alabama Association of RC&D Councils, Sierra Club, First South Farm Credit, Alabama Ag Credit, and other sponsors.

For more information on the Forum and to register, visit the following link: http://asanonline.org/RFFF16/ or contact UWA’s Director of Economic Development Allison Brantley at abrantley@uwa.edu or call (205) 652-3828.

“Delta Challenge” Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition at UWA

UWA’s Small Business Development Center to host

Delta Regional Authority’s Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition, “Delta Challenge”


The Small Business Development Center and The Division of Economic Development and Outreach at The University of West Alabama (UWA) are proud to announce that UWA has been chosen by the Delta Region Authority (DRA) as one of six host sites throughout the Delta Region for the Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition, “The Delta Challenge,” that will take place Oct. 11 beginning at 6 p.m. in Livingston Alabama. The Delta Challenge is a series of entrepreneurship pitch competitions, and a part of a newly established program called the DRA Entrepreneurship Network, to boost entrepreneurial success in the Delta region and DRA Black Belt Counties in Alabama.

The Pitch Competition is much like some of the current shows airing on television. An individual or company has three minutes to “pitch” their idea to a panel of judges who are experts in various business fields. There will also include a 1-minute Q&A time immediately following the 3-minute presentation. The top 2-3winners from each location will qualify to compete in New Orleans, March 19-24, with one additional alternate chosen from all locations for a total of 20 finalists.

“This is a great opportunity for our small businesses that are ready to take their business and business concepts to the next level,” said UWA SBDC’s Director, Donald Mills. “Locally, we have small business resources available that may be of great assistance to those competing regardless of whether or not they make the finals, but we certainly look forward to the winners competing in New Orleans and the opportunities that will bring.”

Within Alabama, anyone within the 20 DRA Counties may register to compete for a chance to advance to the finals in New Orleans as an Entrepreneurship Network Fellow. Eligible Alabama counties include Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Escambia, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Pickens, Russell, Sumter, Washington, and Wilcox. This is an eight-state event; entrepreneurs and small businesses from any DRA County throughout the DRA’s eight-state region are eligible to compete in any or all of the six competitions. To compete, you must register at least one week in advance of the competition site that you wish to attend:

  • September 13, 2016 – North Little Rock, AR – Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub
  • September 20, 2016 – Cape Girardeau, MO – Codefi
  • September 28, 2016 – Jackson, TN – Lane College
  • September 29, 2016 – Oxford, MS – University of Mississippi
  • October 11, 2016 – Livingston, AL – University of West Alabama
  • November 1, 2016 – Ruston, LA – Louisiana Technical University

Individuals and non-profit organizations that provide direct entrepreneurship support or educational services are encouraged to apply to join this new Network as well. Representatives from up to 16 support organizations will be identified to join this effort officially. Application guidelines and instructions for interested entrepreneurs and support organizations can be found at dra.gov/entrepreneur.

For more information, contact UWA Director of Small Business Development Center Donald Mills at dmills@uwa.edu or call (205) 652-3814; or contact UWA Director of Economic Development and Outreach Allison Brantley at abrantley@uwa.edu or call (205) 652-3618.

© 2017 Center for the Study of the Black Belt