posted Apr 21, 2012, 4:20 PM by alina coryell
Austin Creel and a few other green-minded entrepreneurial young guys from the University of Alabama Business School planned the Tuscaloosa Earth Day Festival in less than a month. We are so grateful and so excited to hear some free live bluegrass music. Hopefully, the weather will be nice on the humans while reassuring to the earth. As soon as 5:30 rolls around, let it rain.

Earth Day festival will benefit Hurricane Creek, promote environmental awareness
By Margaret Clevenger
Special to The Tuscaloosa News
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 3:30 a.m.
Available online at

Like much of the area, Hurricane Creek suffered the ravages of the April 27 tornado, which left debris littering the water and the protective canopy of trees stripped from the riverbanks.

The Friends of Hurricane Creek have worked during the past year to restore the creek and the most recent cleanup effort led to an introduction to Net Impact, an organization at the University of Alabama led by MBA candidate Austin Creel.

“I have lots of friends who enjoy Hurricane Creek,” Creel said. “It is a gorgeous area and I want to bring awareness of environmental issues to the community and benefit the creek.”

Net Impact came up with the idea of an Earth Day Festival.

“They totally surprised us by putting together this benefit,” said Friends’ board member Alina Coryell. “They put it all together in about a month and we are very grateful.”

The Sunday afternoon Earth Day Festival will be from noon- 5 p.m. at Capitol Park and will feature free food, live music, sustainability workshops and activities for children.

“Admission is free, but we are ­welcoming donations to help Hurricane Creek, and we will raffle prizes like gift cards and T-shirts to raise money,” Creel said.

A print of the creek by award-winning artist Sue Blackshear will be among the prizes.

The event is sponsored by Net Impact, Creative Campus, New ­College and University Programs. Many local vendors have donated food and drinks.

“We are going to have goat cheese from AA Creamery and strawberries from a local farm, Snow’s Bend,” Creel said. “We’ll have bread from Lagniappe bakery and Subs n’ You is helping us. We are going to have water and McAlister’s is donating tea.”

Speakers at the festival will discuss environmental issues and homebuilders will provide tips on how to better insulate homes. A representative from the city of Tuscaloosa will discuss the newly expanded curbside recycling program.

Townsend Nissan will showcase its all-electric LEAF automobile.

“We will have storytelling and a scavenger hunt for the kids,” Creel said. “And we will have seeds for them to plant and take home with them.”

Music for the day will be performed by Blackwater Thieves, Eric the Red & Dudley DoRights Mounted Brigade and Palmetto Bluegrass.

“We are very grateful for this help because we have spent this year trying to recover certain parts of the creek,” Coryell said. “Our creekkeeper has spent a lot of this year dealing with the fact that his part of town was pulverized by the tornado.”

Coryell said the destruction of the trees has had a potentially destructive impact.

“That is significant because when all the trees are gone the water heats up more so you have more evaporation; you have less life because the fish like to live in the shady areas of the creek,” she said. “There is a concern right now about restoring the creek, and we don’t have much money at all.”

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