Environmental Education Program
Limited in-person programs are available.
The Cahaba River Society is pleased to announce that the nationally recognized CLEAN Field Trips are open again for scheduling both Streamwalk and Canoe Trip programs on a limited basis. Through the pandemic-caused quarantine we have offered only online programs, but now feel that we can safely run our educational field trips at the river, in person!
These trips are open to schools, scout troops, youth groups, summer camps, civic groups, and more for students 3rd grade through college.
About the Shane Hulsey CLEAN Environmental Education Program
Cahaba River Society’s Shane Hulsey CLEAN Environmental Program provides students from third grade through college with hands-on environmental education activities while they safely participate in a canoe trip, stream walk, or volunteer service-learning restoration project.
The program is named in honor of the life and legacy of former Cahaba River Society Education Director Shane Harper Hulsey.
Safety is our first priority. Since 1996, the CLEAN program has safely taken over 38,500 Alabama students to the Cahaba River.
Would you like to book a CLEAN Environmental Science Field Trip for your school, scout troop, church group, club, or other group?
Cahaba River Society offers both virtual and in-person options for environmental education programs.
Virtual CLEAN Environmental Education Programs
During the 2020 Covid-19 Pandemic, the CLEAN Staff developed a series of virtual environmental education programs for students learning remotely.
Do you have an idea for an activity you’d like to see or a trip you’d like us to take? Let us know!
Menu of Virtual Services
We now offer an array of Virtual Services:
- Online Classroom CLEAN–a live presentation from our Environmental Education Department customized for your online classroom! Contact us to book your online learning experience.
- Virtual CLEAN Field Trips–video versions of our most popular field trips complete with supplemental study materials, teachers guides, and more.
- CRS Webinar Series–learn about Cahaba topics with these video versions of the most requested presentations from our Cahaba experts.
- “Ask Cahaba River Society” Interactive Video Series–do you have a Cahaba question? Ask our experts! We’ll record our answer and share it online.
Check out our Virtual Learning Library to see our complete selection of video content to learn about a variety of Cahaba topics! Videos range from brief 1-2 minute overviews to more lengthy discussions.
Virtual CLEAN Field Trips
Our Environmental Education Department is developing video versions of our most popular field trips, complete with supplemental study materials, teacher guides, and more. Watch for these field trips to be introduced in Summer 2020!
Macroinvertebrate Survey Virtual Field Trip
Follow our environmental educators to a beautiful section of the Cahaba River to explore beneath the water’s surface and discover the creatures that live there. Learn about these special animals and what their presence means about the health of the River, and then our staff will show you everything that you need to conduct your own macroinvertebrate study in a water body near you!
Fish Survey Virtual Field Trip
Let’s go fishing! What fish will our environmental educators catch in their nets? Where do they live, what do they eat, and how do they reproduce? Learn about these special creatures and their unique adaptations, and find out what their presence indicates about the health of the river. Our Cahaba experts will show you a whole world of biological diversity that’s busy thriving beneath the surface of the Cahaba River. Take this new knowledge along on your next fishing trip to get a better understanding of your catch.
Creative Writing Virtual Workshops
Craft your own poem inspired by nature with Tina Mozelle Braziel, poet, director of the UAB Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop, and Magic City Poetry Festival 2019 Eco Poet. Choose from lessons on the Greater Romantic Lyric or on Ode and Anti-Ode writing. Explore the connections between art and nature as Tina takes you to beautiful sections of the Cahaba River that are sure to bring you inspiration.
Do you have questions or need more information?
Get everything you need to prepare for your CLEAN Environmental Science Field Trip.
CLEAN Environmental Science Field Trip Options:
Stream Walk (rising 3rd graders & up)
Canoe Trip (ages 12 & up)
Classroom CLEAN Program (all ages)
The CLEAN Environmental Education Program offers a diverse and adaptable curriculum designed to educate, motivate and inspire youth to take active roles in the environmental health of our community.
Young people have a natural curiosity about science and the environment, and CLEAN’s interdisciplinary field and classroom curriculum encourages critical thinking by students and prepares them to make informed decisions about water resources. The CLEAN Environmental Education Program teaches the science that underpins stewardship while engaging young people in fun, healthy outdoor play, helping to foster a new generation of informed citizens and leaders.
Age-appropriate field activities include watershed orientation, collecting and learning about fish and macro invertebrates, learning how to canoe, and water quality testing.
Key Benefits to Participants:
- CLEAN provides educational, interactive activities such as canoeing, stream-wading, collecting fish and other aquatic organisms; river basin map study, and more. These hands-on program components teach about where our drinking water comes from and how to keep it healthy and abundant.
- Students learn that the Cahaba River is one of the most biologically diverse in the world, and that it is recognized internationally as a critical river ecosystem.
- Participants are empowered with knowledge to help make informed decisions—both now and in the future—to safeguard this water resource.
- CLEAN helps to create a personal connection between a healthy Cahaba, high-quality drinking water and our rich heritage of freshwater life. Through these healthy and informative activities students develop an understanding of, and appreciation for, nature.
Safety on CLEAN Field Trips
Since 1996, the CLEAN program has taken over 38,500 Alabama students to the Cahaba River for environmental science field trips, and our safety record is excellent. While scrapes or bruises typical of childhood play occasionally occur, we have never experienced a serious accident. Our field trips are carefully organized to ensure the participant’s safety. Our staff hold current First Aid and CPR certifications. Numerous area schools, church youth groups, Scouts, and parents trust the CLEAN program with their children’s safety.
Watch this short video to see scenes from some of our field trips!
The vision of CLEAN is that our young people become knowledgeable and healthy adult leaders and act as good stewards to ensure their drinking water remains healthy & abundant and their rivers are clean & life-filled. We are expanding CLEAN to serve more urban and rural disadvantaged youth, especially those of color and low income, to give them a positive outdoor experience that enhances learning and connects them with water resources.
The Shane Hulsey CLEAN Environmental Science Education Program is made possible thanks to the generous support of:
E. G. Moore, Sr. Charitable Trust
Ratliff Charitable Foundation
Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, City of Birmingham
LEAD CLEAN PROGRAM STAFF:
Gordon Black, Education Director
Gordon leads the Shane Hulsey CLEAN Program of river field trips for youth. He has a national reputation as a teacher and respected practitioner of paddle-sports. He teaches and certifies instructors in canoeing, kayaking and swift-water rescue, with 48 years of experience in canoes. He worked for 16 years as an instructor, guide, and Head of Instruction (7 years) at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, was the American Canoe Association’s national Director of Safety Education and Instruction, and has conducted boating safety trainings in partnership with the US Coast Guard, US Army Corps of Engineers, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, and numerous other national programs.
Through the science-based CLEAN trips, and the paddle-sport oriented Camp Cahaba program Gordon has introduced well over twelve thousand local youth to the Cahaba River during recent years.
La’Tanya Scott, Environmental Science Educator
La’Tanya holds a degree in Environmental Science from Miles College. Even before her graduation, La’Tanya knew that she wanted to work in nature and to inspire people to love the outdoors as much as she does. From childhood, she has always had a passion for being outdoors and helping people, and she credits her family with strengthening that passion.
La’Tanya is a skilled outdoor educator and role model who strengthens our outreach and service to urban schools and youth of color. She delivers hands-on environmental education programs to students in the classroom and in the field through the Shane Hulsey CLEAN Environmental Education Program.
Her intense interest in the Cahaba River, her skills and knowledge, and especially her boundless enthusiasm will help many additional area students understand the importance, and the wonders, of the Cahaba River.