People protect the the places they feel a connection to. That’s why we work to connect people to the River in a variety of ways–through art, science, volunteerism, recreation, and more. Here you can explore different aspects of Cahaba connection with this online video library. Our collection is expanding, so check back often for new videos.

Do you have an idea for a video that you’d like to see featured here? Email [email protected] to let us know!

Video Topics:

About the Cahaba River

The Cahaba River is Alabama’s longest remaining stretch of free-flowing river and a global treasure trove of biological diversity. It is the primary drinking water source for one-fifth of the state’s people in the Birmingham metro area. Explore the Cahaba River and its unique features in the videos below.

The Cahaba River (13:30)

Alabama residents of all walks of life share their memories and connection to the Cahaba River in this film by Hunter Nichols. Smithsonian Magazine has heralded the Cahaba as one of the most biologically rich rivers in the nation. As the river gains fame, residents wonder if the river will maintain this status. Many threats face the river and its unique aquatic life.

Cahaba River Biodiversity with Dr. Randy Haddock (38:50)

Alabama’s Cahaba River is one of the most biologically diverse rivers on earth, with more fish species than any other river in North America. Dr. Randy Haddock is one of the south’s notable ecologists and a leading expert on the Cahaba River. He has led Cahaba River Society’s work on the water quality, science, and recreation programs since 1991 and is the chief guide and naturalist on recreational canoe trips. A sought-after presenter who has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine and introduced visitors from around the world to this treasure trove of biodiversity, Dr. Haddock presents some of the unique plants and animals that call the Cahaba River home.

River Dreams Preview (2:39)

In this feature-length film by Hunter Nichols, a young man sets out for the solo adventure of his life, a canoe journey from Birmingham, Alabama to the barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Powerful storms, alligators, sickness and pollution threaten to end his trip. River Dreams is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. You can find it here. Cat Porter’s debut album, The Long Haul, is also available on our store. Both items are suitable for all ages, and they make great gifts for the holidays! River Dreams has won several awards including Best Alabama Film from the George Lindsey Film Festival and Best Southeastern Film from the Lookout Wild Film Festival.

Cahaba Lilies with Dr. Randy Haddock (38:09)

Dr. Randy Haddock, field director of Cahaba River Society, is a foremost expert about the Cahaba lilies. In fact, Randy’s nighttime, nimble-footed research on the lily shoals observed for the first time the primary pollinator of the lilies, the Plebian sphinx moth. His guided canoe trips are a delight, when visitors learn all about the globally-significant biodiverse wildlife of the River and get to sip lily nectar (tastes like orange-honeysuckle).

This is Alabama: Cahaba Lilies (2:44)

The rare Cahaba lilies are one of Alabama’s most beautiful sights! Each breathtaking flower blooms for one day. Watch to see their wonder captured on video.

Cahaba Lilies at Hargrove Shoals (5:43)

Aerial drone video by Ron Burkett of the world’s largest stand of Cahaba Lilies located in the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge. 

Discovering Alabama: The Cahaba River (26:35)


The Cahaba River is one of the most ecologically diverse rivers in the South and is home to the rare Cahaba lily. Dr. Phillips discusses the river’s many features, as well as concerns about environmental changes to the Cahaba, in this classic episode of the Emmy-winning Alabama Public Television series, Discovering Alabama.

Cahaba River Society Webinars

Learn about unique Cahaba River topics from the experts on the staff and board of the Cahaba River Society. Stay tuned for more topics upcoming!

Cahaba River Biodiversity with Dr. Randy Haddock (38:50)

Alabama’s Cahaba River is one of the most biologically diverse rivers on earth, with more fish species than any other river in North America. Dr. Randy Haddock is one of the south’s notable ecologists and a leading expert on the Cahaba River. He has led Cahaba River Society’s work on the water quality, science, and recreation programs since 1991 and is the chief guide and naturalist on recreational canoe trips. A sought-after presenter who has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine and introduced visitors from around the world to this treasure trove of biodiversity, Dr. Haddock presents some of the unique plants and animals that call the Cahaba River home.

Cahaba Lilies with Dr. Randy Haddock (38:09)

Dr. Randy Haddock, field director of Cahaba River Society, is a foremost expert about the Cahaba lilies. In fact, Randy’s nighttime, nimble-footed research on the lily shoals observed for the first time the primary pollinator of the lilies, the Plebian sphinx moth. His guided canoe trips are a delight, when visitors learn all about the globally-significant biodiverse wildlife of the River and get to sip lily nectar (tastes like orange-honeysuckle).

Cahaba Lilies versus Invasive Wild Taro with Dr. Randy Haddock (21:50)

Learn about Invasive Wild Taro and its threat to native plants, including the beloved Cahaba Lily. Dr. Randy Haddock, Field Director for Cahaba River Society explains what wild taro is, how it got into our waterways, and what you can do to help our native plants.

Explore the Cahaba With Us

Cahaba River Society offers guided canoe tours led by our experienced naturalists. Take a peek into some of what happens on those special trips with in the videos below.

Virtual 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 throughout Summer 2020!

Creative Writing Virtual Workshops

Craft your own poem inspired by nature with Tina Mozelle Braziel, winner of the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry for her bookKnown by Salt, the Magic City Poetry Festival 2019 Eco Poet, and director of the UAB Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop for high school students.

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.

Ode and Anti-Ode Creative Writing Workshop (11:20)

Learn to write a poem of praise or a poem of complaint. Click for this full Virtual Field Trip!

Greater Romantic Lyric Creative Writing Workshop (10:20)

Learn to write a poem in the Greater Romantic Lyric style. Click for this full virtual field trip! 

 

 

 

 

 

A Virtual Poetry Reading with Tina Mozelle Braziel (11:21)

Enjoy this virtual poetry reading with Tina Mozelle Brazile, winner of the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry for her bookKnown by Salt and director of the UAB Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop for high school students. This reading was created during Tina’s tenure as the Magic City Poetry Festival 2019 Eco Poet. During her year-long fellowship, Tina partnered with Cahaba River Society to increase awareness about threats to local waterways while training young persons to use the power of poetry to defend and honor local ecologies. 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.

Checking Out Helgrammites on a Cahaba River Society Guided Canoe Trip (:34)

Dr. Randy Haddock, Cahaba River Society field director, shows off some rare Cahaba mussels.

How to Canoe (4:04)

This is a basic primer on how to get into a canoe and how to paddle delivered by Cahaba River Society Education Director Gordon Black.

CLEAN Environmental Science Education

Videos About the CLEAN Program

Taking a Field Trip with Cahaba River Society (3:41)

Join Cahaba River Society’s environmental educators as they bring a group of high school students on an environmental science expedition on the Cahaba River through the Shane Hulsey CLEAN Environmental Science Education Program in this fun, short video by DoReMe Media.

Ask Cahaba River Society

Do you have a Cahaba question? Email a video of yourself asking it to [email protected], and our experts will give you an answer! Here are some questions that we’ve answered so far:

Ask Cahaba River Society: What’s the biggest fish in the Cahaba? (2:01)

Cahaba River Society Field Director, Dr. Randy Haddock, answers a question from Coraline, a 4th grader from Shelby County about the biggest fish ever found in the Cahaba River. In fact, the biggest fish ever caught inland in Alabama was caught on the Cahaba River.

Ask Cahaba River Society: How do fish communicate? (1:39)

Environmental Science Educator La’Tanya Scott explains how fish communicate, discussing the way that fish sense vibrations using the sensory organs of their lateral line.

Ask Cahaba River Society: What’s your favorite animal in the Cahaba River? (1:33)


Environmental Educator La’Tanya Scott answers a question from five-year-old Canyon in Shelby County, “What’s your favorite animal in the River?” It’s hard to choose and impossible to pick one, but she loves to find hellgrammites, which are dobsonfly larvae, and dragonfly nymphs, which are baby dragonflies.

Ask Cahaba River Society: Are there shad, channel catfish, and smallmouth bass in the Cahaba River? (9:55)

Dr. Randy Haddock, Cahaba River Society Field Director, answers a question from Stuart, a young angler who lives along Shades Creek in Jefferson County who wants to know if there are shad, channel catfish, and smallmouth bass in the Cahaba River.

Ask Cahaba River Society: What are these little yellow clams in freshwater lakes and creeks? (3:44)

Corbicula fluminea, or asian clams, are an invasive species of mussel that occupy most water bodies in the United States. Environmental Educator Ian Black explains how they got here, why they flourish, and what we can learn from them about preventing the spread of invasive species.

Cahaba Talks

These series of vignettes address a variety of topics pertaining to the Cahaba, it’s biodiversity, and its natural history.

Cahaba River Biodiversity (2:32)

Cahaba River Society Education Director Gordon Black explains why the Cahaba River is one of the most biologically diverse rivers in North America.

Mountain Laurel Pollination (2:15)

Do you know how mountain laurel ensures that it gets pollinated by visiting insects? Find out in this short natural history vignette with Dr. Randy Haddock, Field Director of Cahaba River Society.

Stromatolites (3:54)

Dr. Randy Haddock, Field Director for Cahaba River Society, discusses some of the unique geologic features of the Cahaba River.

Southern Exposure Film Series

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE is a film fellowship program that is actively raising awareness about Alabama’s incredible natural resources and important environmental issues that impact all of us. This innovative summer fellowship brings emerging filmmakers from across the country to tell authentic, engaging stories through short documentary films about Alabama’s environment — and the people who cherish it — from the mountains to the coast.

Produced by the Alabama Rivers Alliance from 2018 to the present and Southern Environmental Law Center from 2011-2016, Southern Exposure is and made possible through the support and partnership with environmental and conservation groups across the state. Southern Exposure fellows have the opportunity to create inspiring, captivating films that give viewers a sense of how much Alabama has to offer and the importance of protecting its resources.

As a result of these poignant stories depicting the triumphs and challenges facing the state, numerous films from past fellowship years have been selected for screening in juried film festivals around the country!

Live screenings and online distribution of the films continue to reach a variety of audiences, in Alabama and across the nation, helping Southern Exposure fulfill the mission to spread awareness, appreciation and inspire action on behalf of Alabama’s environment.

You can view all of the Southern Exposure Films online at the Southern Exposure website, on your Roku or Amazon Fire, or you can watch our Cahaba favorites below.

Waters of the U.S. (21:09)

The current administration is rolling back crucial protections for streams and wetlands across the country in a direct assault on the Clean Water Act. This incredibly beautiful film tells the story of the rivers, streams, and wetlands of Alabama to illustrate the dangers of the proposed regulation. By doing so, it shows the economic benefits, ecological health, and cultural way of life that hang in the balance. Directed by Remi Escudié in 2019.

If They Build It, What Will Come? (10:57)

The Cahaba River is one of the Southeast’s most iconic river systems. Urban sprawl in the state’s largest metropolitan area has already placed a great strain on this important river system and now the proposed Cahaba Beach Road threatens to destroy the area along the Little Cahaba River that is the drinking water source for hundreds of thousands of people in the area. This film exposes the risk of building a road across an important forested stretch of river and how citizens and watershed groups are fighting to protect this precious resource. Directed by David Diaz in 2018.

Birmingham to the Gulf  (13:11)

For over 100 years, Alabama’s rivers have been put to work with dams and navigation locks–sometimes with high ecological costs. As these structures age and with some no longer serving their original purpose, the idea of reconnecting rivers becomes a realistic possibility. In looking comprehensively at river management decisions and questioning the impacts of dams on Alabama’s waterways, its wildlife and its people, the vitality and biodiversity of connecting Birmingham to the Gulf is imagined.  Directed by Matthew Grcic in 2016.

The Storm Downstream (12:05)

After Dr. Peter DeFranco began noticing that stormwater pollution was streaming from a nearby development into a neighborhood lake, he decided to take action by collecting water samples and documenting the visible environmental effects. This is the story of an individual trying to make a change in his own backyard, and the important role of citizen enforcement in reporting stormwater violations in the absence of action by state and local agencies. Directed by Jesseca Simmons in 2015.

E.O. Wilson: A Distinguished Alabamanian (4:18)

Native Alabamian Dr. E.O. Wilson is one of the most famous and well-respected biologists in the world. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Dr. Wilson has taught at Harvard for over 50 years and is known as the “father of biodiversity.” Learn about his journey from a young boy growing up in Alabama to becoming one of the most renowned scientists in his field and a supporter of the Southern Exposure film fellowship program. Directed by Hunter Nichols in 2015.

In Deep Water (7:01)

Despite being one of the most water-rich states in America and unlike neighboring states with plans in place, Alabama lacks a water management plan. Unregulated water withdrawal, population increases, economic development, and agricultural demands put stress on our water resources that becomes more apparent during droughts. Follow the Coosa River downstream to discover the competing uses of this precious resource and how Alabama can protect its waters for the future. Directed by Zoe Gieringer in 2014.

Dammed: The Story of Alabama’s Rivers (11:29) 

Dams can permanently disturb the structure and function of once free-flowing water bodies, and the damming of the Coosa River has resulted in one of the largest extinction events in U.S. history with 40 species lost forever. How has the damming of Alabama’s rivers altered our watersheds, water quality, and water quantity of our state? Directed by Katherine Gorringe in 2013.

Beltline Blues (12:49)

CLICK TO WATCH.

With a price tag of over $5 billion, the Northern Beltline would not only be the most expensive road project in Alabama history, but it would also push sprawl into rural landscapes, exacerbate air pollution in the region, and increase polluted runoff into the Black Warrior and Cahaba Rivers. Who will profit—and who will pay—if the controversial Northern Beltline is built around the city of Birmingham? Directed by Rhonda Chan Soo in 2013.

 

Build Our Impact

Cahaba River Society works to build our impact for the River through communication, and collaboration, and celebration.

We believe that it takes many diverse partners working together to protect and restore a River. We encourage this by sharing the word about the Cahaba River, working collaboratively with all sorts of stakeholders, and celebrating our mutual victories. The films below celebrate our successes and our partnerships.

Beth Stewart’s 30th Anniversary Message (:45)

Cahaba River Society executive director Beth Stewart shares a special 30th anniversary message.

 Don Elder’s 30th Anniversary Message (2:55)

Cahaba River Society’s founding director, Don Elder, sends a special 30th anniversary message to Cahaba River Society.

Cahaba River Fry-Down Montage (3:01)

Cahaba River Fry-Down is a competitive fish-fry and festival that benefits the Cahab a River Society. This photo slideshow of the 2016 Cahaba River Fry-Down photographed and arranged by Brittany Sturdivant of Love Moves Creative. Find more information and get tickets to the next Fry-Down at www.frydown.com.

Other Web Resources

Cahaba Blueway Website

This website is an online guide to the Cahaba Water Trail. The University of Alabama Center for Economic Development (UACED) is working in partnership with the Cahaba River Society, The Nature Conservancy, Cahaba Riverkeeper, Freshwater Land Trust, and the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program to realize the Cahaba’s potential through the Cahaba Blueway initiative. This program is creating a formal “water trail” on the Cahaba by providing the infrastructure and information needed to make accessing the river easier and the branding that will make the trail marketable. Similar water trails elsewhere in the Southeast and across the country have expanded opportunities for hospitality and retail business while making nearby communities more livable and attractive to prospective residents.

Smithsonian Magazine, “The Cahaba: A River of Riches.” (August 2009.)

An unsung Alabama waterway is one of the most biologically diverse places in the nation, home to rare flora and fauna

Thank you to our supporters.

Thank you to the supporters who are helping to make this work possible.

Burnie and Verda Clifton Memorial Fund

 

E. G. Moore, Sr. Charitable Trust                   Ratliff Charitable Foundation

Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, City of Birmingham

McWane Foundation                            Independent Presbyterian Church