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!

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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.

 

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 (27:54)


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.

 

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.

 

Checking Out Mussels 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

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. Safety is our first priority. Since 1996, the CLEAN program has safely taken over 37,500 Alabama students to the Cahaba River. Learn more about how this innovative program connects students with the Cahaba by watching the videos below.

 

About the CLEAN Program

 

River Music for All (5:54)

Alabama Youth Symphony Orchestra members embark on a Cahaba River Society field trip through the Shane Hulsey CLEAN Environmental Science Education Program. While on the Cahaba River, they explore the connections between music, nature, and creativity in this short film by Hunter Nichols.

 

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.

 

Environmental Educator La’Tanya Scott about her experience leading students in the CLEAN Program (:51)

Cahaba River Society Environmental Educator La’Tanya Scott introduces the video slideshow that she created to share the accomplishments of the Shane Hulsey CLEAN Program in its 2017 season.

 

A CLEAN Field Trip Montage (3:03)

A video and photo montage of students enjoying Cahaba River Society’s Shane Hulsey CLEAN (Children Linking with the Environment Across the Nation) program, which provides students with interactive, river-based environmental science lessons while they safely participate in a canoe trip, stream walk, or volunteer service-learning restoration project.

 

Fight Pollution

How Does Litter end up in Your River Series:

The Cahaba River is one of the most biologically diverse rivers in north America. Running through the heart of Alabama, it passes through some of the state’s most populated areas. This leaves it vulnerable to many types of pollution, including litter. Most of the trash in the Cahaba River, your drinking water source, and in lakes, other rivers, and the ocean starts on land where it is carried into waterways by rain and wind. Learn more about what you can do to fight litter pollution by watching and sharing this series of short films by DoReMe Media.

 

Episode 1: Plastic Bags (1:00)

 

Episode 2: Cigarette Butts (:49)

 

Episode 3: Aluminum Cans (:48)

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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)

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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.