A&S in the News: February 28 – March 6, 2021

Serena Fortenberry

Meet the professor and community volunteer running for mayor: Crimson White – Feb. 28

Serena Fortenberry wants to be mayor of Tuscaloosa. … I have been part of The University of Alabama’s Neighborhood Partnership Committee for the past two years and I also served on the city’s Framework Steering Committee. A lot of our discussion about growth in Framework meetings centered on student housing, though no strong plan emerged from those discussions…
CBS 42

Serving Bama

University of Alabama students safely volunteer despite the pandemic: Alabama News Center – Feb. 28

Nonprofit organizations across the country are among many who feel the overwhelming impact of COVID-19. But last fall, when several Tuscaloosa nonprofits needed help like never before, The University of Alabama’s student-led organization Serving Bama found a way to safely continue vital, in-person volunteer services, and it continues doing so today. “We knew that now more than ever, the Tuscaloosa community needed our support,” said Chloe Keck, a senior biology major who is team leader for Serving Bama. “It was important for us to find a way to continue offering services to our community partners, to be consistent and hands-on in the community, while being cognizant of the pandemic and the precautions we needed to take to keep everyone safe.”

Women in Local Government

‘Moving the needle’: Tuscaloosa women are ready for a seat at the table: Crimson White – March 1

As only the third woman to run for mayor in Tuscaloosa history, Serena Fortenberry has been repeatedly underestimated and undermined by her colleagues and her community. Regardless of their party or politics, Alabama women in local government have been facing these challenges for years. Fortenberry said a Tuscaloosa businessman told her he is supporting her mayoral campaign because she thinks like a man, not a woman. “I responded, ‘No, I think like a woman,’” she said.

Alabama Amazon Union

What Biden’s support for Alabama Amazon union election means: Al.com – March 1

President Joe Biden’s statement Sunday supporting workers looking to form unions – which specifically mentioned Alabama – is being hailed as an unprecedented statement by a chief executive on labor relations. “I’ve never heard a president make that kind of direct statement, going back to FDR,” said Michael Innis-Jimenez, a professor of American Studies at The University of Alabama. “It’s a direct statement, especially mentioning Alabama, and to be centered around the Alabama Amazon organizing drive, is pretty impressive. It’s right in line with Biden’s policies, but other presidents who have been union friendly have not been this direct.”
Courthouse News Service

Religious Secularism

Religious secularism groups blast Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville for ‘rants about school prayer’: Al.com – March 2

Two groups that promote religious secularism are taking aim at Republican Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville’s inaugural Senate floor speech in which the former college football coach advocated bringing “God and prayer back into schools…”  Michael Altman, a religious studies professor at The University of Alabama, said the FFRF is correct in that students are “free to pray,” …“There really isn’t anything Tommy Tuberville can do to change that, but I don’t think that’s the point,” said Altman. “The argument that somehow taking prayer out of schools has led to poor academic performance is a canard (unfounded rumor) put forward by conservative lawmakers who don’t want to point out the real culprits like systemic inequality and cuts in state funding. But it’s a canard that works with Republican voters, so it persists.”


Redlining was banned decades ago, but its effects on Black communities can’t be erased: Realtor.com – March 4

“Birmingham was founded after the Civil War. It was never intended to be [racially] integrated,” says history professor John Giggie. He is also the director of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. “Those redlining maps were simply codifying practices and policies in place since the city’s inception.”
San Antonio Express-News
Laredo Morning Times
The Telegraph

Periodical Cicadas

A historic swarm is coming: Alabama Patch – March 4

In the coming months, one of the largest broods of periodical cicadas to emerge in U.S. history will arise after a 17-year period underground. Dr. John Abbott, an entomologist and the director of research and collections for University of Alabama Museums who has studied cicadas since childhood, says they’re not a sign of the apocalypse, but they could be a tasty snack.

Birding Trails

10 fantastic birding trails in Alabama: Travel Awaits – March 5

Maintained by The University of Alabama, Moundville was once the site where Native Americans lived during the Mississippian period around 1000 A.D. Here, they built tall earthen mounds where they either lived or held ceremonial events. Not only is Moundville a historic and active archaeological site, but it’s also a prime birding location.

Virtual Nature Camp

University of Alabama museum to offer virtual nature camp for kids during spring break: Tuscaloosa News – March 5

The University of Alabama’s Museum of Natural History will conduct the Junior Naturalist Camp March 15-19. According to a news release from the museum, the virtual camp will give participants the tools to get to know the natural world through personal nature collections and nature journals. “Exploring nature fosters curiosity and nurtures wonder,” said Allie Sorlie, education outreach coordinator with UA’s Museum of Natural History. “The virtual Junior Naturalist Camp will give explorers the tools to observe, explore and discover the natural world around them.”

Predatory Octopuses

Predatory octopuses were drilling into clamshells at least 75 million years ago: Washington Post – March 6

The clams, Nymphalucina ­occidentalis, once lived in what is now South Dakota, where an inland sea divided western and eastern North America. While examining the shells, now at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, paleontologists Adiel Klompmaker of The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and the museum’s Neil Landman spotted telltale oval-shaped holes. Each hole was between 0.5 and 1 millimeters in diameter, thinner than a strand of spaghetti.