Birmingham Shines

A show about the makers, creators, and innovators of the Magic City: Birmingham, Alabama.
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Now displaying: August, 2015
Aug 27, 2015

The word "Kuumba"  means create.

Deidre Clark is bringing innovative programs to Ensley to inspire and train kids in the creative arts.

The latest program will provide training and mentoring in the field of graphic design and offer high school students the chance to gain valuable job skills and a portfolio to supplement college applications and/or pursue employment or freelance opportunities.

In this episode, we walk through the history of Kuumba Community Art and into this new direction.

Deidre also provides tips on how you can choose yourself to do that thing that you've been dreaming of doing. Find out more at

Aug 20, 2015

Journey Beyond with Mwendo Adventures.

Episode 19 of Birmingham Shines features a conversation with Joe Caruga and Jason McCracken.

Joe is a native of Kenya who moved to Birmingham to study. Jason is a Birmingham entrepreneur. They met at Dawson Memorial Church and that led to travels to East Africa and the formation of Mwendo Adventures.

Mwendo Adventures provides bespoke safaris, climbs and other adventures on the African continent (with other stops on the way).

In this conversation we talk about what makes African special---with an emphasis on Kenya and other destinations in East Africa--and what it's like to travel with Mwendo Adventures. We also talk about what is beautiful about Africa and the importance of connection, community and living in the moment. There's also a surprise after the tag at the end.

Thanks to Erin Street for introducing me to Joe.

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Aug 13, 2015

This week’s guest is Deon Gordon--if you’re civic minded and under 40 you probably know Deon. If you’re over 40 and civic minded you’ve probably heard of Deon, even if you don’t know him personally.

Deon is one Birmingham’s champions and just an all-around super nice guy.

In March 2015, Deon assumed the role of director of business development for REV Birmingham.

Deon was one of the first four individuals I reached out to when I began working on the show. We had everything scheduled for him to be guest #2, but then a series of scheduling snafus led to rescheduling and it wasn't until early August that we were finally able to connect for a conversation. We ended up meeting at 7 a.m. to get the interview onto our calendars!

Authenticity and local culture are two of the necessary ingredients for a successful 21st century city. Deon believes Birmingham has finally begun to tell its own story of authenticity, beginning with the culinary and food scene.

We talk about some of Deon's favorite Birmingham people, places and things--like Railroad Park, Gip's Place and Chez FonFon.


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Aug 6, 2015

In this episode, I talk with Dr. Scot Duncan, associate professor at Birmingham Southern College and author of Southern Wonder: Alabama's Surprising Biodiversity.

The focus of the conversation is on the economics of protecting nature--from the value of ecosystem services to the economic growth we derive through outdoor recreation and tourism to the health benefits of time spent in nature (which reduce healthcare costs and stress that lowers productivity in the workplace). 

I recorded this interview with Dr. Scot Duncan a couple of weeks before the release date and scheduled it for epsiode 17 because I had a conference and other constraints that would keep me from doing new interviews during the 10 days or so leading up to August 6, the date I'm publishing this episode of Birmingham Shines.

In a sad coincidence, the night before the episode was scheduled to publish for Birmingham Shines the Alabama State Senate voted, 23-1, in a special session to destroy the Alabama Forever Wild program by diverting funds from that program to fund the Alabama State Parks system.

The Forever Wild program was approved in 2012 by a 75% of Alabama voters who authorized a 20-year continuation of the program. Forever Wild Alabama is funded through 10% of the interest on oil and gas royalties paid to the State by oil and gas developers. The Forever Wild program and lands in the program are not intended to be a replacement or substitute for the Alabama State Parks.

I hope this conversation with Dr. Duncan will contribute to public awareness of the travesty that will occur if the House goes along with the State Senate and passes legislation to divert funding and end Forever Wild. I hope that this conversation will raise awareness that nature is a leading engine of our economic not an expense.

One of the fastest (and least expensive) ways we could boost our state's economy is to grow our tourism industry, with an emphasis on outdoor recreation and outdoor sports, like fishing, boating, water sports, hiking, climbing, bird watching, and more. We need well-funded state parks and we need lands in Forever Wild. 

I hope you will share this episode widely and contact your Alabama legislators and the Governor and tell them to protect funding for Forever Wild, fund state parks and grow our economy by emphasizing the natural beauty of our state. Our lives depend on nature.

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This episode is also published as episode 22 of the Shine Springs Farm Shinecast®.