creek water

CONSERVE Program Empowers Environmental Stewardship

While the world celebrates Earth Day on April 22, many students, faculty and staff at The University of Alabama are working to promote environmental protection and conservation every day. 

And whether you’re doing undergraduate research to protect the state’s biodiversity, or just recycling that bottle of soda you got before class, anyone can pitch in to help save the environment.  
“It’s important to understand what being a good environmental steward means,” said Mike Fedoroff, director of The University of Alabama Community Oriented Nature-based Science for Ecosystem Restoration and Versatile Engineering, or CONSERVE, Research Program at the Alabama Water Institute. “It impacts everything from our daily choices of water consumption to planting trees in our yard—the shade of which you may never see,” 

The CONSERVE Research Program is focused on preserving and studying watersheds to safeguard state and national land for many generations. 

The CONSERVE Group facilitates local river shed conservation in an effort to preserve and increase bird and wildlife habitats in conjunction with preventing stream bank erosion.  

CONSERVE Assistant Director Mark McCain teaches the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Allen Wilson how to freeze rivercane seeds.

If it involves water, plants or people, my group will be involved,

Mike Fedoroff, director of CONSERVE Research Program at the Alabama Water Institute

The CONSERVE Group also works to educate residents about the importance of native river cane protection, as it is integral to the health of watersheds and acts as an important cultural facet of many Indigenous communities in the Southeast. 

Students of any discipline can get involved in environmental stewardship through AWI and CONSERVE. Whether you’re interested in fostering biodiversity, using engineering skills to address water resource management, or even studying water management’s links to culture and Indigenous heritage, there is something for everyone.  

AWI is interested in perspectives from all disciplines across the university, Federoff said. 

“We’re looking for students who may want to do something different,” he said. “It makes for better science when you get different perspectives on the environment.” 

Getting involved in research is not the only way to make a difference. You can make many changes in your daily life to become more conscious of your environmental impact. 

Fedoroff said the most important change one can make is diminishing their water consumption. From turning off the water when you’re brushing your teeth, to thinking twice before you fill up your jacuzzi tub, to not leaving the hose running outside, or curbing your bottled water consumption, every little thing can make an impact on our environment. 

There are many ways students and faculty alike can help steward the environment. Students can apply to the CONSERVE Research Group online.