Last month the Moody Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors took a canoe excursion down the Cahaba River system.
The trip highlighted how important and fragile the river is. The Cahaba is the longest river in the state and the most bio-diverse in North America. It supplies the City of Birmingham with 95 percent of its water.
The Chamber Ambassadors are members of Moody High School who are selected by the Chamber after an application and interview process. There are 15 Moody Chamber Ambassadors currently in the program.
Last month’s trip was one of several the group took part in over the past year. It was a chance for them to get to know another part of their state, in this case, one that starts close to home.
Christopher Fraser, one of the Ambassadors, said that learning about how Moody and Leeds impact the river was one of the lessons he took away from the trip.
The Moody-Leeds area is, essentially, one of the starting points for the river system. So everything that goes into the Cahaba effects what happens down stream.
“We have to keep it clean on our end, because we effect it the most” Fraser said. “Everything that washes into there affects the whole ecosystem.”
The Chamber Ambassadors learned about seining on their canoe trip. Seining is gathering a group of people side by side to walk down a portion of a stream or shallow body of water and scare fish into a net. The process keeps the aquatic life unharmed, as opposed to catching them with a fishing line and hook.
The group caught 10 of the 100 species of fish that can be found on the Cahaba. Gregory Black, with the Alabama Fish and Wildlife Service, told the group that their seining technique provided them with a great diversity of fish to study on the trip.
Chamber Ambassador Brittany Calhoun said that studying the life forms was exciting. She said that learning that the dragonfly begins its life in the water was interesting. She said the group also learned that the outer layer of some fish was antiseptic and even more useful than antibiotic ointments like Neosporin.
But the trip wasn’t all learning. They group had plenty of time to just relax and canoe, while taking pleasure in a day river while enjoying fellowship.