Make-A-Difference Month 2013

Make-A-Difference Month is back this year with more blogs, more ideas, and more energy! This year we are hosting the blogs on Mobile Baykeeper’s website,

Click here to visit the blog.

Click here to sign up for the RSS feed and have the blogs delivered to your inbox each morning.

As always, remember that together we can make a difference. It all starts with you.


Eugene Becomes Third City in Oregon to Ban Plastic Bags

Congratulations to the city of Eugene, Oregon, for becoming the third city in that state to ban plastic bags, joining the state of Hawaii and a handful of cities in California. Who’s next?


Eugene has become the third city in Oregon to implement a single-use plastic bag ban following the city council’s vote to ban plastic checkout bags and put a fee on paper bags. The decision will have big payoffs for Oregon’s environment and the Pacific Ocean.

{Click here to read more about alternatives to plastic bags.}

“Eugene City Councilors should be applauded for standing up for our oceans and voting to curb the flow of plastic bag pollution,” said Environment Oregon’s state director, Sarah Higginbotham. “Now, we need other cities to take action and make a lasting difference with bag bans of their own.”

Thousands of Eugenians voiced their support for a bag ban, alongside dozens of small and large businesses. As the second largest city in the state, Eugene’s bag ban will make a significant impact when it takes effect in six months, greatly reducing the estimated 67 millionplastic bags residents use annually. Eugene joins Portland and Corvallis in banning plastic checkout bags.

Altogether, Oregonians use approximately 1.7 billion plastic bags each year, and too many of them end up as litter in our ocean. Today, there are 100 million tons of trash in the North Pacific Gyre; in some parts of the Pacific, plastic outweighs plankton 6 to 1.

{Click here for the full article.}

Endangered Species Day

Today is Endangered Species Day, a day dedicated to learning about the Endangered Species Act, to the species it protects, and to celebrate the many recovery success stories listed species have seen over the past several decades.

Here’s some good news: While there are about 1,959 species currently listed as “Threatened” or “Endangered,”  the Center for Biological Diversity released a report yesterday that found that “90 percent of species are recovering at the rate specified by their federal recovery plan.” Read more here.

Alabama Beach Mouse (Photo credit: US FWS)

Coastal Alabama, as well as the entire Gulf Coast, is a hotspot for biodiversity. Hundreds of species of fish, birds, marine mammals, plants, insects, and shellfish call our Coastal Alabama home. Did you know that Alabama has 20 listed species in just the two coastal counties (Mobile and Baldwin Counties)? Some of these species have populations in other parts of the country or the Gulf Coast, others are endemic to Coastal Alabama, meaning they are only found in this part of the world.

Here are some of Alabama’s fantastic endangered species. Click here to find the full list.

Birds: Bald Eagle, Wood Stork, Piping Plover

Clams: Alabama Heelsplitter, Southern Clubshell

Fishes: Alabama Sturgeon*, Gulf Sturgeon

Flowering Plants: American Shaffseed

Mammals: West Indian Manatee, Perdido Key Beach Mouse, Alabama Beach Mouse*

Reptiles: Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Alabama Red-belly Turtle, Eastern Indigo Snake, Indigo Snake, Black Pine Snake, Gopher Tortoise

*Alabama is lead field office

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Photo credit: US FWS)

To learn more about the Endangered Species Act, check out these links:

Hawaii Becomes the First State in the U.S. to Ban Plastic Bags! | Surfrider Foundation

Congratulations to the State of Hawaii for taking a bold step towards decreased plastic pollution! You can make a difference too by making the switch to reusable shopping bags. There are many stylish and functional ways to reduce plastic pollution in your community.


Hawaii Becomes the First State in the U.S. to Ban Plastic Bags! | Surfrider Foundation.


When the governor of Honolulu County signed into law the plastic bag ban last week that the County Council approved, Hawaii became the first state in the nation where every city and unincorporated area is covered by a plastic bag ban.  This was not done by the state legislature, but instead by all four County Councils – a great example of local activists and decision makers addressing the serious issue of plastic pollution.

The City and County of Honolulu is the last of Hawaii’s counties to enact a ban on plastic bags at the point of sale. Maui and Kauai counties already have plastic bag bans in place while Hawaii County passed an ordinance that will take effect next year.  While we are excited that the plastic bag bans have been enacted, there has been a reported increase in paper bag use from locals.  Paper bags biodegrade and don’t have the same impact on wildlife but there are issues with any disposable product so local Surfrider Chapters will continue to push for more reusable bag education and potentially a fee on paper bags.

For now, let’s celebrate this important moment and spread the word to bring your reusable bags when traveling to Hawaii.  Congrats to all of the Surfrider activists and other organizations involved!

The Drawing!

At last, the moment you’ve been patiently awaiting since April 1…the winners of the Make-A-Difference Month weekly drawing!

Every time you commented, shared, or liked one of our posts, we put your name in a hat (actually, it was an excel spreadsheet). Each week we drew two names, and then drew one more overall winner, who will be receiving a free Mobile Baykeeper Phins shirt!

Congratulations to the following winners! We will be contacting you for mailing information. To everyone else, thank you so much for reading, engaging, and making a difference with us this month! We hope you’ll stick around and keep learning with us and challenging yourself as we all strive to make a positive impact in our communities and in our world.

Week 1: Carlee S. and Andrea B.

Week 2: Jeanine W. and Glenn A.

Week 3: Tina T. and Pamela B.

Week 4: Lisa G. and Donna A.

Week 5: Mary S. and Genevieve B.

Overall: Sally E.

Organic Seed Potatoes and Other Organic Seeds

If Elyse’s potato-related gardening post inspired you last week, and you’re interested in planting your own patio potatoes, check out Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa.

They are selling several varieties of organic seed potatoes for 40% while their stock lasts! Seed Savers Exchange is a great group, aiming to preserve heritage strains and connect gardeners with the best seed quality possible! To clarify, this is an unsolicited endorsement of Seed Savers, a friend of mine used to work for them so I know they are high quality!

From their website:

“SSE offers only USDA Certified Seed Potatoes that have passed repeated inspections through out the growing season and post-harvest. Potatoes can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. Each package of potatoes contains a detailed planting guide. SSE reserves the right to substitute a similar variety in case of a crop failure or shortage.”

Check it out here!

They are also offering a 30%-off sale on select varieties of seed packets. View sale items here:

Happy gardening!