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October 11, 2006   Email to Friend 

SHELBY TO SPEAK AT 4-H ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER GROUNDBREAKING
Donna Reynolds
(334) 844-5680
October 11, 2006

Architectural drawing of proposed Alabama 4-H Environmental Science Education Center in Columbiana.
COLUMBIANA, Ala. -- U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby will be the featured speaker Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Alabama 4-H Environmental Science Education Center. The new center is the first in the Southeast specifically designed to teach environmental issues using sustainable practices.

The 10 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony is at the Alabama 4-H Center on Lay Lake near Columbiana. In addition to Shelby, other dignitaries to speak are Auburn University President Ed Richardson and Alabama A&M University President Robert Jennings.

"Alabama 4-H will bring national prominence to the state with this new facility," said Jack Odle, chairman of the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, Inc., the nonprofit fundraising arm of Alabama 4-H. "It will be the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design- (LEED) commissioned environmental education building in the Southeast and will be an example of sustainable awareness.

"We are certainly proud that Sen. Shelby recognizes the important step Alabama 4-H is making to the youth of our state by constructing a facility like this, and we are pleased he will be joining us," Odle said. "Sen. Shelby has been a strong advocate and friend of Alabama 4-H and we greatly appreciate his commitment."

The LEED Green Building rating system is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

To attain gold LEED certification, buildings must receive a total of 39 points -- the Alabama 4-H Environmental Science Education Center will qualify for 45 points. The building has been designed by Davis Architects of Birmingham. It will be constructed by B.L. Harbert International, also of Birmingham, and is expected to open in November 2007.

The $7 million facility is being constructed with funds raised by the Campaign for Alabama 4-H through the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, Inc. More than 500 corporations, foundations, organizations and individuals have supported the Campaign for Alabama 4-H to date, giving $5.8 million.

The Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance are among the largest contributors, pledging $250,000 to the campaign. In addition, several county Federations have pledged the following amounts: Coffee County, $25,000; Covington County, $1,000; Dale County, $900; Elmore County, $1,000; Jefferson County, $25,000; Marshall County, $25,000; Randolph County, $50; Talladega County, $300; Tallapoosa County, $250; Tuscaloosa County, $1,000; and Walker County, $25,000 -- a total of $104,500.

The campaign also supports 4-H programs statewide.

With this new facility, Alabama 4-H's Natural Resources and Environmental Education program will be better equipped to teach Alabama youth and educators about protecting and enhancing the environment in a facility unlike anything currently in Alabama.

4-H is the youth development component of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. It helps young people from rural and urban areas explore their interests and expand their awareness of our world while providing opportunities to develop a great sense of who they are and who they can become. This mission is achieved through research-based educational programs of Alabama's land-grant universities Alabama A&M and Auburn, and an ongoing tradition of applied, hands-on/minds-on experiences that develop the heads, hearts, hands and health of Alabama youth.

For nearly 100 years, Alabama 4-H has been a guiding force in the lives of youth. 4-H is the largest youth development organization in the state, with nearly 100,000 youth participating in programs, projects and events statewide.

For more information on the groundbreaking or the building, contact Janet McCoy at (334) 844-2298.


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