Black Belt exposes Montevallo students to outdoor Alabama occupations

Black Belt exposes Montevallo students to outdoor Alabama occupations
University of Montevallo students learn about outdoor recreation and occupations on a trip to Alabama's Black Belt. (Brittany Faush-Johnson/Alabama NewsCenter)

The University of Montevallo President’s Outdoor Scholars Program continues to thrive in its second year. Recently, the students took a trip just south of Montgomery to Hope Hull to visit Gusto, a hunting preserve and cattle farm.

While visiting, students heard from Ted DeVos, a wildlife biologist and forester, regarding what it took to return the Gusto land to its original state while creating a wildlife habitat. The students learned about native and warm-season grasses, and visited a longleaf pine stand to hear about a successful prescribed burn.

Many of the students had never visited a cattle farm. They heard from Gusto manager J.W. Collier about what it takes to manage a healthy herd of Angus cows.

“Our goal is to expose these students to every occupation we can think of related to the outdoor industry,” said William Crawford, director of the scholars program. “Today, they got to learn from some experts right down the road. We are very excited to be here.”

Program seeks to awaken gusto for outdoors in Montevallo students from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

After the tour, representatives with Pepper Tree Steaks N’ Wines in Montgomery demonstrated how to properly field dress pheasant and quail. They followed the demonstration by serving the students their award-winning dish, cornbread stuffed quail.

The students also heard from Tim Gothard of the Alabama Wildlife Federation, the state’s oldest and largest nonprofit conservation organization in the state.

The trip was hosted by organizations including the wildlife federation, Alabama Black Belt Adventures and the Alabama Forestry Commission.

“We are so excited to host these students and educate them about all the opportunities they could possibly pursue in the Black Belt. This program is truly one of a kind,” said Pam Swanner of Alabama Black Belt Adventures.


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