Alabama Trails Magazine

Katie Exum, publisher and editor of Alabama Trails magazine is the guest on episode 33 of Birmingham Shines.

Episode 33 released February 25, 2016.

Rotary Trail in downtown Birmingham is the next trail set to open in Birmingham. Rotary Trail is part of a much larger trail system under development in the Magic City and surrounding areas.

We are so blessed to have amazing outdoor recreation opportunities all around us. Birmingham’s burgeoning trail system and city parks are one of the reasons that Birmingham is gaining so much attention from national media and tourism bloggers. Yes, we have amazing food. But we have so much more and outdoor recreation is a big part of that.

I wanted to have Katie on the show because she and her husband have created a relatively new magazine that focuses on outdoor recreation opportunities all across Alabama, including those here in the greater Birmingham area. I think it’s a great resource for anyone who wants to learn more about what to see and do all across Alabama, including right here in Birmingham.

If you’re a regular listener to Birmingham Shines, you might remember that Deon Gordon said he marks the turning point in Birmingham’s renaissance with the creation of Railroad Park. Others on the show have echoed that sentiment. Teresa Thorne, executive director of City Action Partnership, known as CAPS downtown, is one of those individuals. Another guest, David Weigel singled out the city parks and outdoor recreation opportunities surrounding the greater Birmingham area as one of the reasons Birmingham Shines. Scot Duncan, a professor at Birmingham Southern College talked about Alabama’s amazing biodiversity and why it matters for our city, region and state.

Full show notes here: http://birminghamshines.com

TEDxBirmingham with Matthew Hamilton

Matthew Hamilton, TEDxBirmingham, guest on Episode 29 of Birmingham Shines podcast, released January 29, 2016

Welcome to episode 29 of Birmingham Shines. I’m your host and producer Sheree Martin  and this week’s show is about TEDxBirmingham: what it is, why it matters, who it’s for and more. We also talk about what makes Birmingham Shine and what makes a person shine.

My guest is Matthew Hamilton, someone I’ve been trying to have on the show since last summer and we finally had a chance to sit down just before the beginning of the year to talk about TEDxBirmingham. I’m a huge fan of TED talks and TEDx talks and use them to learn, find inspiration and spark my own innovation and creativity.

TEDxBirmingham 4th edition is set for March 12 and the leadership team just announced this year’s speakers a few weeks ago.

Matthew and I talk about the importance of TEDx events in the life of a community and the goals of TEDxBirmingham in particular. I ask Matthew to highlight a few of his favorite speakers from past TEDxBirmingham events and you can find videos of those talks on the Birmingham Shines blog. He also gives us a preview of this year’s speaker line-up.

You can apply for tickets right now through tedxbirmingham.org and Matthew explains the selection process in our conversation around the 43 minute mark. The deadline to submit your application is January 31, so only a few days left to apply for tickets. But you can also participate via the free livestream if you can’t attend in person.

Why does TEDx matter? Matthew says it creates a forum in a community where a diverse group of people can come together and share ideas. The TEDx event can be a spark or catalyst for innovation. Tt’s the sharing of ideas and bringing people together to connect that is the service TEDx events provide to a community.

The focus or mission of TED is to bring to light Ideas Worth Spreading. I like to think that my hero Benjamin Franklin would have been one of the forces to bring a TED-type of event to life. His Junto is probably the closest thing to a TED-type of event that existed in the colonies in the first half of the 18th century.

Matthew is a co-organizer with Dr. Sarah Parcak of UAB, who’s a TED Fellow. In curating the speakers for TEDxBirmingham events they try to focus on ideas that matter coming OUT of Birmingham, more than ideas about Birmingham.

“We want to share ideas that are originating in this city, out to the world,” Hamilton said.

One of the criteria used by the TEDxBirmingham organizers for speaker selections is that the idea is one that would be relevant to someone regardless of geography. The idea is not specific to Birmingham or relevant only to people in our city or region.

Matthew used the example of Dr. Pat Hymel’s TEDxBirmingham talk from 2013, which focused on how we grow and learn from our mistakes.

This year’s TEDxBirmingham has the theme of Pure Imagination. In curating speakers for this theme, Hamilton says the idea was to find speakers who consider the possibilities for the future with an emphasis on WHEN, not if.

Once we finish talking about TEDxBirmingham, past and present. Matthew shares some of his thoughts on how and why Birmingham Shines: It really comes down to the people.

We talk about two books Matthew recommends:

  • Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • How Will You Measure Your Life by Clay Christiansen

 

What makes someone shine personally? A similar theme echoed by other guests: A willingness to step out and do the thing you’re passionate about.

Alabama Summer Skies & Space Exploration with David Weigel (Bonus Episode)

David Weigel, Director fo Christenberry Planetarium at Samford University - Episode 8 of Birmingham Shines Podcast released June 15 2015

This is a bonus episode of Birmingham Shines, featuring David Weigel, a young educator and explorer who moved to Birmingham in 2014 to become the director of Christenberry Planetarium at Samford University.

David shares a bit about his love for space exploration what he likes about Birmingham (the outdoors and the city’s amenities), and some of the topics that will be covered during the Alabama Summer Skies program at Christenberry Planetarium this summer.

The free planetarium shows are interactive and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. The first show is set for June 16, 2015 and that’s why I wanted to release this episode as a bonus, while still adhering to my regular Thursday publication schedule.

In addition to astronomy 101, the shows include updates on current NASA missions like New Horizons and Dawn, and the European Space Agency Rosetta mission to the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

David talks about these missions in this episode of Birmingham Shines, as well as what you can see in the Alabama night sky this summer even if you can’t make it to one of the shows at Christenberry Planetarium.

For details about the Alabama Summer Skies shows visit the Christenberry Planetarium Facebook page. You’ll find a link to the page and the complete show notes at http://birminghamshines.com.

The regular episode of Birmingham Shines will be published, as scheduled, early Thursday morning.