LIVINGSTON, Ala. (WBRC) - A recent donation to The University of West Alabama has allowed the school to begin development of a new biodiversity center along the banks of The Cahaba River. Both the benefactor and the biologists believe this will help turn the property into a world-class learning center.
“At the end of the Appalachians to The Coastal Plain and the Cahaba, which is one of the most biodiverse rivers in the country, marks the change from the Uplands to The Coastal Plain and from that transition it created a great bit of diversity here in Bibb County,” explains Dr. Brian Keener of the University of West Alabama.
This area is now being utilized for UWA’s new Cahaba Biodiversity Center, located on over two thousand acres in Bibb County, the result of a gift from Bill Hubbard, a retired Texas oil man who came home to Alabama.
This area has always been like a second home for Mr. Hubbard. “I was always fascinated by Schultz Creek and The Cahaba River. So, now I own part of it. It’s got four miles of river frontage; 2,200 acres contiguous. It’s a nice piece of property.”
As for the donation of the property to UWA, Mr. Hubbard explains, “If you give it to your kids and ask them to never break it up, they will break it up sooner or later. So, I’d rather give it to these people. They’ll keep it together forever and they’ll do some good.”
“We serve an area where the people have a connection with and an appreciation for Nature, for biodiversity,” says Dr. John McCall, Dean of Natural Science and Math at UWA.
“We want to obviously bring in students that are interested. We’ve got the opportunity to do tremendous research. We think that The Cahaba Biodiversity Center is going to be a centerpiece in our ability to do that.”
The Center will be a truly Natural Classroom.
“We’ve developed the dorm and we can sleep 22 people at a time. There is no shortage of opportunities to study biodiversity on this campus,” according to Dr. Keener.
As for the legacy Bill Hubbard hopes to leave behind, he’s given that some thought.
“I hope the kids have more appreciation for the fact we are so biologically diverse here in Alabama and The Cahaba River’s one of the most biologically diverse rivers in the United States, and it puts the University of West Alabama on the map.”