BHA Podcast & Blast, Ep. 129: Joseph Jenkins, biologist, herpetologist, Alabama wanderer

The Bankhead National Forest in Alabama is a place of shadowed canyons and rushing coldwater creeks, crystalline waterfalls and bluff shelters blackened by the smoke from campfires over thousands of years. It’s an island of rare plants and wildlife and old growth trees in a state where coalmining and industrial forestry and now the sprawl of cities have radically altered the landscape. Come with us to Moulton, Alabama, and meet native son Joseph Jenkins, a biologist and herpetologist, hunter and angler, who is working to save two of the most imperiled and least known creatures in the forest: the flattened musk turtle and the Black Warrior waterdog. What is it like to spend one’s life working to save two species that almost no one would miss if they disappeared? What did Aldo Leopold mean when he said, “The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to keep all the parts”? How did the fine chisel of evolution result in these two highly specialized creatures living only here, in this last piece of public lands wild country, in a region facing total transmogrification at the hands of humankind?   

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