The College of Science and Math hosted a Science Pub event at the Red Clay Brewing Co. in Opelika as part of an ongoing series of guest speakers the college has invited each month.
The focus of the evening was COSAM’s guest speaker, Jason Bond and his family-oriented talk “Do Spiders Really Have Superpowers?”
The event also celebrated a new partnership between the Alabama Natural Heritage Program and the Red Clay Brewing Co. to help reintroduce the Eastern Indigo Snake to Alabama.
The project to reintroduce the snakes involves several members of faculty from COSAM along with graduate students and members of the Alabama Natural Heritage Program.
David Steen, assistant research professor in biological sciences said the Red Clay Brewing Co. created a new beer named after the snake.
"A portion of every sale comes to our efforts to re-establish the animal," Steen said.
Steen said it’s been a long process so far and those behind the project don’t know how long it will continue to take.
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"We only have success when the animals establish a population and they’re reproducing on their own," Steen said. "We’ve already released a hundred snakes and we have plans to release two hundred more over the next five or six years.”
Jim Godwin, Alabama Natural Heritage Program member, said the organization is in the eleventh year of the project.
Godwin said he's been with the project from the beginning.
“The longleaf pine ecosystem is very rich and the Alabama Gulf Coastal Plane is a biologically important area," Godwin said. "What we’re doing is putting back a piece of our natural heritage, reinstalling an ecological piece of the puzzle.”
Sara Piccolomini, University graduate student, said she's been involved with the project.
“For my masters work I’m going to be releasing Indigo snakes in Apalachicola [Florida]," Piccolomini said. "We have captive bred animals at the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation. There are a lot of people involved. It’s one step towards restoring their population.”
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