Growing up in rural Southwest Alabama, Joe’s interest in the outdoors started early, with his mother carrying him into the deep woods long before he could walk. Later, he explored the woods alone, building shelters, climbing trees and doing those things that a young boy did before video games and 24-hour television. His interest in conservation grew as he did, beginning by volunteering with the Sierra Club in the 1990’s.
He grew that conservation interest into a passion for eco-tourism, helping write the legislation that created Alabama’s scenic byways program, developed to help protect scenic view sheds and promote tourism, particularly in our rural areas. He continues to work closely with regional planning commissions across the state, along with a variety of community planning organizations. He also works on many statewide tourism projects, including the Alabama Birding Trails project to strengthen the connection between tourism, conservation and economic development. He was elected as President Elect to Birmingham Audubon in 2015, President in 2016, and now serves as the Vice President of Programs.
He was elected to the National Audubon Society Board of Directors in 2019. Prior to venturing into the world of tourism, he worked as an editor at Southern Progress Corporation, developing recipes, and writing articles about bird-watching and nature photography.
He is a graduate of both Auburn University and Birmingham-Southern College and lives in the Highland Park neighborhood of Birmingham with his wife, Ann, and 3 indoor cats.