News | October 9, 2015

Alabama native Dr. E.O. Wilson highlights importance of Southern Exposure films

Called the “father of biodiversity,” Dr. E.O. Wilson first developed his love of the natural world growing up in Birmingham. He went on to become the world’s leading expert on ants, naming 450 species during his more than 50-year tenure as a professor at Harvard University. His years teaching in Cambridge did little to dull his passion for Alabama and its environs, a passion he pursues in part in his support for the Southern Exposure film fellowship.

“Alabama is biologically – faunistically, floristically, and environmentally- the most interesting state in North America,” said Wilson in his interview.

That compelling biodiversity is one of the many reasons Wilson supports Southern Exposure, which recently released its 2015 films. The fellowship aims to tell authentic, engaging stories through the films by bringing Alabama’s environmental issues into focus. Films from past years have touched on topics such as the potential dangers of coal ash contamination on drinking water quality, the movement to reinstate the Forever Wild Land Trust, and natural solutions being used to preserve and protect Alabama's shoreline and coastal ecosystems from erosion.

Here you can watch E.O. Wilson explain what makes Alabama’s environment so unique and why Southern Exposure’s films are integral to the public’s understanding of the issues surrounding it.


Now in its fourth year, Southern Exposure is sponsored by SELC and made possible through the support and partnership of local and statewide conservation groups. The newly-launched website,, provides more information about current and past fellows, how prospective filmmakers can apply for the fellowship, and action items for those who want to get involved in the issues seen onscreen. More information is also available in this short film introducing the 2015 Southern Exposure projects.

Read the recent Washington Post story sharing Dr. Wilson’s take on the health and psychological benefits of being out in nature and the importance of preserving natural protected areas.