The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association announced the addition of seven members to the organization’s Advisory Council. The Council is comprised of young professionals who are strong advocates and champions for the Black Belt region’s natural resources, cultural assets and various destinations.
“Recognizing that outdoor recreation is a strong and viable economic development tool for the sustainability of the region’s residents and communities, the ALBBAA Advisory Council was established to help support our promotion and marketing programs to a broader audience and key stakeholders,” said Pam Swanner, executive director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We are excited to grow the Advisory Council and look forward to their contributions as a group to further ALBBAA’s brand and mission.”
New association Advisory Council members:
- Laura Agee of Camden – Agee Images + Film
- Holt Blackwood of Northport – Briarpatch Outfitters
- Christopher Joe of Montgomery – Connecting Birds & Nature Tours (Newbern, AL)
- Colin Harris of Birmingham – Birmingham Recovery Center
- Cooper Holmes of Marion – Southeastern Land Group
- Addy McDaniel of Auburn– Covey Rise
- Casey Rigsby of Auburn – Westervelt
These ambassadors for the Black Belt join the current Advisory Council members of Mikel Cade (Frameworks Construction), William Crawford (University of Montevallo President’s Outdoor Scholars Program), Casey Rogers (ALFA), Hunter Smith (Southern Wildlife Services), Ellis Terry (Ingram & Associates) and Taylor Williams (PowerSouth).
Originally from Camden, Alabama, Laura Agee operates a small business, Agee Images + Film, which was created to utilize photography and videography as a tool to promote the outdoors through storytelling. Graduating from Auburn University in Hospitality Management, and thereafter serving as Director for the Wilcox Area Chamber of Commerce, she found a sense of love and appreciation for her hometown in Wilcox County and plans to use her new role and new business to highlight the beauty of the Black Belt.
Holt Blackwood is a certified wildlife biologist and farm manager who relocated back to the Black Belt in early 2021. Holt graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. in Wildlife Sciences and Forestry in 2011. After managing numerous waterfowl hunting clubs, Holt now serves as the owner and operator of Briarpatch Outfittters in Arkansas as well as the forester and wildlife biologist for the Paradise Sporting Club also in Arkansas. He currently resides in Northport.
Colin Harris is from Montgomery and spent his entire life hunting and fishing at his family’s hunting preserve, Gusto, in nearby Lowndes County. Although he enjoys deer, turkey and dove hunting, his passion lies in quail hunting and the creation of great quail habitat. The outdoors and the conservation of wildlife have always been a prevalent part of his and his family’s focus. Colin graduated from Montgomery Academy, then attended Auburn University. After working in the home renovation industry in Atlanta, Colin returned to Alabama to pursue his dream of opening a substance abuse treatment facility in Birmingham. Birmingham Recovery Center is slated to open in early June and is set on providing Alabama a new standard of substance abuse treatment.
Cooper Holmes is a sixth-generation Alabamian who grew up on the land his family settled before Alabama’s statehood in 1819. The land is nestled in the heart of the Black Belt in Perry County and has provided a livelihood for the family as a diverse farm using many conservation practices in Agriculture. Cooper is active in the Alabama Farmers Federation. He sat on the Alabama State Young Farmers committee serving as vice chairman, was a graduate of the ALFA Leaders class and currently sits on the Perry County board. He is the past president of the Perry County Cattleman’s Association and current board member. He is also a past board member for the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation and Main Street Alabama. He is an ambassador to the Black Belt region and leads tours covering the history, culture and positive projects throughout the region. Cooper lives on the family farm where he has a sheep, cattle, longleaf pine straw and agri-tourism business. He is also a land agent for Southeastern Land Group.
A native of Greensboro, Christopher Joe is 2007 graduate of Alabama A&M University with a B.S. in Agribusiness Management. He currently works as a District Conservationist located in Macon County, Alabama with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency under the USDA. Christopher is a part of the third-generation Black Angus cattle farm on the property in West Alabama that has been in the family since the early 1900s. In 2018, Christopher started Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours LLC to diversify the family’s Black Angus cattle farm. In July 2019, he hosted the first-ever Black Belt Birding Tour on the farm and saw more than 120 people in attendance. Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours offer other activities such as nature walks and biking and even camping. Christopher resides in Montgomery and is married to Christy Joe, together they have a young daughter.
Originally from the Mississippi Delta, Addy McDaniel is the production manager for Covey Rise magazine and Bourbon+ magazine. She spends her workdays creating content with her talented team and studying marketing, advertising and social media trends in the outdoor and spirits industries. Her best days, however, are those spent roaming the woods and waters of Alabama with friends and family. She currently resides in Auburn.
Casey Rigsby is a business development representative for Westervelt Ecological Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Westervelt Company, where he’s been employed for almost five years. In his position, Casey promotes conservation, which aligns with Westervelt’s commitment to stewardship of natural resources and promoting sustainable forest management. Casey resides in Auburn with his wife Morgan and their two children. His family spends much of their time in the Black Belt of Alabama where they enjoy hunting, fishing, boating and exploring all that Central Alabama has to offer. Casey attributes his passion for the outdoors to time spent as a youngster with his father. He hopes to pass on these sporting traditions to his children.