Auburn University student Taryn Wilson is ready to start up a new project at Old Cahawba. -- Ashley Johnson
Auburn University student Taryn Wilson is ready to start up a new project at Old Cahawba. -- Ashley Johnson

Auburn student creating new ventures in Selma

Published 7:00pm Saturday, June 8, 2013

New blessings could be bestowed upon Old Cahawba Park this summer with the arrival of a student stationed in Selma with the Living Democracy program of Auburn University who has some plans for the parks.

Taryn Wilson, a rising junior at Auburn studies entrepreneurship and family business. She is also minoring in sustainability and community engagement — all things she is rolling into action as she stays at the John T. Morgan house and works to start up projects like a canoe rental at Old Cahawba.

“I guess I just want for people to be open to doing different things,” Wilson said who enjoys the outdoors herself and wants everyone in the community to be able to enjoy the canoe services at the park. “even if you don’t normally go out on the river then this could be a cool experience for you.”

Living Democracy is a program at Auburn that takes anywhere from five to ten students and groups them in classes during the school year. They study subjects like community engagement and community journalism, all to train them for a summer in rural Alabama where they apply their education to making a difference. This year seven students are spread in areas like Bayou La Batre, Elba, Hobson City, Linden and Marion other than Selma.

Last year’s Living Democracy student in Selma, Andrew Odom, helped bring a bike trail into existence at Old Cahawba. This summer Wilson has plans to do something with the Alabama River at the park.

“We are setting up a canoe outfitting service through old Cahawba in which people can come and rent canoes and kayaks and stuff like that,” Wilson said, who wanted to create her project around what people like Linda Derry with Old Cahawba and Sheryl Smedley with the chamber of commerce suggested to her. “There is already a plan for a blueway along the river but most of the plans are up in the Birmingham area, but we want to just bring that down the river to Old Cahawba.”

Wilson said the project is a huge undertaking, one where they have to start at ground zero by getting the business plans approved by the state. Once that is completed they are working to get the kayaks and canoes and secure sponsorships for them. Last year, Regions Bank sponsored the bicycles at Old Cahawba for the trail.

“I think we have a good idea going, so now it’s just putting it into action,” Wilson said.

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