Information to final minute vacation present concepts from Birmingham nature-based organizations


Alliemarie Humphries of Alabama Audubon holds a green heron in Avondale Park in Birmingham. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Attention all late Christmas buyers! Are you looking for last-minute ways to make your Christmas gifts more nature-based and meaningful this year?

Below are some gift ideas for the nature lover in your household.

Buy a Car Tag for Christmas

Proposed Alabama Audubon Auto Day. Photo courtesy Alabama Audubon

Would you like to have a lasting positive influence on the birds of Alabama? Make a commitment to purchase an Alabama Audubon car sticker for Christmas. And get this – it’s FREE!

Alabama Audubon needs 1,000 car owners nationwide to commit to purchasing their specialty “Protect Our Birds” label. And here is the best. When you’re short on cash, Alabama Audubon will meet your $ 50 pledge! Find out all the details HERE.

You may be wondering – why is this such a powerful gift? If Audubon hits its 1000 day goal, thousands of Alabamians can purchase a special tag that benefits birds. It will provide Alabama Audubon with a steady source of income for decades.

Other Conservation Alabama Specialty Car Tags Available (No Commitment Required) – Cahaba River Society (and Boot Tags, too!), Legacy, Alabama Wildlife Federation, Alabama State Parks, and Forever Wild.

Support our local parks and hiking trails

Birmingham Mountain High walkers on Ruffner Mountain. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

They broke attendance records this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Red Mountain Park, Ruffner Mountain and Railroad Park. The Freshwater Land Trust reports that many more people are using the Red Rock Trail System.

The influx of more people – which is fantastic – means these organizations need to provide extra security in the nature reserve and parks. They also need help with the maintenance of the trails and other efforts to manage the nature reserves.

Here is a Christmas gift idea. Buy your loved ones and friends from our many good local outfitters like Alabama Outdoors and Mountain High Outfitters.

Then….

Make these gifts extra special by supporting the 3 Rs – Red Mountain Park, Ruffner Mountain and Railroad Park. To cover all of your bases, support the Freshwater Land Trust (the trails), Turkey Creek Nature Preserve in Pinson. For $ 100, you can join 5 organizations. The cost of a good pair of walking shoes.

Red Mountain ParkAerial view of Red Mountain Park, the largest public nature reserve in Birmingham, stretching over 1500 acres. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

One last Christmas tip about trails. Visit a Local Bookstore and Buy Tom Spencer’s Birmingham: 35 Beautiful Hikes In and Around Central Alabama.

A wet Christmas?

Cahaba Lily at the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge in 2020. Photo Pat Byington for Bham Now

If you’re more of a river or stream person, check out Ben Raines’ new book on biodiversity in Alabama called Saving America’s Amazon. The last time we checked, they still have copies on the Fultondale Books-A-Million.

Combine this gift with a membership of our local river conservation organizations. Again – we have 5 groups to choose from. We recommend them all!

Three Riverkeepers live in Birmingham and Central Alabama – the Black Warrior Riverkeeper, the Coosa Riverkeeper and the Cahaba Riverkeeper. They protect our rivers through their swimming and fish guides and the vigilant surveillance and defense of our waters.

David Zagardo is rowing down the Cahaba River in the “Giant Pumpkin”. Photo courtesy David Zagardo

In addition to the river keepers, there is the Cahaba River Society and the Alabama Rivers Alliance.

Memberships are great gifts, but don’t forget to check out each organization’s “gift shops” on their websites.

Perfect virtual school Christmas gift

The Ecoscape at Birmingham Southern College. Photo from the southern environmental center

And now something very practical for Christmas for children who are at home in the virtual school.

Gift memberships at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham Zoo, McWane Science Center, Southern Environmental Center and the Fresh Air Family are perfect for those who want to spend part of their winter at home in a virtual school.

Children in the gardensPhoto courtesy Birmingham Botanical Gardens

And let’s be honest – they’re ALL fun too.

Make a difference

Hope this tip sheet helps you out with your last minute Christmas shopping. Think about it, you don’t even have to get in your car and drive to the local mall. Most importantly, the gifts and your support from these local nature organizations make this holiday season meaningful.

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  • Pat Byington

    Longtime conservationist. Former executive director of the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Editor of Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in creating Alabama’s Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preserving special places throughout the east through the Wilderness Society, and strengthening (exacerbating) cancer in Alabama Risk and Mercury Standards.

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