In 1977, an intrepid grassroots community movement banded together to form the Ruffner Mountain Coalition in order to protect 20 acres of the Appalachian chain in the historic Eastlake Neighborhood from a land developer planning to build an apartment complex on the site. Their passion for conservation and the mountain itself, with it’s myriad of native species of flora and fauna, has proven to be an invaluable teaching resource for youth and adults in Birmingham, AL for four decades and counting.
Today, at 1,038-acres, Ruffner Mountain is one of the largest privately held 501(c)(3) urban nature preserves in the southeast. We continue the legacy of the original Coalition through our mission of advancing the understanding of ecology in a rapidly changing world. One way that we fulfill that mission is by providing public programs that demonstrate not only the interconnectivity of the ecosystems on the mountain, but how humanity fits into the ecosystems large and small in our communities.
Our programs are organized into four categories:
Citizen Science--Training on the identification and observation of native species, for the purpose of collecting data from Ruffner Mountain and our own backyards that will help real, national scientific efforts.
Community Work Days--Opportunities to connect with the greater community, through a hands-on project that improves Ruffner and the neighborhoods that surround the Mountain. A long-time staple of Ruffner’s programming.
EcoArts--Because the Arts are a powerful teaching tool in any subject, Ruffner collaborates with the art, writing, and music communities of Birmingham to host creatively-driven classes and workshops that convey ecological concepts.
Guided Hikes--Another popular, long-standing aspect of Ruffner’s programming, guided hikes are opportunities to explore the Mountain with an expert in Alabama ecology, conservation, biology, geology, or history.
Funded by Birmingham, AL (October 2017)