During this twenty-second year of Audubon Teaches Nature we will explore and celebrate the diversity of Alabama's natural history. These seminars will provide you with the knowledge and skills to allow you to more fully enjoy your time in the field, whether birding, botanizing, hiking or biking. Audubon Teaches Nature
will give you the unique opportunity to meet and learn from some of Alabama's leading naturalists ~ authorities who are willing to share their years of experience and special knowledge to make your outdoor experiences more enjoyable. Our programs are designed to showcase the beauty and natural history of Oak Mountain State Park and the central Alabama region.
Programs are held at the Alabama Wildlife Center at Oak Mountain State Park, and the adjacent Oak Mountain Interpretive Center. Admission to the park is $3.00 per person, but the program itself is free.
On ATN Sundays, we'll begin by serving hot cider punch and cookies and by taking the time to get to know you. Additionally, the Observation Rooms at the Alabama Wildlife Center offer wonderful views of native Alabama wildlife; be sure to allow enough time to visit and explore the exhibits at both facilities.
Each program will open with a wildlife report from Jay Eubanks, Director of Education at the Alabama Wildlife Center. Then we'll turn to the experts who will share their perspective on the selected topic for the month. After a brief question and answer session we'll enjoy a nature walk within the park, so be sure to bring your binoculars and field guides!
Appreciation goes to Sandra Allinson, Jay Eubanks, David Frings, Greg Harber and Andrea Ramp for their generous assistance. A special thanks to our Guest Speakers: Kristin Bakkegard, Paul Franklin, Greg Harber, Steve Krotzer, Ellen McLaughlin, Nature's Echo and The Orianne Society.
Your Introduction to Alabama Birding Trails
Sunday, October 21st, 2:00 p.m. ~ Paul Franklin, Guest Speaker
Alabama is blessed with a wide variety of habitats within her borders, and filling every available niche are an equally diverse group of animals, including birds. The newly opened Alabama Birding Trails highlight the best places to view these feathered friends. Join us as Paul Franklin takes us on a journey to show us the best locations in Alabama to view resident birds, transient migrants, summer breeders and winter visitors. Be sure to bring your binoculars for a bird walk after the program.
Alabama Salamanders: Our Hidden Treasures
Sunday, November 18th, 2:00 p.m. ~ Kristin Bakkegard, Guest Speaker
Hidden among the nooks and crannies of the outdoors is a treasure trove of interesting creatures, and salamanders are among our favorites. When walking through the woods or along a creek one can't help but turn over a rock or log in search of these secretive amphibians. Come learn which species we have here in Alabama and how to identify them. This program will feature a selection of live specimens ~ bring your camera!
An Introduction to Birds of Prey
Sunday, January 20th, 1:00 p.m. & 3:00 p.m. ~ Nature's Echo, Guest Speakers
Birds of prey are fascinating and Alabama is home to several interesting species. We are amazed by their specialized adaptations and admire their hunting prowess. Due to popular demand we are offering two programs, both of which will feature live birds "on the glove." Your children will long remember these encounters with live birds of prey - be sure to bring a camera to capture the moment!
Return of the Spring Migrants ~ A Closer Look at our Favorite Birds Sunday, February 17th, 1:00 p.m. ~ Greg Harber, Guest Speaker
The promise of spring and the return of neotropical migrants brightens our late winter days. Purple Martins are among the earliest species to return to our coasts, as are Swallow-tailed Kites and a handful of warblers. This program will examine in detail the natural history of these birds. Following the program we will join the AWC in cleaning the three sets of martin houses in the park.
Dragonflies and Damselflies ~ Winged Wonders Around Us
Sunday, March 24th, 2:00 p.m. ~ Steve Krotzer, Guest Speaker
These colorful denizens of the woods, wetlands and open spaces capture our imaginations with their speed and agility. Their names give us an inkling of their diversity: Blue Dasher, Eastern Pondhawk, Halloween Pennant & Widow Skimmer. Add in those petite Damselflies and the identification challenges start to mount! Steve will introduce us to this very special group of insects: the Odonates. Weather permitting we'll look for live specimens in the park or examine nymphs captured in local streams.
Indigo Snakes in Alabama, Conserving a Species and its Habitat
Sunday, April 28th, 2:00 p.m. ~ The Orianne Society, Guest Speakers
The Eastern Indigo is perhaps the most beautiful snake in Alabama ~ it is also federally endangered. Live specimens will highlight this program as members of the society discuss conservation of these rare creatures and other inhabitants of Longleaf Pine ecosystems: Gopher Tortoises and Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes.
Soil Critters ~ It's a Tiny World Under the Microscope!
Sunday, May 19th, 2:00 p.m. ~ Ellen McLaughlin, Guest Speaker
Hidden below the leaf litter there is a part of the natural world that is composed of living things so small that they cannot be seen with the unaided eye. The beauty of these organisms will be revealed to you in this program as Ellen takes us on a guided tour of the underworld! Microscopes showcasing live specimens will supplement Ellen's photographs. Join us for this final program of the season, and sneak a peak at the world beneath your feet!