Bat Researchers Visit From Kennesaw State

Researchers from Kennesaw State recently visited Ruffner Mountain to conduct research on the tricolored bat and how it is being affected by white-nose syndrome, a devastating fungal disease that has greatly reduced tricolored bat populations in the eastern U.S. over the last 20 years. Their research will be instrumental in the search to cure for this debilitating disease and in restoring the tricolored bat to its rightful place in the great southeastern biome. But first, what is white-nose syndrome?

White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease which affects the wings, nose, and other hairless parts of bats, and oftentimes, it is invisible to the naked eye. This particular fungus thrives in cold areas, such as the hibernacula, or winter resting place, of bats, posing a particularly urgent threat to these treasured fauna of the southeast, and the tricolored bat on Ruffner Mountain.

Perimyotis subflavus, the Tricolored bat, is a bat common throughout much of eastern North America. Although this miniscule bat is difficult to spot, every living thing in the Ruffner ecosystems feels its impact every day. As an insect-eater, it serves as an extraordinary natural pest-control. In fact, one tricolored bat can eat up to a quarter of its body weight in insects in only half an hour! They are small bats with yellowish-brown pelage, but the individual hairs of the bats are tri-colored: the base is dark, the middle is yellow, and the tips are dark, as well. Typically, tricolored bats are found in open woods and near water edges and tend to use deep caves and mines as winter hibernacula. Perhaps due to their longer hibernation period, this species has been especially devastated by white-nose syndrome with some population in the northeast extirpated completely and a loss of 60-80% of individual bats throughout the WNS affected range.

Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Sale

Join our friends at Birmingham Botanical Gardens for their Spring Plant Sale, Friday, April 7 through Sunday, April 9!

Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens Spring Plant Sale features over 100,000 plants, most of which have been nurtured by volunteers at The Gardens. This sale allows a unique opportunity, providing expert knowledge on the plants and by offering unique plants difficult to find in ordinary garden centers. And your purchase helps The Gardens reach its educational goals.

The Spring Plant Sale furthers The Gardens’ mission of promoting public knowledge and appreciation of plants, gardens and the environment while providing consumers seasonally appropriate planting advice from experts and satisfaction from supporting a worthwhile cause with each purchase.

Click here for more information:

The Habitat Garden Club Welcomes Spring

Join us every Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., as we prep our native plant education garden sites for new plantings and the beginning of spring. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the wildlife benefits of native plants while sharpening your gardening skills!

The native plant education gardens will enhance the aesthetics of the Nature Center and surrounding area while demonstrating the geology and ecology of the mountain, for both visitors and local schools. By evoking a sense of place and history these gardens will provide hands-on knowledge about the native plant communities and forest types on the mountain.

Where: the round-a-bout (chert circle), and the triangle median (limestone triangle)


Pulling weeds
Digging and potting up plants to transplant
Pruning and cutting back plants
Site cleanup

What to Bring:

Appropriate shoes and clothes
Water and snacks
Hand tools

We hope to see you there!

*If you don't have tools of your own to bring, we will be able to provide some tools.

UPDATE: Irondale-Ruffner Rd Trailhead

By order of preliminary injunction, the gate at the trailhead will remain open to allow for full access to the Preserve by the public until further order of the Court. The Court recognized that this trailhead has long served as one of the primary access points to the Mountain, including the point of entry for local emergency and fire departments.

The Court’s preliminary injunction also prohibits all cutting and removing of trees and other flora on the property; the disturbing of wildlife, trails, and waterways found on the property; and any other action that would harm the property or change its character.

The Court reached its decision after a two-day hearing where counsel for both sides took the testimony of four witnesses and entered more than a dozen exhibits. The Court determined that Ruffner has a reasonable legal claim to ownership of, or an easement over, the disputed property under Alabama law due its use by the public as a trailhead for more than 20 years.

The trailhead also lies on the former Birmingham Mineral Rail Line, the ownership of which is in dispute. Evidence of the historical significance of the Mineral Rail Line was submitted to the Court, as were deeds and related documents establishing that as early as the late 1800's the mineral rail line passed through the property, as well as the cities of Birmingham and Irondale and Jefferson County.

We would like to thank everyone who has followed this case since its beginning and supported Ruffner along the way. We truly could not do this without you!

We will update you in the coming weeks with any new developments.