Visual Ecology Workshop with Doug Baulos: Fugitive Nests & Shelters

Join us this Saturday for Visual Ecology with Doug Baulos: Fugitive Nests & Shelters, an eco-arts workshop where participants get the chance to build their very own nest shelter using found objects from the natural world.

After a guided hike, each participant will be given the opportunity to build a small nest shelter for his or her new "nature friend." You will come up with a name, and a way to care for and protect the friend as if it were still in a wilderness environment. A guided meditation journaling module will be included in the project. We hope to see you there!


Night Festival Is a Success!

Wow, what a weekend! We'd like to thank everyone who came out to the first ever Night Festival this past weekend and joined us in celebrating National Moth Week. The atmosphere, the vibes, the food, the art, the conversation, the music—all of it was absolutely magical, and we'd like to thank you, Birmingham, for helping to make it a reality. A very special thanks to Doug Baulos, Michelle Reynolds, Chiharu Roach, the UAB Visual Arts Department, and each of the artists who particpated in Night Festival. Thanks to Stott Noble, John Friel, and Pete Van Zandt for their moth expertise, and thank you to Jasper Lee, Anna Thomas, Nancy Lewis, Rachael Jamison, and Daniel Long for their truly lovely musical performances. Thanks to Good People Brewing and Revelator for such fine eats and brews. Finally, a special thanks to Joshua Blackwell for rocking everybody's world with his culinary delights. I mean, just look at that cake!

If you weren't able to make it to Night Festival, be sure to check out the Alabama Museum of Natural History's Mothfest at Moundville Archaeological Park. Link in bio.

We feel very fortunate at Ruffner to live in a city with such an abundance of green space and folks who value and appreciate the natural world (like the moth). Let's continue working together to build a community that lives as part of, and not apart from, our nature. Till next time, see you on the mountain. 📸: Bob Farley @


The Very First Ruffner Zine

The Spring/Summer issue of the Ruffner Mountain zine has finally arrived! In it you will find loads of color illustrations, interviews, science facts, stories, and a whole lot of ecology. A good deal of hard work went into the creation of this, the very first Ruffner zine, so it’s our hope that you cherish it as one more chapter in the Ruffner story.

For Members of Ruffner Mountain, swing by the Nature Center any time during regular operating hours to pick up your copy. Not a Ruffner Member? Don’t worry, because the zine will also be available for purchase on our website and at participating locations around the Birmingham metro area. Keep up with us online and through social media for a complete list of locations!

Nature Center Closed for the Fourth


In observance of Independence Day, the Nature Center will be closed tomorrow, aka the Fourth of July. The gate will remain open, however, so that you can enjoy all of our trails, views, and native flora and fauna. We'd like to wish you and yours a safe, fun, and free Fourth of July. See you on the mountain!

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul." – John Muir

Nature Center Closed Tuesday and Wednesday


The Nature Center will be closed Tuesday, June 27 and Wednesday, June 28 for the Bat Blitz to be held at Ruffner, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, and various sites around Birmingham. It will be the very first area-wide survey of its kind, and the research being conducted will be instrumental in combating the effects of white-nose syndrome and protecting our bat populations. 

We will see you again on Thursday, June 29 when we re-open the Nature Center. Happy hiking!

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.