Coalition: a group of people who have joined together for a common purpose.
To advance the understanding of ecology in a rapidly changing world.
Ruffner's story begins in 1977, when a grassroots community movement formed to create the Ruffner Mountain Nature Coalition. Their mission was clear: protect the mountain ecosystem and stop a land developer's plan to build an apartment complex on-site. As you can see today, their mission is an ongoing success, as countless species of flora and fauna thrive on the mountain and Ruffner continues to grow. Thanks to the efforts of the Ruffner Mountain Nature Coalition, concerned residents of South East Lake, members of the Birmingham Humane Society, and the Vulcan Trail Association, a sprawling urban ecosystem was saved. Today, Ruffner Mountain comprises 1,040 acres of biodiverse urban forest and connects the communities of East Lake, Irondale, Roebuck Springs, and Greater Birmingham through 14 miles of trails, nature education and EcoArts programs, and of course, a love of wilderness and wildlife. We owe the original members of the Ruffner Mountain Nature Coalition a debt of gratitude and thank them for preserving not only Ruffner Mountain but an understanding of our deep connection to the natural world we all inherit.
Christine Johnston, Programs Director
Field Trips, Education Programs
Originally from Virginia, now a resident of Birmingham, Christine began working at Ruffner Mountain in 2013. She has a B.A. in Humanities, Science, and Environment, and has a decade of experience teaching children and adults about the natural world. Christine schedules and leads field trips and directs the programming at Ruffner Mountain.
Jamie Nobles, Conservation Director
Conservation efforts, Plant propagation, Greenhouse, Research
Though Jamie officially started working at Ruffner in 2015, he has been a volunteer for the organization since 2009. Jamie has a B.S. in Zoology and lives in Birmingham. Jamie develops and enacts Ruffner’s Conservation Action Plan, assists and coordinates research happening on the mountain, and actively propagates native plants at Ruffner’s greenhouse.
Chivon Morse, Operations Manager/Wildlife Curator
Captive wildlife collection and permitting, Nature Center Operations
Chivon began working at Ruffner Mountain in 2011. Originally from Texas and now a resident of Birmingham, Chivon has a B.S. in Animal Science with almost 20 years of experience working with native and exotic animals, as well as livestock. Chivon is the main contact relating to the captive wildlife collection at Ruffner, and aids in running Ruffner’s Nature Center.
Anne Balch, Bookkeeper
Anne has been with Ruffner since 2017, and she holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Material Engineering. She has been working as a bookkeeper for many years, and currently lives in Jefferson County. As Office Manager, Anne coordinates facility rentals and does the bookkeeping for Ruffner Mountain.
Kristi Houk, Communications Coordinator
Social and Print Media
Kristi has been with Ruffner Mountain since 2016. Kristi is a published poet with a B.A. in Creative Writing, and is a resident of Birmingham. Kristi handles all outgoing communication, including social media, and is Ruffner’s main media contact.
Carmen Molay, Membership Coordinator
Membership and donation documentation, Membership renewals
World-traveling, Birmingham-living Carmen started with Ruffner in 2016. She has a Master's degree in Secondary Education and a lifelong passion for environmental conservation. Carmen is responsible for maintaining Member and Donor databases at Ruffner, and aiding in development campaigns.
Aaron Hathcock, Animal Husbandry
Captive wildlife collection
The newest member of our team, Irondale resident Aaron has been an animal enthusiast his entire life. Currently going to college for his B.S., he also plays drums in a local rock band. Aaron takes care of the day-to-day duties, and training, of Ruffner’s captive wildlife collection, as well as assisting in educational programming.
Reid Robertson, Land/Conservation Technician
Trails, grounds, and facilities stewardship
Reid currently lives in Birmingham, is an avid fisherman, and can be found outdoors on most pretty days. The “MacGyver” of Ruffner, Reid assists in public facility maintenance and trail maintenance.
Carlee Sanford, Executive Director
Irondale resident Carlee has been the Executive Director of Ruffner Mountain since December 7, 2015. She holds a B.S. in Marketing, is an avid hiker, wannabe naturalist, and has a decade of experience in marketing, branding, and management. Carlee works to convey Ruffner’s mission “to advance the understanding of ecology in a rapidly changing world”.
2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
DANIEL SMART (DAN)
WILLIAM H. WEEMS, JR. (BILLY)
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
VICKIE S. ASHFORD
BRIAN R. RUSHING
JESSICA A. FINDLEY
CLARENCE D. SPECHT