2019 Class Schedule

2019 Classes at Mountain Workshop

FRIDAY MORNING

Beginning Birding with John Michael Imhof
An introduction to some of the skills, resources, and tools used in birding, presented through a short lecture, an interactive slide show, a question-and-answer session, and a moderate walk to apply knowledge from class to the observation and identification of a number of bird species.
What to bring: binoculars and birding guides, if you own them (additional binoculars will be available for those who can’t bring their own)
Physical expectations: moderate hiking on established trails

Riparian Ecology: Rivers, Floodplains, and Watersheds with Henry Hughes, Michelle Blackwood & Jessi Miller
This program is about rivers and streams and the landscapes around them. Together, we’ll cover a) the flow dynamics of watersheds (water movement in soil; surface runoff under various conditions; causes of channel formation; erosion dynamics), b) bank and floodplain forests (stabilization by woody and herbaceous plants; soil development; water quality and quantity; nutrient cycling), and c) the details of development and storm-water regulation (community risks; avoidance, minimization, mitigation; permitting under the Clean Water Act). We’ll then walk to view several of these topics playing out on the West Fork of the Little River.
What to bring: outdoor walking shoes and gear for light rain
Physical expectations: easy walking to the river overlook

Nature Stories with Rebecca Yeager
Learn how to use the natural world as an inspiration for performance and storytelling.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations: none

Exploring Native American Alabama with Mairin Odle
This course provides a brief introduction to Alabama’s Native American history. The first portion of the course will be classroom based, with an overview of the thousands of years of rich Native history in the Southeast. We’ll discuss important sites in the region, like the stunning Mississippian city at Moundville, and major historical turning points, like the initial European incursions into the area. We’ll then jump forward to discuss a more recent and crucial event in Alabama history: the era of the Indian Removal Act. The second portion of the course will continue our discussion with a quick trip off-site to Fort Payne, where thousands of Cherokees began their forced removals to the west in the 1830s. We’ll visit a few sites on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, then conclude class and return to camp. I’ll provide a packet for course participants with recommendations for additional readings and information on selected Native sites in the region.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations: gentle outdoor walking

The Life of Butterflies with Vitaly Charny
Participants in this class will enjoy a butterfly-based field trip through several different local habitats, with plenty of opportunities to observe and identify Alabama butterfly species.
What to bring: binoculars and butterfly field guides, if you have them
Physical expectations: moderate hiking on established trails

Canyon Biology with Jack Johnston
A visit to Little River Canyon, with an emphasis on the geology, vegetation, and animal life of this interesting riparian habitat.
What to bring: good hiking shoes and a water bottle
Physical expectations: strenuous hiking over rough terrain

Single-rope Technique with Fennigan Spencer & colleagues
Through this course, you’ll be introduced to the newest and safest ascending and descending systems used in vertical exploration. We will go over the types of systems used and their functions, take questions, and view a slide show of some cavers doing the vertical work. Then we’ll suit you up! Your certified instructors have many years of experience and many miles on the rope. Please note that this is an introductory class only. Each student will be able to rappel with an instructor at least once off the rock wall at camp.
What to bring: fitted clothing without excessive loose material; a bandana to tie up long hair; a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and sturdy shoes (preferably hiking boots)
Physical expectations: students should be in good physical health; vertigo or other height-related issues may present problems
Note: This course will be offered four times—on Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon.


FRIDAY AFTERNOON

Itajime and Kirigami Bird Book Journals with Douglas Baulos
Participants in this workshop will sew a bird-shaped journal using handmade papers and natural dyes. We will create a flock of SE bird books and discuss taxonomy, paper formation using indigo dye from Doug’s dye garden, and marble with natural dyes. This lab workshop will focus on observing and heightening awareness of textures and patterns observed in nature, while creating beautiful kirigami book forms using paper-marbling and indigo-folding techniques to promote field inquire and your artistic/meditation practice. The processes support well-being through sensory immersion in the forest and through establishing a paper-folding practice. We will also discuss Shinrin-yoku, which is a recognized relaxation and/or stress-management activity in Japan.
What to bring: an apron or old shirt—all other materials supplied
Physical expectations: light walking

Twenty-first-century Birding with Adam Betuel
The expansion of smart phones, bird apps, social media, and citizen-science programs has drastically changed the birding world. Locating birds, planning trips, and keeping records have all become much easier with these technologies. This course will cover some of these tools, focusing primarily on eBird and all its functions. You will learn how to submit a checklist, track all your sightings, and explore the vast database behind eBird, and will also receive a brief introduction to other programs like NestWatch and Merlin. After the workshop, we’ll do a short walk near the classroom to put some of these new skills to the test.
What to bring: Binoculars. A smartphone or tablet may be useful if you wish to follow along, but are not necessary. If you go this route, consider creating a free account with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Alternatively, a notebook or other way to take notes may be useful.
Physical expectations: Primarily classroom based, with easy walking around camp

Moths of Alabama and Georgia with James K. Adams
This course will cover a variety of moths that can be found in the southern Appalachians. In the evening, we’ll set out traps to capture moths overnight; just before nightfall, we’ll set up a black-light sheet and participants will be encouraged to put their newly acquired identification skills to good use. Those with a photography background can also take photographs for later identification.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations: none
Note: This course will be offered twice, once on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday afternoon. It will also require some morning and evening work to get the moths. 

Vegetable Lacto-fermentation with Malia Fincher
This course covers a brief discussion of different ways to culture and ferment food, a hands-on session in which we’ll prep food for fermentation in jars for participants to take home with them. We’ll cover kombucha, mead, all kinds of fermented pickles and fermented veggies, kraut, yogurt, cheese, kefir, and sourdough.
What to bring: two wide-mouthed jars, if you have them; we will have a small number of extras on hand
Physical expectations: none

Backpacking 101 with Kate Gribbin
Have you ever dreamed of navigating to the solitude of a cool mountain lake, sleeping under a desert sky full of stars, or discovering the secret life of the forest beyond a day’s hike?  These are all possible with backpacking, and this course provides students the basic knowledge to start dreaming up their first trip. Participants will learn the benefits of backpacking, practice hands on skills like fire-building and campsite setup, and get practical advice on trip planning and equipment needs.
What to bring: hiking shoes, rain gear, and water
Physical expectations: moderate hiking on established trails and kneeling or crouching

Alabama Wildflowers with Ellen W. McLaughlin
Last year, we found between thirty five and forty flower species within fifty feet of the entrance to Alpine Camp. This year, we’ll take an easy field trip to identify the common roadside wildflowers, then learn about floral structure through examining some of the more beautiful blooms using a dissecting microscope. The emphasis will be on the mint, composite, and parsley families. We will also learn how to use a sweep net to collect insects or spiders that live on the flowers, and will use the microscopes to identify these, as well. 
What to bring:
simple digital camera and walking shoes
Physical expectations: easy hiking through nature

Single-rope Technique
See description above.
Note: This course will be offered four times—on Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon.


SATURDAY MORNING

Birding by Habitat with Paul Franklin
Birds are inextricably tied to their habitat niches. You can maximize the number and variety of birds you see by understanding the bonds between species and habitat. We’ll describe several habitat types, then visit example sites to sample the bird life found there.
What to bring: binoculars and field guides if you have them; comfortable shoes and clothing
Physical expectations: easy walking

Field Entomology with Granty Gentry and Malia Fincher
Field Entomology will introduce the student to the taxonomy, natural history, and ecology insects found in the southern Appalachians. The course will take a field approach, starting with a brief introductory talk covering the common families of insects and the ecological relationships, both with one another and with the surrounding plant and animal communities. This will be followed by an excursion where multiple methods of collecting and/or live capturing insects for study and photography will be demonstrated in vivo. Live-captured and collected insects will be taken back to the “lab” for further discussion and study. 
What to bring:
close-toed shoes, long-sleeved shirts, long pants (i.e., hiking-in-the-woods clothing); optional items include cameras with macro lenses, a good walking staff, insect net, gloves 
Physical expectations:
an hour or so of moderate walking in the local terrain; insect phobias may pose difficulties

Meditation and the Natural World with Jack Johnston
Learn meditation techniques for remaining relaxed and mentally alert, for stress reduction, and for mental focus. Together, we’ll examine the nature of consciousness and spiritual awareness, share brief sessions of meditation practice, and provide opportunities for feedback from participants.
What to bring: a cushion for sitting
Physical expectations: the ability to sit quietly

Exploring Wild Alabama with Ken Wills
This course will provide a sweeping survey of Alabama’s extraordinary physiographic and biological diversity, and will highlight at least on natural community within each of the eleven physiographic provinces. We’ll follow this discussion with a field trip to Lynn Overlook of Little River Canyon, where participants can see rare plants like elf orpine and carnivorous plants like sundews and the green pitcher plant.
What to bring: clothes and shoes appropriate for a nature walk
Physical expectations: participants will need to be able to walk a little less than a quarter mile on relatively flat, but uneven and possibly wet, terrain

Experiencing Bird Behavior Up Close with Herb Lewis
We’ll take a look at a broad range of bird behaviors that are difficult to observe during typical birding tours in the field. The success of attracting a wide variety of birds to a backyard wildlife-habitat garden has provided opportunities to observe exceptional behaviors up close. This workshop will illustrate the techniques incorporated by the author into his own backyard habitat that set the stage for observing these intimate bird behaviors. The goal is to create a heightened sensitivity for observing bird behavior at home and in the field. 
What to bring:
nothing
Physical expectations:
none

Reptiles and Amphibians of Alabama with Jimmy and Sierra Stiles
This workshop will consist of a talk on the reptiles and amphibians of our state, featuring live animal demonstrations.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations: none

Medical Entomology with Evan Lampert
This course will introduce participants to the field of medical entomology, the study of insects and arthropods of medical significance. There will be a brief lecture to introduce participants to medical entomology and parasitology concepts such as taxonomy, host-parasite interactions, coevolution, and life cycles. Following this, the instructor will lead a discussion about mosquitoes and their importance. Participants will then complete a short exercise identifying mosquitoes that have been trapped previously, and will have the opportunity to dissect the mosquitoes for the presence of dog heart worm immatures. After the exercise, the instructor will give a brief presentation about a novel way to potentially control mosquitoes using bacteria, then lead a discussion about ticks. After the discussion, participants will complete an exercise collecting ticks from the grasslands. Remaining time will be used to discuss venomous arthropods such as bees, wasps, spiders, and scorpions, and an opportunity to address common misconceptions about these ecologically important and valuable organisms.
What to bring:Sturdy walking shoes, walking stick, water, snack, insect repellent, rain gear.
Physical expectations: no

Land Navigation with Charles Yeager
Explore the basics of land navigation, geocaching, and orienteering. We’ll begin with a discussion on the use of topographic maps, plotting, compasses, and Global Positioning Systems. We will then break up into small groups to use these skills to locate a few control points (orienteering) and geocaches at DeSoto State Park.
What to bring: clothing appropriate for off-trail hiking, such as long pants and ankle-supporting footwear (preferably hiking boots)
Physical expectations: moderate hiking on uneven terrain.

Single-rope Technique
See description above.
Note: This course will be offered four times—on Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon.


SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Plants for Birds with Paul Franklin
Learn all about how to transform your landscape into a natural attractant for birds.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations: none

Moths of Alabama and Georgia with James K. Adams
This course will cover a variety of moths that can be found in the southern Appalachians. In the evening, we’ll set out traps to capture moths overnight; just before nightfall, we’ll set up a black-light sheet and participants will be encouraged to put their newly acquired identification skills to good use. Those with a photography background can also take photographs for later identification.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations: none
Note: This course will be offered twice, once on Friday afternoon and again on Saturday afternoon. It will also require some morning and evening work to get the moths. 

Japanese Fish-printing (Gyotaku) with Jim Brown and Dana Girard
Explore this unusual Japanese art form with a short introductory discussion, followed by hands-on printmaking.
What to bring: A willingness to handle dead fish (essential); old clothes, suitable for being splattered with ink and/or paint. (Paper, ink, paints, and brushes will be provided.)
Physical expectations: none

Geology of Little River Canyon with Larry Beane
Explore the principles and practice of geology in one of Alabama’s most striking landscapes.
What to bring: comfortable walking shoes, hat, water
Physical expectations: moderate hiking on uneven terrain

Rare Plants of Lookout Mountain with Chris Oberholster
Learn more about the many state and globally-rare plants that occur in the rich variety of habitats in the Appalachians of northeastern Alabama. The class includes a slide presentation to introduce participants to the physiographic regions, geology, and natural habitats of the area, as well as some of the rare plants species. We will also spend some time exploring the forests and sandstone glades in the vicinity of the camp.
What to bring: comfortable hiking shoes, hat, water
Physical expectations: moderate hiking

Forest Ecology: How to Read a Forest with Scot Duncan
Participants in this class will hike through the nearby forest to see six different natural ecosystems.  For each, we’ll study how five key ecological factors create them. Students will also learn about why Alabama leads most of the nation in total biodiversity, and why Lookout Mountain’s ecology and biodiversity are so diverse.  The hike will cover about one mile and be on the trails fringing Camp Alpine.  Trails can be muddy and a few sections are steep.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations: moderate hiking on the trails surrounding the camp

Plant-Insect Interactions at Little River Canyon with Tom Diggs and Evan Lampert
This course will examine several aspects of plant and insect interaction in and around Little River Canyon. The class will participate in lecture and data-gathering activities centered on pollination, herbivory, and, if possible, fruit dispersal in several environments unique to the canyon, including glades, prairies, woodlands, and riparian habitats. This class will be an opportunity for workshop participants to learn about vascular plants, insects, their ecological associations, and coevolutionary relationship, as well as to participate in the gathering of scientific data regarding the flora and fauna of the canyon. Lectures will be conducted in the field, with a minimum of classroom time. Students should expect to spend the entire afternoon out in the field. 
What to bring:
sturdy walking shoes, walking stick, water, snacks, insect repellant 
Physical expectations:
long hikes and long periods of systematic, outdoor data gathering; squatting, kneeling, bending at the waist for extended periods

Single-rope Technique
See description above.
Note: This course will be offered four times—on Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon.


SUNDAY MORNING

Birding by Ear with Paul Franklin
Learn to identify birds before they’re seen. We’ll discuss song “families” and learn to differentiate the individual songs in those families. Learn easy-to-remember mnemonic devices to enable easy recognition of songs. We’ll tour the area around the camp, and visit several “hot spots” to listen and look for many of the region’s signature species.
What to bring: binoculars and field guides; comfortable shoes and clothing
Physical expectations: easy walking

The Atlatl, an Early-Alabama Technology with Larry Beane
Join Larry Beane as he explores one of Alabama’s oldest pre-Columbian technologies, the atlatl. Students will learn all about this ancient hunting instrument before making one of their own.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations: none

Writing Biodiversity with Heidi Staples
In The Poetic Species, preeminent biologist E. O.Wilson urges creative writing to “colonize science.” This course will take up Wilson’s charge, applying expressive language and imagination to naturalist know-how. Genre explorations will include the personal essay, the Chinese rivers-and-mountains tradition, and the walk poem; writing devices will include description, narration, figuration, juxtaposition, superimposition, antithesis, chiasmus, and zoomorphism. Texts provided will include: “Weasel,” by Annie Dillard; excerpts from Mountain Home: The Wilderness; Poetry of Ancient China, translated by David Hinton; and Mountains and Rivers Without End, Gary Snyder. A notebook to personalize and a pencil will also be provided.
What to bring: sense of adventure
Physical expectations: easy walking

Intro to Fly Fishing with Grant Gentry & Charles Yeager
Explore the exciting world of fly fishing through an introduction to the sport, fly selections, casting techniques, as well as a trip to Little River to practice these skills. The course is designed for beginners with no previous experience beyond an interest in learning. We’ll provide extra tackle, rods, and waders for those who need them.
What to bring: If you have your own fly fishing gear, you should feel free to bring it, although we will have extra equipment (including waders) for those who don’t.
Physical expectations: moderate hiking on uneven terrain; wading over slippery rocks and through flowing water

Alabama Folk Culture with Joey Brackner
Get an overview of Alabama folk culture, and the mingling of Native-American, African, and European cultural traditions that make Alabama unique. We’ll draw upon traditions in architecture, craft, music, and the funerary arts to draw attention to how Old World practices and beliefs mingled with those of native Alabamians over the last four centuries.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations:
none

Nature in Prehistoric and Current Pottery with Tammy Beane
This course will explore nature themes found in pottery created by prehistoric artists in Alabama. These effigies reflect what these people saw in their lives and through the lens of their belief systems. During the course, you’ll see reproductions of some of the pieces found here in the state, and enjoy hands-on instruction with clay and other materials to allow you to create your very own work of nature art.
What to bring: nothing
Physical expectations: none

Casual Birding with Lianne Koczur
Birmingham Audubon’s new Science & Conservation Director will lead an extended casual Sunday-morning bird walk in the habitats near camp. A great opportunity for beginning birders and those looking for a slower pace. 
What to bring:
binoculars, if you have them
Physical expectations:
light walking on the trails near camp

 

Meet the faculty 

  • James K. Adams lived for the first eighteen years of his life in Liberty, Missouri, northeast of Kansas City, and graduated from high school there. He attended the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence, completing his undergraduate degree in Systematics & Ecology (Biology) in 1983, then continued at KU for his graduate degrees, ultimately completing his doctorate in 1990, also in Systematics & Ecology. He came to Dalton State College in the fall of that year, and has been teaching Principles of Biology and Human Anatomy & Physiology since that time. He also teaches the Entomology course (Insect Biology) in the fall semester of each year.  More recently, since the addition of the four-year degree in biology, he has been teaching Evolution in the fall and Ecology in the spring.
  • Douglas Baulos received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He regularly teaches workshops and lectures on his research in book arts, drawing, and mixed media. In 2009, Baulos won the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at UAB.
  • Larry Beane holds a BA in Anthropology and Archaeology, with a minor in Geology, from Catawba College (Salisbury, North Carolina). He is passionate about both the past and the present life of northeastern Alabama. Larry has been collecting rocks and knowledge for over fifty years, and has been interested in archaeology for almost as long. His current hobbies include kayaking, flint-knapping, botany, geology, nature, and sharing knowledge.
  • Tammy Beane is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and the Mississippi Craftsmen’s Guild, a life member of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, and a Dana Teaching Artist. Tammy has been reproducing prehistoric and early historic Southeastern Indian pottery for museums and archaeologist for twenty-seven years. During that time, she has worked with UNC and The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina), The Cherokee Heritage Museum (Tahlequah, Oklahoma), and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (Durant, Oklahoma) to help in the revitalization of traditional Southeastern pottery. Tammy also produces Southern Mud Pottery, a line of nature inspired art pottery using the same prehistoric techniques as her reproductions.
  • Adam Betuel is Atlanta Audubon’s first-ever Conservation Director. He has a BS in Zoology from the Ohio State University, and attended graduate school at Indiana State University (Ecology). Adam is a trained field ornithologist who has worked on projects throughout the eastern United States and South America. In addition to his conservation duties, Adam leads trips for Atlanta Audubon throughout Georgia, the Southeast, and internationally. 
  • Michelle Blackwood is President of the Friends of Shades Creek, an organization devoted to protecting and preserving the cultural and biological heritage of Shades Creek. Originally from Kansas, she is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She retired in 2018 as Marketing Specialist and Community Liaison at America’s First Federal Credit Union while serving as president of the board of the Cahaba River Society.
  • Joey Brackner is a folklorist and the director of the Alabama Center for Traditional Culture, a division of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He is the author of Alabama Folk Pottery (UA Press, 2006) and host of the APT series “Journey Proud.”
  • Jim Brown taught European, Asian, and World History at Samford University from 1971 to 2016.  During that time, he took students to more than a dozen countries on five continents, usually in the company of a biologist with whom he could explore interactions between cultures and the environment. Jim began teaching a “Europe-to-America” folklore class in the mid-1970s.
  • Vitaly Charny is a butterfly-monitoring enthusiast who has conducted regular butterfly counts in Alabama for more than twenty years, accumulating more than 50,000 butterfly records and pictures of more than 130 species of Alabama butterflies.  He co-authored the first book of Butterflies of Alabama with Samford University’s W. Mike Howell.  Vitaly is a member of the Southern Lepidopterists Society.  He is one of the initiators and creators of the Alabama Butterfly Atlas that include his observations and photos.  His other interests include damselflies, lichens, cacti, lizards, tropical-fish breeding, philately, genealogy, and photography.  Vitaly has a degree in Nuclear Physics from Belarus State University in Minsk, Belarus, and currently works in the information-technology field.
  • Tom Diggs was born in Montgomery, Alabama, and grew up in the woods and waters of that state. He earned an undergraduate degree in biology from Auburn University at Montgomery, a masters in biogeography at the University of Alabama, and a doctorate in biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has done a wide variety of work all over the country related to science and biological inventories, including with the World Wildlife Fund on studies of North American freshwater ecosystems; with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management on toxicity studies of Alabama waters; and with the National Park Service on plant, fish, and mammal inventories. He has also taught courses at UAB, Birmingham-Southern, and Samford, as well as at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. He currently teaches and does research at the University of North Georgia.
  • R. Scot Duncan is a Professor of Biology at Birmingham-Southern College, where he teaches ecology, conservation biology, and environmental studies. Dr. Duncan earned a BS in Biology from Eckerd College (1993) and an MS (1997) and PhD (2001) in Zoology from the University of Florida. His research experiences have taken him to Antarctica, Uganda, Costa Rica, Panama, Florida and Arizona. Currently his research centers on the ecology of endangered species (including the watercress darter) and imperiled ecosystems (including Montane Longleaf Pine) of the Southeast.  He is the author of the award-winning Southern Wonder: Alabama’s Amazing Biodiversity (2013) and is currently writing a new book about the future of southeastern rivers.
  • Malia Fincher is a biologist at Samford University. Her expertise is in tropical forest ecology, but her love of rain forests is matched by her love of tasty food and the science behind it.
  • Paul Franklin has photographed professionally for thirty years, during which time his work has appeared in major magazines and on websites, album covers, and television. He continues to work with private clients to produce professional images for magazines, modeling portfolios, commercial enterprises, and political candidates. Paul taught photography for over twenty-five years at UAB, Samford, and Montevallo, and continues to mentor and assist amateurs and professionals alike. An avid birder and an expert on Alabama’s birdlife, he has written and photographed extensively for the Alabama Birding Trails project.
  • Grant Gentry is an ecologist who received his degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied ant-plant mutualisms. Over the last several years, he has worked in Costa Rica, Louisiana, and Ecuador, using interactions among plants, caterpillars, and parasitic insects to study how communities of organisms arrange themselves, what kinds of biological or physical conditions alter those arrangements, and how biological diversity changes as a result. Grant has a particular interest in the ecology and natural history of caterpillars, and in the animals and insects that eat them. 
  • Dana Girard studied graphic arts and design at the Ringling School of Art, and has created and illustrated publications for the Tennessee State Parks, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the Tennessee Department of Education, and Tennessee Technological University. Dana doesn’t mind handling dead fish.
  • Kate Gribbin has a passion for the outdoors, utilizing a lifetime of outdoor recreation with family and friends—as well as a BS and MS in Forestry—to share her love of nature with everyone she meets.  As a park naturalist and manager with Alabama State Parks, Kate exposed thousands of visitors to Alabama’s natural wonders through guided hikes, wilderness skills classes, and wildlife programs.  She carries this same energy and experience into her company, Butterfly Outdoors, which she designed to teach others environmental conservation and the wilderness skills necessary to safely explore the natural world. Kate also enjoys hiking, backpacking, kayaking, birding, and volunteering to promote environmental conservation. 
  • Henry Hughes is Executive Director of Friends of Shades Creek. He has served on the boards of the Alabama Rivers Allicance and the Cahaba River Society. He is particularly interested in the ecological and aesthetic integrity of riparian forests. He studied Forestry and Botany at Sewanee: The University of the South and Plant and Soil Science at the University of Kentucky and at Texas A&M University.
  • John Michael Imhof has had a special interest in ornithology dating back to his earliest memories. As a child, he was fascinated by nature, and birds in particular, as he accompanied his father, Thomas Imhof (author of the classic Alabama Birds), on endless excursions into God’s Creation. For a number of years, John has served as a party leader for several bird counts conducted by Birmingham Audubon, including Christmas counts and spring and fall counts.  He is also an observer for the U.S. Geological Survey Breeding Bird Survey, and has been an instructor at the Birmingham Audubon Mountain Workshop for many years.
  • Jack Johnston is a naturalist who specializes in bird study and watershed biology. He grew up in northeastern Alabama, and has extensive field experience in the area. Jack’s interest in meditation began in 1985, at which time he began studying with Roy Eugene Davis. He has since provided numerous meditation workshops for health care professionals, at yoga retreats, and for other interested groups. 
  • Lianne Koczur is the Science & Conservation Director at Birmingham Audubon. A native of Massachusetts, she earned her BA in Biology from the University of Maine at Farmington, and her MS (in Range and Wildlife Management) and PhD (in Wildlife Science) at Texas A&M-Kingsville. 
  • Evan Lampert was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of an entomologist at North Carolina State University. He grew up in Wimbledon, North Dakota, and earned his undergraduate degree in zoology and his doctorate in entomology at North Dakota State University. He then pursued postdoctoral research in insect ecology at the University of Colorado before his hire at Gainesville State College, now the University of North Georgia (UNG). Evan has taught a variety of non-major, introductory, and upper-level courses at UNG, including environmental science, ecology, and biodiversity courses. He has traveled over much of the U.S. for research and insect collecting, and has mentored over thirty undergraduate student researchers; he also enjoys teaching children and adults about insect diversity and the ways that insects benefit humans.
  • Herb Lewis is a retired engineer who has developed a second career in designing and teaching effective techniques to attract many species of birds to the backyard. Over the last fourteen years, he has shared his experiences through workshops, presentations, and yard tours to diverse groups. His yard was featured in the July/August 2016 issue of Alabama Gardener magazine, and was included in the June 2007 Tour of Huntsville Gardens sponsored by the Huntsville Botanical Garden.
  • Ellen W. McLaughlin, Professor Emeritus, retired from the Samford University in August 2007 after forty years of teaching embryology, histology, and introductory courses in zoology and botany for majors. She currently coordinates and teaches courses in the Natural History Rewards program at Samford After Sundown. Even in retirement, Ellen continues to conduct studies on dandelions and aquatic habitat analysis, and is an active member of Birmingham Audubon and the Alabama Wildflower Society. She enjoys her summer home on a lake in Maine, as well as traveling to more remote areas of the world. A Long Island native, she holds degrees from the State University of New York at Albany (BS), the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (MA), and Emory University (PhD).
  • Jessi Miller studied Biology at Lees McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, and at Eastern Washington University. She currently works for a federal agency in Frankfort, Kentucky, and is a board member of the Frankfort Audubon Society.
  • Chris Oberholster has more than 25 years of experience working to conserve the rich biodiversity of Alabama, including several years as Botanist & Community Ecologist for the Alabama Natural Heritage Program.  He is currently the Partnership & Policy Director for Birmingham Audubon. 
  • Mairin Odle is an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Alabama, where she teaches courses in Native American Studies and early American culture.
  • Fenn Spencer is a native of Birmingham, Alabama now living in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  He is a life-long adventurer, explorer, and lover of all things outdoors.  He was born into a caving family and have been venturing underground since he was six years old.  As a member of the National Speleological Society, Fenn proudly engages with the general public in all areas concerning caving as a sport and or lifestyle. Promoting safety first, leave no trace, education and having fun in Mother Nature’s playground is his passion.
  • Heidi Lynn Staples’ debut collection Guess Can Gallop was selected by Brenda Hillman as a winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize. She is the author of three other collections including A*A**A*A* (forthcoming from Ahsahta, 2018). With the poet Amy King, she co-founded Poets for Living Waters (https://poetsgulfcoast.wordpress.com/), an international poetry initiative, and Big Energy Poets: Ecopoetry Thinks Climate Change (BlazeVOX, 2017). She is the founding faculty member of the EcoLit Arts Project, currently collaborating with Birmingham Audubon and Dauphin Island Sea Lab. She teaches at the MFA Program at the University of Alabama.
  • Jimmy and Sierra Stiles are currently working on graduate degrees at Auburn University. Together, they’ve conducted studies on reptiles and amphibians across Alabama, with current projects surveying Black Warrior River Waterdogs, conducting herpetofaunal surveys of watersheds of Alabama’s high-conservation-concern watersheds, and exploring the reintroduction of Eastern Indigo Snakes into Conecuh National Forest (which they also call home).
  • Ken Wills has a BS in Biology and an MS in Physical Geography, and has spent a lifetime exploring the natural communities of Alabama and working to conserve them. He is President of the Friends of Moss Rock Preserve, Acting Coordinator of the Alabama Glad Conservation Coalition, and Volunteer Coordinator for Birmingham Audubon’s Limestone Park Project. He recently co-authored a book with Larry Davenport, Exploring Wild Alabama, which features all the publicly accessible natural areas in our state. 
  • Charles Yeager, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, received a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Environmental Studies from Birmingham-Southern College in 2010. Since 2012, he has managed the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve (TCNP) in Pinson and, in addition to the day-to-day maintenance of the Preserve, directs the Preserve’s Environmental Education Programs, which reach over 6,000 participants every year. While at TCNP, Charles has worked to champion environmental awareness through restoration projects, municipal partnerships, and community outreach development. He has also worked to improve the visitor experience at TCNP through the expansion of the Preserve’s hiking trails and public programing.
  • Rebecca Yeager is an actor and teaching artist who specializes in integrated movement and vocal technique for the actor, including yoga, stage combat, Lugering technique, and Commedia dell’Arte. She has a love for classical texts, especially Shakespeare, Moliere, and Greek tragedy. Rebecca received her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi. During her time at USM, Rebecca presented her creative and academic research, was awarded grants for her classical and movement based educational outreach work, had her creative project research published, and was both an Irene Ryan Nominee and Regional Semi-Finalist at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Rebecca graduated Cum Laude from Birmingham-Southern College with a
    Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre, is the Resident Artist at Birmingham Children’s Theatre, serves on the faculties of Birmingham-Southern College and Auburn University Montgomery. Some of her favorite roles include Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web, Prospero in The Tempest, Betty in the world premier of Love Is A Blue Tick Hound, Eurydice in Eurydice, The Fool in King Lear, Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Mute in The Fantastiks. You can see her this June as The Mad Hatter in Alice In Wonderland presented by The Magic City Theatre Festival at Sloss Furnace.