Gifts with nature in mind, gifts that give back

Ruffner Mountain Birmingham

 

Are you looking for ways to make your holiday gifts this year more nature-based  and meaningful?

We call it the  “natural twofer.”  Purchase a holiday gift from a nature organization and by doing so, support your local conservation efforts.

Bham Now has compiled a holiday gift list from local nature organizations (follow the links) that offer gift ideas and help you “give back” this holiday season.

Ruffner Mountain Birmingham

Ruffner Mountain – One of our favorite local nature preserves, Ruffner is selling a new “retro” Ruffner t-shirt.  They also have great looking coffee mugs and locally roasted Octane coffee.

Red Mountain Park – Support Red Mountain Park by pre-purchasing and booking tickets to their adventure programs. Imagine your kids excitement when they see you’ve booked a trip on the zip line at Red Mountain Park. They have also got some cool shirts and gear (visit the online gift shop)

Alabama Wildlife Center – One of the most creative gift ideas, the Alabama Wildlife Center has available Holiday Greeting Cards of their most prominent patients.  A real keepsake gift (Dec. 14th deadline).

Alabama Rivers Alliance – The “We Dare to Defend Our Rivers” t-shirt is ARA’s signature slogan and gift item.  They also have conservation greeting cards and beautiful prints by Beth Maynor Young, one of Alabama’s greatest conservation photographers.

Coosa Riverkeeper – The folks at the Coosa Riverkeeper have one of the most popular shirts for sale – this year featuring a largemouth bass.  They have already sold out of 2XL and XL, so you may need to hurry and purchase one today before they are gone.

Alabama Water Watch – Entering it’s 3rd decade, Alabama Water Watch has volunteers throughout the state monitoring and testing our streams, rivers and lakes. Check out their online gift shop.

 

Black Warrior Riverkeeper Birmingham

Black Warrior Riverkeeper – With one of the most distinctive logos in the region, the Black Warrior Riverkeeper have got some really nice t-shirts, hats and even a license plate.

Alabama Environmental Council – Next year is the AEC’s 50th Anniversary.  Celebrate with them with a $50 for 50 gift.  Also call them about their special “glass recycling” certificates.

Southern Environmental Center – Give a local elementary school an opportunity to visit the SEC when you purchase a “Magic School Bus.”  Help touch the lives of an entire classroom of schoolchildren from the Birmingham area.

Birmingham Audubon Society – If you are a birder or want to become one, this is the perfect organization.  A very inclusive group, BAS organizes birding and environmental education events throughout the year.

Cahaba River Society – One of Alabama’s most prominent and effective river protection groups, CRS has a great looking car license tag you can purchase for the holidays to support the group. Learn how – here

Cahaba Riverkeeper – This riverkeeper group has done some incredible work on the Colonial pipeline spill.  Take a look at their online gift shop.

Nature Conservancy of Alabama – Take a tour of TNC’s gift collections.  The photos are beautiful, and you can direct your support toward a landscape you love (deadline Dec. 15th).

Freshwater Land Trust – In honor of their 20th Anniversary, the Freshwater Land Trust has launched their 20 for 20 Challenge.

Wild South – The defenders of wilderness in Alabama, Wild South has a complete gift store with hats and shirts with their distinctive chestnut leaf.

McWane Science Center – Always a fun place for exploration, imagine your child’s excitement if you book a birthday party or an overnight adventure.

Aldridge Gardens – Checkout the garden’s gift shop which is filled with local jewelry and keepsakes.

Weeks Bay Foundation – A coastal Alabama organization, Weeks Bay produces a very popular annual Christmas ornament that is a collector’s item. Love their hats too.

Alabama Coastal Foundation – An organization with a large following in the Birmingham area – ACF has a “cups & coffee” promotion and some sharp looking shirts and hats.

Alabama Wildlife Federation – Checkout out AWF’s online store which features AWF exclusive  apparel, accessories, and books.  Also, consider a yearly pass to Alabama Nature Center’s new Natureplex.

GASP – GASP has  shirts with powerful messages such as “Breathing is fundamental” and “I’m a voice for clean air.”

Fresh Air Family – Give the gift of the outdoors to the entire family by joining Fresh Air Family.  This group organizes nature trips/hikes for families throughout the year.

Little River Canyon Center – Located near the Little River Canyon National Preserve, the Canyon Center has a fantastic gift shop that has a little bit of everything from shirts to toys.

Railroad Park – A must for winter – Railroad Park has tickets to their new outdoor ice skating rink.  The place is also fantastic for birthday parties and events.

Alabama Natural History Museum – Take a tour of the Museum’s gift store and then call them and place an order.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens – Buy plants, seeds, books etc… from the experts – and more importantly for a good cause.

Alabama State Parks – Explore Alabama’s State Parks by purchasing a 2017 gift card.

Camp McDowell Environmental Center – The state’s largest environmental camp has got a great online gift store.

Did we miss someone?  Please let us know, and we will update the list.  Be mindful, for many of the groups, you need to make your purchase this week if you want to have them under the Christmas tree.

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.