Exploring Wild Alabama – an inspirational Father’s Day gift

Exploring Wild Alabama

This month at Books-a-Million, we have a special book for Father’s Day that will be a keepsake for dad’s in Alabama that love nature and the outdoors.

In their book, Exploring Wild Alabama, a Guide to the State’s Publicly Accessible Natural Areas, authors Ken Wills and Larry Davenport make it clear who first inspired them to write about Alabama’s special places.

Their fathers.

From the book:

“This book has a long history, dating back to the authors’ fathers, who taught them to love the woods and waters.”

If your father loves the outdoors, forests and nature, Exploring Wild Alabama is the perfect Father’s Day gift.

The most comprehensive book ever written about Alabama’s public lands, Exploring Wild Alabama provides readers with descriptions about 150 natural areas all within the boundaries of the state of Alabama. For the reader it’s a roadmap, a guide that connects fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and entire families to our state’s natural wonders.

In an interview with Exploring Wild Alabama author Ken Wills, Bham Now asked how his father inspired him, how nature has impacted his children and how Exploring Wild Alabama can be used by the family.

BAM Birmingham Alabama
Left to right – Author Ken Wills with his father Kenneth M. Wills Sr., at the overlook of the Blue Mountain Roadless Area in the Talladega National Forest.
How did your father teach you to “love the woods and waters?”

My Dad exposed me to nature from an early age which helped me to love it and inspired me to try to understand it. I grew up in east central Alabama, and from as far back as I can remember, my Dad took my mom, sister and I on fishing trips, Sunday afternoon outings and vacations to Alabama’s natural areas such as Guntersville, Desoto and Gulf State Parks.  As I reached middle school my dad took me on long squirrel and deer hunts in the Talladega National Forest and what is now the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge where we got to sit in the woods and observe all kinds of animals for hours on end.

You could say this book would never have happened without my Dad taking me to the woods.

How are you passing your love of nature  down to your children?
I always say my kids, Lucy and Jay, have probably been in more cypress swamps than most kids their age.  On weekend excursions, I take my wife and kids to many natural areas across Alabama including Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, the Fiver Rivers Center, Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge, Flint Creek Botanical Area, Landmark Park, Splinter Hill Bog as well as many of the places my Dad and I visited when I was growing up such as Cheaha State Park.  I lead nature outings through my church, and my oldest child, Lucy, tries to make every trip.  Hopefully, we will have at least one more generation of nature lovers and conservationists in the family.
Birmingham Alabama
Exploring Wild Alabama Ken Wills with Jay and Lucy, standing beneath a large wild Southern Magnolia in the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island.
How do families use Exploring Wild Alabama?

A father can use the book to take his children and the rest of the family out to some of the most scenic and biologically diverse places in the state.  A child can use the book to take his father and the rest of the family out for a time of bonding in nature.  The guide includes lots of places that are easy to access like the boardwalks of the Alabama Nature Center near Montgomery as well as more challenging areas like the Sipsey Wilderness.  It is a great gift for any occasion and for anyone who has a interest in nature.

A Keepsake

Exploring Wild Alabama is a family keepsake. This Father’s Day, instead of buying your dad that tie he’ll never use, travel down to your local Books-a-Million store or order online and give your father the gift of nature – a book that will connect your family to the woods and waters of Alabama.

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Pat Byington
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.

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