Celebrate and support the rarest fishes on Planet Earth at Darter Festival 2018

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The Altamont School
“Darter Fish Sticks” by students from Casey Gillespie’s art class at The Altamont School. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Did you know that three of the rarest fishes on planet Earth reside here in Birmingham and Jefferson County?

The Vermilion, Watercress and Rush Darter Fishes can be found nowhere else in the world but in Alabama. Beautiful and tiny, they are sensitive to pollution–and some may be found only in a single stream or body of water.

On April 15th, the Southern Environmental Center will be holding their 7th annual Darter Festival at Cahaba Brewing supporting conservation projects and environmental education programs at the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, home to these rare fish.

Birmingham Alabama
Vermilion darter, photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Watercress darter, photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Rush darter, photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Yoga, Fish Sticks and Beer

On the day of the festival, for the early risers, there will be a special beginner-intermediate level “Fish Flow Yoga” class beginning at 10:00 am and led by Lauren Vogel and Shawn Galin at Cahaba Brewing Company. Yoga tickets will include the yoga class, a beverage, and general admission to the event.

The family-friendly, activity-filled celebration at Cahaba Brewing Company begins at noon. In addition to live music, a special Darter Beer has been created by Cahaba Brewing for the event. Other activities include food trucks, fish-hat painting, and  a parade of “Darter Fish Sticks” led by students from Casey Gillespie’s art class at The Altamont School.

A major festival highlight is the Darter Costume Contest with amazing prizes. Contestants are invited to arrive in costume and register at the ticketing table for a chance to win one of four contest prizes filled with swag from Cahaba Brewing Company, Tropicaleo, The Southern Environmental Center Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, and many more!  

Along with sampling the specially made Darter Beer by Cahaba Brewing Company, darter-loving supporters can also take in the whimsical tunes of MRYGLD’s and the afternoon’s headliner the Banditos.

Check out their videos below:

Banditos – Audiotree Live from Audiotree Live on Vimeo.

It’s about the Darters

The health of Turkey Creek is vital to the survival of these endangered fish.  That’s why the Darter Festival is so important.

Birmingham-Southern College biology professor and author Scot Duncan summed up why protecting these rare darters are important.

“We are fortunate to have these amazing, beautiful darters as neighbors.  However, their endangerment is a measure of our own vulnerability. Our prosperity, and that of these fishes, depends on an abundance of clean air and water.  If we continue to degrade our natural resources, then we will lose the darters, and close the door on a bright future for the Birmingham Metropolitan Area. If we save these fishes, we save ourselves.  It’s really that simple.”

Purchase your tickets early! Have fun and make a difference on April 15th

You can purchase your tickets before the event at through EventBrite:

General Admission – $8
Dart Pass (VIP) – $40
Fish Flow Yoga – $20

At the door ticketing:
General Admission – $10
Dart Passes (VIP) – $50
Fish Flow Yoga – $25

VIP Darter Passes include:

Catered food, 2 Darter Beer tickets, water and soft drinks, and access to the stage-front VIP area.

Don’t miss supporting the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve and Birmingham’s darters!

Sponsored by:

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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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