Guide to 29 Alabama nature based organizations with holiday gifts available

Baby Barred Owls at the Alabama Wildlife Center. Photos from the Alabama Wildlife Center Facebook page

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 to help you “give back” this holiday season.


Ruffner Mountain

One of our favorite local nature preserves, Ruffner is selling a “retro” Ruffner t-shirt.  They also sell inexpensive native seed packets. One other special gift? Buy a pre-sale copy of “Back to Nature” a book about the history of Ruffner.

Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve turns 40

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 (check back at the site for the 2018 edition) of their most prominent patients.  Also, don’t forget their Holiday Craft & Bake Sale on December 8.


Photo from the Alabama Wildlife Center Facebook page

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 “Keep the Coosa Crappie” shirt.  They also have some cool trucker hats.

Coosa Riverkeeper t-shirt. Photo from Coosa Riverkeeper website

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 and the new book by Bill Deutsch – Alabama Rivers – a Celebration and Challenge.


Black Warrior Riverkeeper

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

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.

Roald Hazelhoff, director of the Southern Environmental Center at Birmingham-Southern College. Photo courtesy of Southern Environmental Center

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

The Freshwater Land Trust is the guardian of the Red Rock Trail System. Support them by proudly wearing one of their T-shirts and hats, which make great gifts.

Freshwater Land Trust
Treeline Expeditions LLC first workday on the Kiwanis Vulcan Trail. Photo from Freshwater Land Trust.

Wild South

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

Alabama Environmental Council

The state’s oldest non-profit organization, the AEC turned 50 last year. Check out the Green Tie Affair, which is one of the most popular fundraisers in Birmingham.


McWane Science Center

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

Birmingham, McWane Science Center, the Magic of Trains, train exhibits, train exhibits Birmingham, railroads

Aldridge Gardens

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

Birmingham Zoo

Choices, choices, choices.  If you are looking for that special gift for that animal lover in the family, the Zoo has wonderful options that include, gift membership, Adopt a animal, camps and even special behind the scenes tours.


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 “We deserve clean air” 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.

Photo of a Turkey Tails taken in and around Birmingham. Photo by Vitaly Charny, photographer and co-author of the book Butterflies of Alabama

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 theiroutdoor ice skating rink.  Birmingham’s “backyard” is also fantastic for birthday parties and events.

ice skating birmingham alabama
This year’s rink will be even bigger than 2016’s – via H2RealEstate.com

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.


Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Alabama State Parks

Explore Alabama’s State Parks by purchasing a 2019 gift card.

Camp McDowell Environmental Center

The state’s largest environmental camp has got a great online gift store. Along with holiday gifts consider sending a child to camp as a gift.

Birmingham Alabama
Diana Fritillary- photo by Sara Bright

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.