Discover Shooting Stars and native plants on Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain this Spring

Ruffner Mountain
Ruffner Mountain’s executive director Carlee Sanford discovered 1980s Nature Preserve newsletters called the Shooting Stars. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Just after she became Executive Director for Ruffner Mountain, Carlee Sanford unearthed copies of the organization’s first newsletters from the early 1980s. The name of the publication?

The Shooting Star.

Ruffner Mountain
Photo of a Shooting Star courtesy of Ruffner Mountain

Shortly following her newsletter discovery, in the spring, while walking the trails of Ruffner Mountain, Sanford saw firsthand how the newsletter got its name. Ruffner Mountain is actually filled with “Shooting Stars”  – beautiful wildflowers.

“The Shooting Stars that are blooming on the mountain are incredible and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Sanford. “But I didn’t know what Shooting Stars were until I started working at Ruffner.  At some point, I made the connection – there are all these beautiful newsletters that we found in storage.  I didn’t know our newsletter was named after the flower.”

Revealing More Shooting Stars

This past winter, Ruffner took on an effort to remove many of the non-invasive plants near the preserves entrance and trailheads.  For example, you will notice piles of “pulled” privet laying along the trails.  Working from the gateways to the inside of the nature preserve, Ruffner hopes to remove non-invasive plants that tend to strangle native wildflowers on the mountain – revealing more Shooting Stars.

Bring Back the Natives

From the removal of invasive species to the upcoming Ruffner Mountain/Turkey Creek Native Plant Sale on April 6-7 (check out their native plant list), Ruffner Mountain is more than a nature preserve, it is Birmingham’s “ecological library”  a place for all of us to study, enjoy and fall in love with nature.

The annual native plant sale helps fund all these efforts for Ruffner Mountain and Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.

Details about the 2019 Native Plant Sale

Screen Shot 2018 06 26 at 10.35.17 AM Discover Shooting Stars and native plants on Birmingham's Ruffner Mountain this Spring
Vulcan Materials’ volunteers at Ruffner Mountain. Photo via Ruffner Mountain

One way to support Ruffner Mountain and  Turkey Creek Nature Preserve, is attending their annual 2019 Native Plant Sale on Saturday, April 6th from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and Sunday, April 7th from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM.  The Member Pre-Sale and Annual Meeting will be on Friday, April 5th from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

Membership and the Shooting Stars

Can’t make it to the Native Plant Sale? Become a member.

And more importantly, take your family and friends to Ruffner Mountain and discover some Shooting Stars.


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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