Meet the new ancient shark species found in southern Alabama

McWane has a wonderful display of aquatic fossils that will soon include a new shark species. Photo via Trip Advisor submitted by AGM132019.

Excuse me while I geek out about Alabama geology but there was a major discovery in southern Alabama. Scientists found a new species of fossil shark! You’ll be able to check out this new discovery for yourself at McWane Science Center in early 2020.

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What are native plants and why do they matter here in Birmingham?

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HICA volunteers weeded and planted in Ruffner Mountain’s bird habitat garden. Photo courtesy of Bob Farley

You might have heard talk about ’native’ plants. But, what are they and more importantly, why should you care? We’re going to take a look at these questions in this first of a three part series. I invite you to come along with me to explore.

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Green thumbs, hearts of gold. Meet the volunteers that keep Birmingham Botanical Gardens beautiful!

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Volunteers are an indispensable resource in fulfilling the Friends’ promise of protecting, nurturing, and sharing the wonders of the Gardens. Photo via Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Similar to most nonprofits, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens is dependent upon volunteers and the work they do. The Friends honored volunteers this month at their annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon.

As Executive Director of the Friends—Tom Underwood—stated, just one person’s decision to volunteer helps build the network of community support that keeps the Gardens thriving.

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Want to clean up the planet? Start with the Birmingham area—here’s how.

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Leeds clean up
Leeds residents team up to pick up! Photo submitted

Listen up, litterbugs! We all know littering is not the best thing for the environment. In fact, it’s one of the worst things that we can do because of its far-reaching effects on many aspects of our lives here in Jefferson County. It hurts wildlife, damages ecosystems—plus, it makes Birmingham the beautiful look downright dingy.

If you do litter, here are three reasons you should stop.  If you don’t and would like to make an even bigger impact on the littering problem, engage your community and organize a litter cleanup,  Here’s how to get started!

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5 reasons you should attend EcoFest Market and Auction on November 7

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The Theodore is located in Lakeview’s Historic Industrial District. Photo via The Theodore

Looking for some Birmingham-made gifts for the holiday season? Are you a fan of delicious local food? Do you want to support underprivileged children in Birmingham? We’ve got the event for you! The Southern Environmental Center’s EcoFest Market and Auction is happening on November 7. Get your tickets today!

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Everything you’ve wanted to know about Birmingham’s bats during Bat Week, Oct. 24-31

Volunteers at Ruffner Mountain surveying their bat population. Photo from Ruffner Mountain.
Researchers at Ruffner Mountain surveying their bat population. Photo from Ruffner Mountain.

Did you know that Birmingham and Alabama are home to 16 unique species of bats? If not, Bat Week is the perfect time to learn more about our flying friends.

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Guide to Alabama’s 6 venomous snakes and how to react if you see one

The folks at Ruffner Mountain holding a gray rat snake (nonvenomous)
Chivon Morse and Aaron Hathcock of Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve with Grady the gray rat snake (nonvenomous). (Bham Now)

Alabama is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the United States. Although we have 66 known species and subspecies of snakes, only 6 are venomous. Learn more about Alabama’s 6 venomous snakes and how to react if you encounter one in the wild.

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Bonsai, camellias, ferns, oh my! Don’t miss the Fall Plant Sale at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Sept. 14-15

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It’s time to make your seasonal selections! Photo via Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Beat the summer heat by planning your fall garden! If the start of some cooler weather has you ready to dig in the dirt, the Fall Plant Sale at Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a must-visit! Don’t miss out on the fun September 14-15.

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As bear sightings increase in Alabama, here’s what you need to know

Black bear walking through trees at The Birmingham Zoo
Black Bear at The Birmingham Zoo (Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now)

Black bears are native to Alabama and their population is on the rise. Historically found in the southwest, bears have also been migrating into northeast Alabama from northwest Georgia over recent years. With sightings in Jefferson, St.Clair and Shelby counties, here’s what you need to know to be bear aware at home and when you’re hiking throughout the state.

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Looking to beat the Birmingham heat? Here are 7 ways to cool off at the river this summer—tubing, kayaking and more!

Photo via North Alabama Canoe and Kayak on Facebook

Whether you’re looking for a canoe adventure or a relaxing float on an inner tube, cooling off at the river is some of the most fun you can have during a Birmingham summer. We’ve got five places to check out within two hours of downtown. Keep reading to find your next weekend expedition!

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What to do when you see a snake: an interview with Birmingham yoga naturalist Dana Coker Gale

Dana Coker Gale and I talked about what to do when you see a snake.
Dana (r) holding a snake with her friend Virginia (l). Photo by Dana Coker Gale

Dana Coker Gale is crazy multifaceted—and, she loves snakes. Yoga teacher, fisherwoman, costume-wearer, model, lover of reptiles and amphibians, and mama are just a few of her many talents.

Lately, she’s been adding “amateur naturalist” to the list, so I reached out to talk to her about what to do when you see a snake.

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Want to stay safe from pollution while swimming in Alabama’s waters this summer? What to know before you go

Photo via Coosa Riverkeeper Facebook page.

As a result of a recent major sewage spill and fish kill, caused by Tyson Foods/River Valley Ingredients 220,000-gallon wastewater spill two weeks ago, Birmingham area residents have growing concerns about swimming safely in our rivers, lakes and streams.

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National Go Fishing Day: Guide to 10 fishing spots in and around Birmingham

Summer fun for the whole family. Dylan Colwell with a Lake Purdy catch. Photo via Lake Purdy Fishing’s website.

Happy National Go Fishing Day, Birmingham! With the weather heating up and the days getting longer, what’s a better way to enjoy summertime than by getting out and casting a line? We’ve got your guide to 10 great fishing spots in the Birmingham area.

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Alabama Butterfly Atlas adds new “search by color” feature. Site includes eggs, caterpillars and more

Photo of a Summer Azure butterfly egg taken in 2017 by Sara Bright.

Sara Bright, Birmingham co-author and photographer of the book Butterflies of Alabama informed Bham Now this week that the Alabama Butterfly Atlas has added a new “search by color” feature on their popular nature website.

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Did you know that Alabama has the smallest percentage of public land in the South? Why it matters.

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Cheaha State Park
View from Cheaha State Park. Photo by Robin E Taylor-Cheaha State Park

This land is your land, this land is my land… this land was made for you and me. ~excerpt of lyrics from Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”

Did you know that you, as a citizen of the state of Alabama, and nearly 5 million fellow Alabamians share ownership of more than 1.5 million acres of public land in our state?

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