FROM MARLA RUSKIN, AWF COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST
Third graders from Goshen Elementary enjoyed nature to the “MAX” while visiting the Alabama Nature Center (ANC) in Millbrook, thanks to MAX Credit Union. Close to sixty students took part in hands-on, live animal presentations, and went on an adventurous hike on some of the ANC’s 5 miles of boardwalks and trails. The students had the opportunity to walk through the Discovery Hall and spot the gigantic rat snake coiled tightly under tree bark; a sly snapping turtle lurking in the water; tree frogs clinging to branches; and a variety of other native reptiles and amphibians living inside the Discovery Hall at the NaturePlex. They heard the shrill cry of a bald eagle cutting through the air as they stepped into the Raptor Kiosk booth, that contains buttons highlighting 11 different species of raptors.
Students visited the Alan Johns & Anne Gunderson Turtle & Tortoise Habitat which is designed to reflect the wild habitat of the Eastern Box Turtle and the Gopher Tortoise in Alabama. Upon entry, the students took notice of how both species’ natural habitats are distinctly different habitats but both are found within the state. This is a testament to just how biodiverse our beautiful state is, and how the ANC is focusing on educating Alabamians about that biodiversity and its importance.
Jamie Brown, MAX VP Relationship Development and Brooke Foster, MAX Communications Specialist took part in this educational Field Day, and saw firsthand the impact these valuable programs have on young people and adults. “AWF provides a unique experience for students to enjoy that brings learning to life. MAX is proud to support such a valuable organization,” said Foster.
AWF and MAX share the mutual priority of introducing and connecting students and youth with the natural world and fostering an understanding and practice of the land stewardship ethic embodied by AWF. In this hands-on environment, it is easy for students to learn about wise use, responsible stewardship of our natural resources, and being connected to nature in meaningful ways.
The Alabama Nature Center, a hands-on outdoor education facility located at Lanark in Millbrook, Alabama, is a joint project of the Alabama Wildlife Federation and benefactors Isabel and Wiley Hill. The Lanark property, State Headquarters for the Alabama Wildlife Federation, contains 350 acres of striking forests, fields, streams, wetlands and ponds that are traversed by five miles of trails and boardwalks including a tree top viewing platform. In addition to the trails, boardwalks, and pavilion, the Alabama Nature Center includes the NaturePlex, a 23,000 square foot structural facility that serves as the Welcome and Education Center. The grounds at Lanark contain five destinations: AWF Headquarters, Historic Lanark, Lanark Pavilion, ANC and the new NaturePlex. The Alabama Nature Center has a great partnership with the following: Alabama Power Foundation, City of Millbrook, Hyundai, International Paper Company, The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, The Daniel Foundation of Alabama, The Hobbs Foundation, US Forest Service, Vulcan Materials Company Foundation and Walmart.
Alabama Wildlife Federation is the state’s oldest and largest citizens’ conservation organization dedicated to the conservation and wise use of Alabama’s wildlife and related natural resources. To learn more visit www.alabamawildlife.org.