Ruffner Mountain's Nature Preserve, in Birmingham, AL, at over 1,000 forested acres, is one of the largest urban preserves in the country, larger than Central Park in NY. Founded in 1977, to protect the land from development, the preserve is sanctuary for a wide variety of native plants and animals and features a forested hilly terrain with overlooks, as well as wetlands and historic remnants of its mining past. Conservation work emphasizes removal of non-native and invasive species and restoration and enchancement of native wildlife habitat.
As the first nature center in the State of Alabama, Ruffner Mountain's award winning environmental education programs reach thousands of students and adults each year sharing the value of the natural world and the interdependence of all living things.
Over thirty thousand visitors travel the 14 miles of peaceful trails through the forest for exercise, nature study, dog walking and birdwatching each year. The L.E.E.D. Gold certified visitor facilities showcase sustainability in design and offer the community a place to meet and commune with nature - close to downtown, but feeling like a world away.
The value of Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is also measured by the air and water quality protection it affords the urban area. As a significant portion of the main watershed for Village Creek and Shades Creek, the forest absorbs and cleans water run-off. As an air filter, the forest traps and collects particulate matter and carbon dioxide and that helps clean the air for residents to breathe.
A committed Board of Directors and staff and a group of very dedicated volunteers manage Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve, its lands, trails and facilties for public use. They teach children about the interdepence of all living things and the wonders of the natural world. They clear invasive plants, restore native habitats, and maintain trails. The preserve is a valuable resource for the health and well being of everyone in the Birmingham metropolitan area. Truely, a natural oasis and gem of the city worthy of support.