Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Audubon Christmas Bird Counts will be held throughout Alabama and the rest of the nation in the coming weeks, an annual event almost 120 years old that helps with research data-gathering and getting folks oudoors.

The bird counts began as part of an effort to tally and watch trends during a time of heavy commercial hunting. Due to demands for meat in restaurants and plumage for women’s apparel — most of both coming from the biggest cities of the nation — commercial hunting was wild and untamed.


Sandhill cranes are among the most popular species spotted at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in north Alabama during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. These stately birds migrate each year and are growing in number thanks to conservation efforts. (Photo: USFWS)

Between a great conservation movement of many people, the formation of state wildlife agencies, federal bird treaties and other events including the Audubon bird counts, regulations, limits and controls were imposed. The tides shifted and today one part of the conservation success story of the 1900s still continues.

In Alabama, you can find several Audubon bird counts throughout the state. One of the most popular, and one I’ve attended, is on Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. It’s based at the refuge visitor’s center in Decatur but volunteer counters visit property on the refuge, Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area and other sites.



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Stokes Alabama Alligator

Amanda Stokes and her party (John Stokes, Savanah, Kevin and Parker Jenkins) from Thomaston, AL hauled in this 15 foot, 1011.5-pound gator from the waters near Millers Ferry Saturday morning, August 16, 2014. This is the largest gator to come out of Alabama during a regulated alligator hunt. (Photo distributed by ADCNR)

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will open online registration for the state’s 12th annual regulated alligator hunts June 2 at 8 a.m.


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As part of the National Wildlife Refuge Week celebration, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge is hosting an open house on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Refuge Visitor Center.

The visitor’s center is located on Alabama 67 south in Decatur.

Mallard ducks have begun arriving and will continue to do so at Wheeler NWR in the coming weeks as part of their annual autumn migration.  (Photo: Friends of Wheeler NWR)

Mallard ducks have begun arriving and will continue to do so at Wheeler NWR in the coming weeks as part of their annual autumn migration. (Photo: Friends of Wheeler NWR)

Come out and bring the kids for a day of outdoor activities. You can fish, learn the basics of archery, target shoot with air rifles, explore the corn maze, join in a bird count, take a tethered ride in a hot air balloon, learn about raptors and see them up close, watch a master flint knapper at work, and take in a nature flick in the auditorium. Ranger Kevin will be available at the catfish pond from 9 till 2 helping anyone age 5 to 12 catch the big one.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. You can bring your own fishing rod or use one of ours. We even supply the bait.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Wheeler staff will be available throughout the day instructing anyone in the fun and popular activity of archery. Tim Baker will be on hand demonstrating the art of flint knapping.  The Alabama Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be available with their popular “Jakes Take Aim” shooting simulator for ages 5 to 17.

Children can explore the corn maze and learn the importance of farming for wildlife, then learn to shell the corn the old fashioned way.

The Decatur Hot Air Balloon will be onsite offering tethered rides and Becky Collier from the Alabama 4H Center will be presenting Raptor Trek! featuring owls, hawks, and a bald eagle at 9am, noon, and 3pm.  Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Visitors can also join Refuge Manager Dwight Cooley at the Observation Building in “The Big Sit!”  This annual, international, noncompetitive all day event is a great introduction to birding.  Award winning conservation films, including a series of short films, America’s Wildest Places, featuring video tours of National Wildlife Refuges, will also be shown.  Call the Visitor Center at 256-350-6639 for a complete list of films and viewing times.

National Wildlife Refuges are dedicated to the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats.  They also offer a wide range of wildlife-dependent recreation – from fishing, boating, hunting and hiking – to wildlife observation and photography, nature interpretation and environmental education.  The Refuge System includes more than 2,500 miles of land and water trails.  There is at least one National Wildlife Refuge in every state and one within an hour’s drive of most major cities.

Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge offers wildlife, environmental, and outdoor activities throughout the year.  All activities are free and the public is welcome.  Please visit the Wheeler NWR website at www.fws.gov/wheeler for more information or call the Visitor Center at 256-350-6639.  The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.

Source: Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

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Colorfest, a two-day celebration filled with free family fun atop Lookout Mountain in Mentone and sponsored by the Mentone Area Preservation Association, welcomes the arrival of the autumn season and all its colorful glory.

BandColorfest is set for October 18-19 and brings together art, music, food and other family-friendly activities as Mother Nature puts on a fabulous display of colors.

On Saturday morning, Oct. 18, gates open in Brow Park at 9 a.m. to a beautiful display of arts and crafts from more than 70 premier artists and craftsmen with breathtaking autumn views in the background. Swing by Mason Park to admire the Scarecrow Holler display and vote for your favorite handmade scarecrow.

This year’s event brings an additional blast of talent for festivalgoers to enjoy. The Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama and singers and musicians from area schools will perform throughout the weekend at the Children’s Festival, located in the side parking lot of Kamama Gallery. The Children’s Festival will also offer pony rides, pumpkin bowling, glitter tattoos, cookie decoration and a dunking booth where festival-goers have the opportunity to soak their favorite politician or other community leader.

Exciting, downhome mountain music fills the air beginning Friday evening, Oct. 17, with a two-hour tribute to the Beatles by David Lusk at the Mentone Inn pavilion from 8-10 p.m. Live music will keep festivalgoers on their toes throughout the weekend. Jess Goggans, Lisa Crow, Taylor Poff, Jared Cushen, Marc Womack, Silvia Constantino, Jerry Bloom, Ryan Keefe, Jordan Brown, Larry Joe Hall, David Lusk and Terry Hutcheson are slated to perform at the Brow Park pavilion.

Rise early Saturday morning for the One World Adventure Color Craze 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run before the festival. Modeled after popular color runs held across the country, participants will enjoy a scenic route beginning at Mason Park while being doused with colored powder. Sign in and race day registration begin at 7 a.m. with the first wave starting at 7:50 a.m. For more information and a registration form, visit www.oneworldadventureco.com/fall-fundraising-events/.

MuleDuring festival hours, the Taste of Mentone will be underway giving festival-goers an opportunity to try a signature dish from one of the many locally owned eateries. Additional activities include a huge scavenger hunt, a silent auction, horse carriage rides, and a Fish Fry hosted by One World Adventure at the Mentone Inn backyard pavilion on Friday from 3:30-7 p.m. Cost is $10 each and includes a heaping plate of fresh catfish, Dave’s hushpuppies, homemade slaw, drink and dessert.

Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Brow Park is located off of Alabama Highway 117, north at the caution light in Mentone. All activities are held rain or shine and festival-goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and picnic blankets. Admission is free.

Sponsors include Jet Polymer Recycling, DeKalb Tourism, Skelton Orthodontics, Kamama Gallery, Wildflower Café, Mentone Realty, Custom Home Designs, Mentone Camps (Camp Laney, Alpine Camp, Camp Skyline, Camp DeSoto, and Riverview Camp), Wilson Funeral Home and Crematory, Accel Graphics, First Fidelity Bank, The Citizens Bank of Valley Head, Bruce’s Foodland, Westmoreland Tire Company, Valley Head Drugs, First State Bank of DeKalb, Dixie Salvage, BJ Foodmart, and Mountain Top Country Store.

For more information on Colorfest or on additional things to do in and around DeKalb County, contact DeKalb Tourism at 888.805.4740 or visit www.DiscoverLookoutMountain.com.

Source: DeKalb Tourism

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