Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ Category

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Joins Reforestation Effort at George Ward Park

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Joins Reforestation Effort at George Ward Park

On Saturday, October 27, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens staff members joined the Glen Iris Neighborhood Association and volunteers from Impact Alabama in an effort to replant George Ward Park. Over time, many of the trees in the park have vanished due to mowing. With the support of Little Garden Club and Red Mountain Garden Club, this five-year project continued on Saturday.

Glade Hopping in Bibb County

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Glade Hopping in Bibb County

by: Hunter McBrayer

I recently had the opportunity to botanize at the Bibb County Glades in Bibb County, Alabama, with a small group of plant enthusiasts from The Gardens.  We rendezvoused with Tom Diggs, a doctoral student at The University of Alabama at Birmingham studying evolutionary biology.  Tom’s research is on the unique array of plants growing at The Glades and the reasons so many of them are endemic to the area. 

The Bibb County Glades are truly a remarkable anomaly in the Alabama landscape.  Largely ignored by humans until 1992, the glades were considered a treeless barren by most people of that region until Jim Allison, a botanist from Georgia, explored the area.  He noticed that several familiar looking plants, upon closer inspection, were unknown species.  He continued exploring the area and eventually discovered eight new species of plants; a rare occurrence in today’s world of plant exploration.  

Many factors contribute to the fact that the area holds so many endemic plants, but most scientists agree that the primary reason for such a high degree of endemism is the unique substrate on which they grow. Ketona limestone, a very specific type of dolomitic limestone, is the primary geological formation underlying The Glades’ very thin soil; the type of limestone contains very high levels of magnesium.  In addition to the preceding factor, arid climate has contributed to the unique evolution of plants that thrive there. One third of Alabama’s twenty-four endemic plant species are found growing at The Glades, which collectively comprise approximately 250 acres.  

Although some of these plants were already past flowering, we still had the opportunity to view several of them in flower.  This list includes Coreopsis grandiflora var. inclinata, reclining large-flowered tickseed; Dalea cahaba, Cahaba prairie clover; Croton alabamensis var. alabamensis, Alabama croton (a somewhat ubiquitous plants The Gardens); and Spigelia alabamensis (syn. Spigelia gentianoides var. alabamensis,  gentian pinkroot. We were also able to examine a population of a new species in the genus Trautvetteria, tassel-rue, which as of yet has not been assigned a name; at present, it is being referred to as Trautvetteria species 1. 

Due to the unique character of this area and its rare flora, conservation is of upmost importance.  To that end, The Nature Conservancy has acquired 480 acres and named it the Kathy Stiles Freeland Bibb County Glades Preserve.  The Preserve is located along a very picturesque section of the Little Cahaba River and makes a delightful day trip; when there take time to appreciate Alabama’s unique natural heritage.

Spigillia gentianoides var. alabamensis

Croton alabamensis, Alabama croton

Trautvetteria species 1

Janice Williams Helps Native Plant Group Ready for Spring Plant Sale

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Janice Williams Helps Native Plant Group Ready for Spring Plant Sale

Janice Williams began volunteering at The Gardens in, approximately, 1986. “I went on strolls through The Gardens with (old friends) Rebecca and LouAnn,” said Williams. “I told them I wanted to work there, too, and they invited me to join them on a Wednesday at the potting shed. I’ve been working there ever since.”

Williams eased her way into The Gardens when Bobbie Kaul invited her and her friend Pat to dig some flowers out of Kaul’s yard and plant them in the wildflower garden. It was during this time she had spent time working in the wildflower garden with Pat, Weesie and Ann.

Since, Williams has missed just one plant sale, one that fell when she was out of the country. She spends her time today with the Native Plant Group, hard at work on April’s Spring Plant Sale.

If you would like to learn more about this year’s Spring Plant Sale, and all of the special events that coincide, we encourage you to visit To learn more about how you can volunteer at The Gardens, visit

Volunteers in the Potting Shed

Friday, February 24th, 2012

We had 25 volunteers today to plant 4000 seed by hand. Finished in two and 1/2 hours – and look how happy they are!  Nice!

Volunteers in the Kaul Wildflower Gardens – 2.23.12

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

A group of more than a dozen volunteers joined John Manion in the Kaul Wilfdlower Garden this morning.

Upcoming Volunteer Training Sessions at The Gardens

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Birmingham Botanical Gardens has two terrific opportunities this month, allowing interested volunteers a chance to learn more about getting involved with The Gardens.

James Horton and Sallie Lee have agreed to facilitate volunteer “brown bag” training classes for greenhouse volunteers and plant groups that utilize the Birmingham Botanical Gardens Greenhouse

 Both classes will be held in the Lower-level Conference Room and the BBG Greenhouse respectively.

  • Greenhouse Maintenance and Plant Propagation

 James Horton, Director of Horticulture Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 22nd 12:30 pm-2:30 pm

Location: Lower-level Conference Room, BBG Greenhouse

Class Size: 30 participants maximum


  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Sallie Lee, Urban Regional Extension Agent

Date & Time: Wednesday, February 29th 12:30 pm-2:30 pm

Location: Lower-level Conference Room, BBG Greenhouse

Class Size: 30 participants maximum

For more information about how you can become a volunteer at The Gardens, we encourage you to contact Volunteer Coordinator Taylor Steele at 205.414.3962 or by email at

Epic Donates Mural to Adventure Classroom

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Epic Students Provide Mural for Discovery Field Trips Classroom

Students from the GATE (Gifted and Talented Enrichment) Program at Epic made this mural for the Adventure Classroom at The Gardens. The students are just a few of the many Birmingham City Schoolchildren that The Gardens provides a free, curriculum based education to all year long through its Discovery Field Trips program. Discovery Field Trips is the flagship of The Gardens educational programs, and just last fall, celebrated the 85,000th student to participate. Discovery Field Trips is one of many educational programs at The Gardens reliant on donations from the Birmingham community. With that help, The Gardens has been fortunate to educate some of Birmingham’s brightest. For a full photo gallery from Wednesday’s Birmingham News shoot, visit

Kaul Wildflower Garden – Bog Update 1.12.12

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Today, volunteers gatherd in the Kaul Wildflower Garden where John Manion has led the installation of a new bog for the past couple of months. Now that preparation is complete, planting begins!

Fresh Water Land Trust’s Wendy Jackson to Speak to Docents at The Gardens

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

VOLUNTEERS! – Docent Training on January 17

Have you thought about volunteering with The Gardens? There’s no better time than the new year to get involved! On Tuesday, January 17, in our first floor conference room, Fresh Water Land Trust Executive Director Wendy Jackson will talk about her organization’s involvement with The Gardens as part of Our One Mile Greenway Project.  Everyone interested in the project or becoming a volunteer at The Gardens is encouraged to come.

To learn more about Our One Mile, a project designed to connect Birmingham’s existing parks into a network of greenways, visit their website.

Sign-in begins at 9:30 a.m., while training will last from 9:45-11:30. If you have questions, we encourage you to call Taylor Steele at 205. 414.3962 or email him at

2011 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

Monday, December 12th, 2011

(L to R: Barbara Burton, Frances Blount, Shannon Blount)

2012 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

On Thursday, December 8, Birmingham Botanical Gardens hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciaton Luncheon, recognizing some of its most gracious individuals that have given time to The Gardens in the last year that has allowed prosperity. A crowd of nearly 150 gathered in the Ruth B. Strange Auditorium for a potluck luncheon. Entertainment was provided by The Crestwood Trio, featuring Melanie Rodgers, Chris Griffin and Niamh Clarke. Director of Education Henry Hughes presented Kathy Rostand with the Educator of the Year award. Special Events Coordinator Shelly McCarty presented Carol Beard with the Plantsperson of the Year award. Executive Director Fred Spicer presented the Herb Army with the Volunteer Partner of the Year award. Director of Library Services Hope Long presented Virginia McLean with the A. Brand Walton, Jr. Volunteer of the Year award, and Director of Development Olivia Alison presented Frances Blount with the Ida C. Burns Volunteer of the Year award. Blount served The Gardens as honorary chair for Antiques at The Gardens in 2011, raising over $390,000 to fund educational programs like Discovery Field Trips, the flagship program that has served over 85,000 students in the metro Birmingham area at no cost.

Educator of the Year: Kathy Rostand

Plantsperson of the Year: Carol Beard

Volunteer Partner of the Year: The Herb Army (L to R: Marian Van Voast, Donna Taylor, Chris Boles, Joyce Dean, Maria Kearny, Donna Musgrave, Ann Garrett, Mimi Boston, Robin George, Winyss Shepard, Suzanne Hovater)

A. Brand Walton, Jr. Volunteer of the Year: Virginia McLean