As a child, nature is something that is held onto, something that we run towards. Whether it is playing in the dirt or running through fields, a child’s optimism towards the outdoors is a joyful thing to experience and witness. As we grow up, our child-like innocence changes like seasons. Priorities change through the years making the elements of nature become overlooked.
As time goes on, the time that a person has to enjoy the simplicity and beauty of the outdoors gets shorter. Priorities shift and to-do lists become the focus rather than taking time out of the day to take a walk outside and enjoy time stopping for a bit.
Nature is beautiful. It is authentic and simple. It is a way to escape the inside world and become connected to the outside world. The time is now to become one with nature. That’s why when life tends to get in the way, people tend to run outside and escape in the beauty that is the world around them.
Birmingham, Ala. is known as the most biodiverse area in the country. Being located in the “sweet spot” for biodiversity in the United States, Birmingham’s biodiversity is the reason for the many unique nature spots in the city.
Scot Duncan, professor of biology at Birmingham-Southern College, believes that the city of Birmingham’s biodiversity is the reason for the it’s uniqueness when it comes to nature.
“It’s [biodiversity] what makes Alabama special, unique, and inviting,” said Duncan. “We are able to hike wooden trails, explore caves, ride mountain bikes, and overall enjoy the essence of nature so easily in this city,” Duncan said.
Ruffner Mountain, Red Mountain Park, and Birmingham Botanical Gardens are three of many nature sweet spots in the city.
1214 81st Street South, Birmingham, Alabama
In 1977, the founders of the Ruffner Mountain Nature Coalition preserved nature as it intended to be: enjoyed rather than letting modern ways transform its beautiful areas into apartment complexes.
By preserving the landscape, the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve is now home to 1,038 acres of urban forest that has become a place that connects the community through its multiple hiking trails.
When people visit the Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve, they can actively see the lengths people will go to continue how people connect with the natural world around them.
“Ruffner Mountain is an amazing place and a hidden gem. This place was a haven and an escape for me when I was in a dark place,” said Collin Bradley, a visitor of Ruffner Mountain.
Red Mountain Park
2011 Frankfurt Dr, Birmingham, Alabama
In nature, it is easy to become motivated and active. Although getting physical activity may seem less important than other matters, when nature becomes the setting in which activity takes place, it can easily become a more enjoyable experience.
Red Mountain Park is a place for people to explore, seek adventure, and discover nature’s beauty. The park stretches for 1,500 acres of forest. From walking to hiking to mountain biking, there is a trail for everyone to explore.
“Red mountain is my favorite place to hike in Birmingham! With the mining sites, ruins, dog parks, lookouts, and interesting trails, there’s something for everyone,” said Lucy Hall, a visitor of Red Mountain Park.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
2612 Lane Park Rd, Birmingham, Alabama
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a place to discover wonder and beauty. People come to the gardens to feed their mind, body and soul. The Gardens strive to give those who visit an opportunity to grow a passion for the natural world.
By showcasing the plants that thrive in southern gardens, connection to nature becomes a more meaningful experience for everyone who visits.
“The gardens are a beautiful place to spend the day. Walking the paths and sitting by the fountains and just enjoying nature,” said Tim Wilson, a visitor of the gardens. “You can’t ask for much more. I can’t wait to come back in the spring and catch some of the blooms that I missed by being here later in the year.”