Peace and Tranquility on Big Blue Lake; Not All is as it Appears!

Peace, Tranquility, and Serenity   I speak often of Nature’s beauty, magic, wonder, and awe. Judy and I normally complete our morning neighborhood walk by 6:00AM, then enjoy coffee on the patio overlooking four-acre Big Blue Lake (BBL), along whose north shore we reside. We experience peace, tranquility, the onset of a new day, a […]

Late April Wildflowers at Oak Mountain State Park

I made my first visit to Oak Mountain State Park (20 miles south of Birmingham) in late April. See my June 6, 2019 Post on my general impressions from Oak Mountain: I’m sure I will visit again in the fall. A single point in time does not do justice to the beauty, magic, wonder, […]

Spring Day Color at DeSoto State Park in Northeastern Alabama

This is my fourth Great Blue Heron Blog Post from my mid-April visit to DeSoto State Park. See my earlier Posts describing the Magic of Water’s Thunder at DeSoto State Park: and DeSoto’s Sandstone Glades: and Special Features at DeSoto: I stayed at the Park April 18-20; rain fell in torrents the night […]

Mid-April Return to the Central Appalachians

Mid-April 2019 we returned (with our two Alabama grandsons accompanying us) to our Central Appalachian roots to help honor and pay tribute to my first Forestry Professor, and to this day mentor and hero, Dr. Glenn O. Workman, at Cumberland, MD’s Allegany College of Maryland. We also visited Rocky Gap State Park just east of […]

Special Features at DeSoto State Park in Northeastern Alabama

See my earlier Posts describing the Magic of Water’s Thunder at DeSoto State Park: and DeSoto’s Magical Sandstone Glades: I stayed at the Park April 18-20; rain fell in torrents the night of the 18th, and light rain and drizzle persisted until I departed mid-day on the 20th. Although I snapped this photo […]

Late Spring at Oak Mountain State Park

Such a pleasure to spend two full days at Oak Mountain State Park just south of Birmingham. April 25 engaged me through early afternoon with the Alabama State Parks Foundation Board meeting and the official public launch of the Foundation: Late May I issued another Post on the value added to a State Park […]

The Brand New Cook Museum of Natural Science!

The Cook Museum of Natural Science opened June 7, 2019. Judy and I, along with 11.5-year-old grandson Jack, toured pre-opening June 3, with Explainer Kenny Ladner leading the way. I am grateful to Kenny and other members of the Cook Museum team for inviting me for an advance peek. The only caveat being that I […]

Sandstone Glades at DeSoto State Park

One Photo Says it All! I could begin and end this Post with just one photo — a full-color mosaic of life on a sandstone glade at DeSoto State Park: What is an Alabama Sandstone Glade? Dr. R. Scott Duncan, professor of biology and urban environmental studies at Birmingham-Southern College, published Southern Wonder in 2013. […]

May Gives Way to June

My New Book Hallelujah — a Big Announcement as we slip into June. Here’s how my co-author and friend Dr. Jennifer Wilhoit spread the word on our joint book, Weaned Seals and Snowy Summits, via her website, TEALarbor, this afternoon: I use Jennifer’s words because I could not have said it any better: “I […]

Rickwood Caverns State Park

Below Ground at Rickwood Caverns I began my April 24, 2019 introductory visit to Rickwood Caverns State Park (30 miles due north of downtown Birmingham) in the main cavern with Superintendent Amanda White, entering through the controlled-entrance yellow door. Here’s Amanda with keys in-hand. Like Cathedral State Park, it’s the beauty, magic, wonder, and awe […]

Oh What a Difference a Naturalist Can Make!

Twenty-one State Parks totaling 48,000 acres constitute the Alabama State Parks System… from the Gulf coast to the Tennessee River Valley. The Parks Mission is succinct and compelling: To acquire and preserve natural areas; to develop, furnish, 0perate, and maintain recreational facilities; and to extend the public’s knowledge of the state’s natural environment. This Post […]

The Magic of Water’s Thunder at DeSoto State Park

Water, Water Everywhere  I returned to DeSoto State Park Thursday-through-Saturday April 18-20, exploring on my own Thursday and Saturday, and hiking with Park Naturalist Brittney Hughes Friday. This will be the first of three Blog Posts from my visit. The other two, in turn, will offer photos and reflections on 1) a spring day at […]