SPRING HAS SPRUNG: Ah, yes, spring is here, bringing warm weather, flowering bushes, crippling pollen and, of course, the constant, nagging fear that a bad-ass tornado will come along and take you for an unscheduled flight with Dorothy and Toto. But don’t worry about that. Relax. Take a breath. Think about the GOOD things nature brings. In fact, you should think about GETTING OFF YOUR BUTT, going outside and attending one of the following eco-events.
LOVIN’ THE WATER: The annual Alabama Water Rally Conference, sponsored by the Alabama Rivers Alliance, is an educational event for those involved in the protection of the state’s waterways. The 2011 Conference will take place March 11-13 at Camp McDowell in Nauvoo. For details, visit www.alabamarivers.org
A FRESH HIKE: The non-profit Freshwater Land Trust will hold its spring hike on March 12 at 10 a.m. at the Jerome K. Lanning Preserve in Vestavia, a wooded park along the Cahaba River. This will be a short streamside hike appropriate for all ages. Bring sturdy shoes that can get wet and a picnic lunch. Call (205) 417-2777 to reserve your spot. The Land Trust, based in Birmingham, acquires, conserves and connects open spaces that protect rivers and streams. For more about the organization, visit www.freshwaterlandtrust.org.
ON SACRED GROUND: The Alabama Chapter of the Sierra Club will host a day hike in the Indian Tomb Hollow of the Bankhead National Forest on Saturday, March 12. This box canyon contains rock walls that were reportedly used as Indian burial tombs. The hike will be of moderate difficulty. Pack hiking boots, lots of water and a picnic lunch. Meet at 7 a.m. at the Cracker Barrel restaurant at the I-459 /U.S. 280 junction or at 8:30 a.m. at the Sipsey River picnic area. For details, contact Jay Hudson at (205) 907-6879 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the club, visit www.alabama.sierraclub.org.
DUDE, THAT’S SO GNARLY: The Alabama Mountain Games will be held March 17-20 near Cleveland, Ala. The AMG will host competitions in white-water kayaking, stand-up paddleboard ing, disc golf, mountain biking, fishing and climbing. The AMG will also offer live music and family activities, many of them at the event’s base camp, called “Boogie Bottoms.” According to the AMG web site, all proceeds will go to the Brad Hind Land Trust, a group that preserves land in North Alabama. Day passes are $15; weekend passes (including camping) are $25; children under 12 years of age are admitted free. For details, including video from the 2010 AMG, visit www.alabamamountaingames.com/wordpress.
IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION: The Five Mile Creek Greenway clean-up scheduled for Saturday, March 19, is an event where you can do something good for the earth and see the fruits of your labor immediately. Volunteers will pick up trash, remove privet, and plant trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. in the parking lot of the new Alabama Power East Jefferson business office at 9820 Parkway East in Roebuck. Volunteers will get a free hot dog lunch and t-shirts while supplies last. If you take part, wear gloves and work clothes, and bring rakes, hoes and shovels if possible. Learn more about the event and other efforts to help restore Five Mile Creek by calling (205) 264-8464 or (205) 257- 4155 or visiting fivemilecreekgreenway.org.
CLOVER CRAWL TIME: Green Resource Center for Alabama will present the annual “Clover Crawl: Green Home and Garden Expo,” Saturday, March 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at Vulcan Park and Museum. Admission is free. This event, sponsored by the GRCA, will feature the latest trends in green products and services for home, office and garden. There will be food, music, activities for children and stunning views of the Birmingham skyline. You can drop off electronics for recycling and paper for shredding. Exhibits will feature information on such topics as energy and water use, recycling, food, clothing and transportation. For more information, visit www.greenalabama.org.