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Tortoises, birding, free plants set for Hays Nature Preserve’s Earth Day

Tortoises, birding, free plants set for Hays Nature Preserve’s Earth Day

A birding hike, butterfly release, free tomato plants and a chance to hang out with a gopher tortoise await those who plan to participate in the Hays Nature Preserve free Earth Day festivities Saturday.

Activities will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but early arrivals can enjoy a birding hike with John Ehinger at 8 a.m. Birding participants should bring binoculars.

There will be more than 70 earth-friendly exhibitors/vendors with exhibits and demonstrations throughout the day. Each family can also get a free tomato plant and cucumber plant to take home.

Hays Nature Preserve map.jpg

Pack a picnic lunch or enjoy healthy fare which will be available for lunch/snacking during the festival. Please bring reusable water bottles to fill at our water stations.

A glimpse at activities shows:

  • Mass butterfly releases at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. – Sponsored by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
  • Learn about fly fishing with casting and fly tying demos by the Tennessee Valley Fly Fishing Association.
  • Exhibits will have tips on having a more energy-efficient home, solar power and electric vehicles
  • Children can enjoy a variety of activities including: face painting, playing in the natural playground, crafts to make and take home and learning about animals.
  • Explore Alabama’s rich natural resources with demonstrations by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management about fish biodiversity.
  • Get up close to an owl, snakes, gopher tortoise and more as you learn about wildlife in Alabama from the Coosa River Science Center.
  • Children visiting Burritt on the Mountain’s exhibit at the festival will receive a pass for a day valid through May 8 to explore Time Travel Adventure.

The Hays Nature Preserve and the Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary together form Huntsville’s largest and most undeveloped city parklands. It has more than 10 miles of trails that wind through bottomlands, swamps and sloughs that are suitable for hiking or mountain biking. Horses are also welcome on the northern trails.

Wildlife abounds on the property, with deer, rabbits, raccoons and resident and migratory birds. The natural area is part of the North Alabama Birding Trail.