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Meet “The Southern Herbalist,” Darryl Patton

2022-06-24T15:05:43-05:00By |Outdoors|

On the trailhead at Cheaha State Park stands a large, red-stemmed pokeweed. Usually found in alleyways or roadsides, this ubiquitous weed is normally easy to pass by, but not when hiking with famed herbalist, Darryl Patton. Those of us hiking with him have learned to expect long stops, as he shares his prodigious knowledge of plants. The poke sallet, sometimes called poke salad, is generally considered poisonous. Patton sees it as deadly to viruses. According to him, “It will kill them graveyard dead.”

Go fossil hunting in Alabama at Union Chapel Mine

2022-06-11T16:49:15-05:00By |Outdoors|

She was only five years old when she tentatively toddled over to the paleontologist to show him her dinner-plate sized find. He leaned in with a smile of patience, assuming it was just a rock. He flipped up his sunglasses for a better look. The fossil hunt was 20 minutes in and the smallest child had picked up a museum-quality fossil. It was an Attenosaurus track, called a “coal lizard.”  These giant ancient reptiles spanned from six to eight-feet long and dominated swamps as the largest land animal before the dinosaurs emerged.

Opera Birmingham introduces the musical art to the city

2022-06-05T09:57:28-05:00By |Culture|

If a high note breaks your beer glass, it’s not the alcohol singing—it’s Opera Shots. Far from the stodgy image of the large woman in a Viking helmet, this progressive opera company takes opera to the street, the bar, and the brewery. Opera Birmingham showcases its singers before unsuspecting audiences who get a sip of culture along with their cocktail.

How an organ saved the Alabama Theatre

2022-05-30T10:44:11-05:00By |Uncategorized|

“We were just stupid enough or crazy enough to think we could actually do it,” says Gary Jones, president of the Alabama Theatre Organ Society. “We knew we had to do it.” To most of us, the Alabama Theater is a masterpiece of Moorish design, velvet seats, and a massive stage. It is where we go to see movies or bands, dance recitals, comedians, and weddings in the glamorous setting. Others see a beautiful organ rising up from the floor. An instrument of physical and musical beauty. An irreplaceable instrument. Something worth saving. 

10 nature experiences to have in Alabama this summer

2022-05-29T17:59:40-05:00By |Outdoors|

Summer may turn a wildflower hike into a sauna, but there are plenty of creeks, caves, swimming holes and natural phenomena to make working up a sweat worthwhile. Our famed hydrangeas are in full bloom in every variety from climbing to giant foot-long blooms. Creature features include the largest emergence of bats east of the Mississippi and a glowworm only seen here and Down Under. Alabama is a natural paradise, ranked as number four in biodiversity in the United States. Much of this diversity is due to our five geologic regions. Alabama is a special place for the explorer willing to seek its charms. Here are 10 nature experiences to add to your list this summer.

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