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BIRMINGHAM- Coming off a weekend of rest the Blazers will head to Atlanta to face Georgia State in the final nonconference matchup of the season Tuesday night at 6 p.m.


UAB (3-9-2) have found a bit of a groove late in the season scoring seven goals in the last four games. Teodor Thorvaldsen, Joseph Buete, Brandon Core, Aodhán O’Hara, Jake Futrell and Kevin Wallace have each recorded a goal in the last four games marking 10 different Blazers with tallies this season. 


Georgia State (8-3-3) looks to return to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. The Panthers, who were knocked out of the first round of the 2018 tournament by Charlotte on penalty kicks, got their revenge on the 49ers this season defeating the No. 10 team in the country 1-0 on Oct. 15. 


Georgia State is led by forward Aris Briggs who has nine goals in 2019. The Panthers offense averages 1.85 goals per game, good enough for top 50 in the country.


UAB won the last meeting with Georgia State 4-0 in November of last year but the Panthers lead the overall series 12-9-1. 


For more information on the UAB men’s soccer team, follow @UAB_MSoc on Twitter and Instagram.

There are actual health benefits to spending time with friends. In fact, research shows that social ties are twice as important as exercise when it comes to life expectancy (according to Life Science). Do we need any other reason to keep in touch with our friends? It’s good for our health. 

By DAVID RAINER, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

The 2018 red snapper seasons for private recreational anglers and the charter fleet are finally set. Well, maybe.

The recreational for-hire (federally permitted charter boats) sector season is definitely set. It will start on June 1 and run through July 21.

The private recreational season (private-vessel anglers and anglers on state-licensed guide boats) is currently scheduled for 47 days, also starting on June 1. The private recreational season will be on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) through and including Labor Day. The full 4th of July week is included as well.

However, a caveat is included in the private angler season, according to Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD) Director Scott Bannon. The harvest of red snapper will be closely monitored through the Red Snapper Reporting System, better known as Snapper Check, and the rate of harvest will actually determine how many days the private angler season will be open.

NOAA Fisheries granted the Gulf of Mexico states exempted fishing permits (EFPs) for private recreational anglers for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. A request from NOAA Fisheries for approval of the EFPs was that the federal charter boats not be included. Louisiana and Texas originally planned to include charters in their EFPs but relented and removed them to get the EFPs finalized.  

“Now the EFPs are for private anglers only,” Bannon said. “That means for Alabama, there is a potential 47-day season. We have to keep the word potential in there. We have about 985,000 pounds of red snapper in Alabama’s EFP quota. We get to pick how we fish that amount. Based on our average daily harvest level last year, when we had 42 days, we should get through the 47-day season. If the weather is good and the effort is high, it may end a little early. If there are bad weather days and anomalies and the daily harvest rate is lower than last year, we could extend the season.”

The reason Alabama’s private angler season is flexible is because of Snapper Check, which allows Marine Resources to closely monitor the effort and catch rate during the season. The MRD biological staff will compile the data from Snapper Check to keep tabs on the season.

“With Snapper Check, we will be monitoring the harvest weekly,” Bannon said. “Our staff will pull that Snapper Check data, and we’ll meet mid-week to review the estimate of each weekend’s harvest. We will have a good idea of how it’s progressing through the season. If the weather is windy or stormy and the effort drops, we won’t necessarily lose those days or lose those snapper.

“That was the challenge before. If you had a weather system sitting on an area and anglers didn’t get to fish, that was a lost opportunity. Now we don’t lose that opportunity. Under the EFP, we are able to add days to the season if there are enough pounds remaining in the quota.”

The new Outdoor Alabama app, which includes Snapper Check, will be unveiled after wild turkey season ends on April 30. The new version, which replaces the current Snapper Check app, will require a download from the appropriate app store. New features are included in the new app. Red snapper, which has a mandatory reporting requirement, was the only harvest report available in the old version of Snapper Check.  In the new app, anglers have the option to voluntarily report the harvest of gray triggerfish and greater amberjack. The charter community asked Marine Resources to add those two species to Snapper Check to improve harvest monitoring for those species.

Also new for the latest Snapper Check app is the ability for vessel owners to log into Snapper Check and view the reports they have submitted during the calendar year.  The landings report will also include the information submitted for triggerfish and amberjack.

Another nice red snapper is headed for the cooler

To access this feature, vessel owners must call the Marine Resources Division at (251) 968-9702 and leave a message with specific identifying information.  Owners of private vessels must provide their name as it appears on the vessel registration, vessel registration number (USCG documentation number or state registration number), and the Conservation ID number found on their Alabama saltwater fishing license.

Charter boat captains must leave a phone message containing their name as it appears on their vessel’s registration, their vessel identification number (USCG documentation number or state registration number), Vessel Seafood ID number located in the bottom section of their Alabama commercial party boat license paperwork, and their captain identification number (Merchant Mariner Credential Reference Number).

A few days after providing the account information, the vessel owner can go to the menu on the Snapper Check app and select the Vessel Landings Report tab and enter the required account login information.  If the search is online, the vessel owner will click on the Vessel Landings Report tab located at the top of the page.

“Snapper Check is a critical tool in this,” Bannon said. “It keeps us from going over the amount we requested. Now that red snapper is no longer considered overfished, there is no payback in the following year’s quota, but we still need to show we are responsible to stay within the allocation. If the private anglers exceed their allowable catch, it will eventually affect the charter for-hire people. The charters have been underfishing their allocation slightly, so we don’t want one side adversely affecting another.”

Bannon said one part of the EFP is that state-licensed charter boats are only allowed to catch red snapper within the 9-mile state jurisdiction. Those boats are not allowed to harvest any fish in federal waters when they are on a charter.

Bannon said the public feedback on the proposed private angler season has been very positive.

“Most people like the three-day format,” he said. “We do realize that part of the population, and the state-licensed guides, would like to have one more weekday because of the turnover when people are visiting the coast. Most of the condos turn over on Saturday, which makes it difficult for them to accommodate this group.

“Once we look at the effort this year through the season, we may make some changes for 2019, based on feedback from the public.”

Speaking of triggerfish and greater amberjack, the triggerfish season is currently open. Amberjack season will reopen May 1. Both triggerfish and amberjack will be closed June 1 through July 31. Keep in mind that both species are managed under quotas and may close at any time during the open season if the quotas are met or are projected to be met.

MRD Chief Biologist Kevin Anson said a proposal to change the amberjack bag limit was discussed during last week’s Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in Biloxi, Miss.

“The council will be looking at potentially updating the bag limit on amberjack,” Anson said. “That’s an option the council will be looking at in the not-too-distant future. The bag limit would be a fractional bag limit with one fish per two anglers. There will also be some talk about refining the seasons, potentially setting hard quotas for the new fall and spring seasons.

“With amberjack not recovering, based on the best available science we have, we’re trying to look at ways to keep access to the fishery open as long as possible.”

Another fish of concern for the Gulf states is cobia, also known as ling or lemonfish.

“We will be looking at cobia,” Anson said. “We’ll be looking at catch rates and landings. There is a lot of concern that cobia numbers have plummeted, particularly in the Florida Panhandle during the spring run. One charter captain said during public testimony that only 18 fish have been landed in Destin (Fla.) cobia tournaments this year. That’s not many fish.”

As for the 2018 snapper season, Bannon said he is excited about the prospects.

“I think the EFP shows a potential new path forward for the Gulf states in the goal for state management of reef fish,” Bannon said. “We’re working on a red snapper state management plan through the Gulf Council process. First, we have to decide on allocation across the Gulf. The EFPs were at least a representation of how we can allocate the fish. We want a little more, but so does every other state.”


Red snapper fill the cart after a day of fishing off Alabama's coast


Now that we’re finally swinging into spring, I thought it might be the perfect time for a couple of light, refreshing recipes everyone can enjoy. This chicken shawarma with cucumber yogurt is mouth wateringly delicious – and it’s got some wonderful spices for extra flavor. And for the pasta fans (really, who isn’t?), this cacio e pepe is simple, but it’s truly delightful. Cacio e pepe means “cheese and pepper” – so if you like both, you’ll love this. 

WACO, Texas -- The No. 2 Auburn equestrian team had huge performances all day Friday at the 2018 National Collegiate Equestrian Association Championship as all four events advanced to the final round of the event championship in Waco.

"It was a big day," head coach Greg Williams said. "There was a lot riding and this was a day we've geared up for. We wanted to put ourselves into a position to win and focus on what is in our control. The team did a fantastic job at that and are going to compete in every championship tomorrow. It's really exciting."

The Tigers will have a full day Saturday in the Extraco Events Center, beginning with the national championship at 8:30 a.m. CT. It will be a rematch between the SEC's finest as No. 2 Auburn and No. 1 Georgia will go head-to-head in the full team competition.

"We have unfinished business to attend to tomorrow," Williams said. "Our goal is to win a national championship and that is first and foremost in our minds. All of our sights are on the morning competition. We want to win in everything we compete in, but we will not lose focus on that national championship."

Friday saw the Tigers compete in all four event quarterfinals and semifinals -- Equitation Over Fences, Reining, Equitation on the Flat, and Horsemanship. The newly expanded NCEA format includes four team-seeded brackets as squads compete for four event titles. Auburn was seeded second in both Equitation on the Flat and Horsemanship, while earning a No. 3 seed in Equitation Over Fences and Reining. 

The Hunt Seat corps kicked off the day in Equitation Over Fences. As the No. 3 seed in the event, the Tigers opened with a 3-1 win over No. 6 South Carolina before besting No. 2 Georgia, 3-1, in the semifinals. The Tigers will take on No. 5 Oklahoma State in the final at 2 p.m. CT.

Reining competed in the morning session as the No. 3 seed in the discipline, opening with a 3-1 win over No. 6 Baylor. The Tigers then battled to a 2-2 tie with No. 2 Oklahoma State, edging the Cowgirls with a raw score tiebreak, 550.5-415.5. AU will face SEC rival Texas A&M in the final match at 3:30 p.m. CT.

Hunt Seat continued its dominating performance Friday in Equitation on the Flat, only giving up one point between two matches. The No. 2 Tigers opened with a 3-0 victory over No. 10 South Carolina and followed with a 3-1 win against No. 3 Oklahoma State. Auburn and Georgia will meet in the event final Saturday at 3:30 p.m. CT.

After earning a first round bye, No. 2 Horsemanship saw huge rides throughout Friday afternoon. The team blanked No. 7 SMU, 4-0, before riding to a 2-2 tie with No. 6 Baylor. Auburn edged the Bears in raw score, 581.5-580, to round out competition for the day. The Tigers face off with the rival Bulldogs from Georgia at 2 p.m. CT for the event crown.

A complete list of all matches is below.

A complete list of all matches is below.


vs. South Carolina -- W, 3-1
Caitlin Boyle (AU) def. Lizzie van der Walde (SC), 164-158
Taylor St. Jacques (AU) def. Madison Sellman (SC), 172-161
Hayley Iannotti (AU) def. Madison Brayman (SC), 155-152
Chloe Schmidt (SC) def. Ashton Alexander (AU), 166-165

vs. Georgia -- W, 3-1
Taylor St. Jacques (AU) def. Ali Tritschler (UGA), 169-156
Caitlin Boyle (AU) def. Addyson Cord (UGA), 169-164
Ashton Alexander (AU) def. Emma Mandarino (UGA), 162-161
Maddy Darst (UGA) def. Hayley Iannotti (AU), 175-169

vs. Baylor -- W, 3-1
Charlotte Green (BU) def. Terri-June Granger (AU), 143-139.5
Betsy Brown (AU) def. Carly Salter (BU), 138-137.5
Alexa Rivard (AU) def. Abbi Demel (BU), 139.5-0
Blair McFarlin (AU) def. Georgia Smith (BU), 139.5-137

vs. Oklahoma State -- W, 2-2 (550.5-415.5)
Julia Purus (OSU) def. Alexa Rivard (AU), 137.5-133
Betsy Brown (AU) def. Danielle Cohen (OSU), 138.5-0
Terri-June Granger (AU) def. Hannah Mitchell (OSU), 140-138
Ebba Lange (OSU) def. Blair McFarlin (AU), 140-139

vs. South Carolina -- W, 3-0
Caitlin Boyle (AU) def. Madison Sellman (SC), 175-167
Ashton Alexander (AU) tied Louisa Brackett (SC), 160-160
Taylor St. Jacques (AU) def. Madison Brayman (SC), 171-168
Hayley Iannotti (AU) def. Chloe Schmidt (SC), 158-151

vs. Oklahoma State -- W, 3-1
Ashton Alexander (AU) def. Carly Barrick (OSU), 167-158
Taylor St. Jacques (AU) def. Hannah Janson (OSU), 164-157
Kendall Pedigo (OSU) def. Caitlin Boyle (AU), 170-166
Hayley Iannotti (AU) def. Abigail Brayman (OSU), 166-156

vs. SMU -- W, 4-0
Taylor Searles (AU) def. Kara Vickery (SMU), 149-145
Kara Kaufmann (AU) def. Haylee Schoonover (SMU), 150-147
Kelsey Jung (AU) def. Ashley Mauney (SMU), 147.5-145.5
Deanna Green (AU) def. Michaela Dinger (SMU), 147.5-141.5

vs. Baylor -- W, 2-2 (581.5-580)
Kelsey Jung (AU) def. Katie Davis (BU), 146-143
Deanna Green (AU) def. Abbi Demel (BU), 147-138.5
Kaylee Mellott (BU) def. Taylor Searles (AU), 150-148.5
Charlotte Green (BU) def. Kara Kaufmann (AU) 148.5-140

For the latest on Auburn Equestrian, follow @AuburnEQ on Twitter and visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/AuburnEQ.



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Friday, April 20, 2018


Alabama Football Set for 2018 Golden Flake A-Day Game on Saturday

The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. CT kickoff and will air live on ESPN


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama football will host its annual A-Day Game, sponsored by Golden Flake, on Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. CT inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.


The A-Day Game will serve as the 15th and final practice of the spring for the Crimson Tide. It will be the program’s 12th A-Day under the direction of six-time national championship winning head coach Nick Saban.


Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.



The Alabama Golden Flake A-Day Game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (CT) kickoff this Saturday, April 21, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. A-Day 2018 will include a full day of activities and experiences, including the opportunity for fans to take the field at the conclusion of the game. The A-Day game will serve as the 15th and final practice of the spring. Gates open at 10 a.m. and admission will once again be free to the public.


 It will be the program's 12th A-Day Game under the direction of six-time national championship coach Nick Saban. A myriad of activities punctuate the 2018 Golden Flake A-Day Game that will be televised on ESPN with Kirk Herbstreit, Joey Galloway, Adnan Virk, and Holly Rowe calling the game from field level. 

Those who wonder why anglers off Alabama catch more than 30 percent of the red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico despite having only 53 miles of coastline should have attended the Red Snapper Conference in Mobile last week.


The key to Alabama’s phenomenal red snapper fishing is the more than 1,000 square miles just off the coast that are designated artificial reef zones.


During the day-long conference, numerous scientists and fisheries biologists discussed reef fish management, habitat requirements, red snapper and triggerfish recruitment and growth. All those components are tied to Alabama’s reef zones.


Craig Newton, Alabama Marine Resources Division’s Artificial Reefs Program Coordinator, provided those in attendance a comprehensive look at the state’s artificial reefs program, from its unofficial start to today’s highly regulated deployment protocols.


Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Chris Blankenship, formerly the Marine Resources Director, said Alabama has the largest artificial reef system in the country and has created noticeable improvements in the fishery.


“I went to work on a charter boat when I was 14 years old,” Blankenship said. “If we caught a red snapper that weighed 5 pounds, that was a big red snapper. If you caught one that weighed 10 pounds, you took a picture with it. If you caught one that weighed 20 pounds, your picture ended up in the paper and in the red snapper fishing hall of fame. That was a big fish.”


A massive reef-building program occurred after that, and anglers continue to enjoy the results of the widespread habitat enhancements.


“We build reefs with money from CIAP (Coastal Impact Assistance Program), Sport Fish Restoration and other sources,” Blankenship said. “Over the last few years, we’ve gotten money from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from the Deepwater Horizon criminal fines, and we’ve built several hundred reefs with that money. We’ve created seven new reef zones within our 9-mile state waters boundary. We’ve built more than 30 inshore reefs. So, reef-building has been, and continues to be, extremely important to our state. Because of that, we have such a great red snapper fishery.”


Blankenship pointed out the extensive research being done in the Alabama reef zones by the University of South Alabama (USA), Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Auburn University.


“Dr. (Bob) Shipp is here today,” Blankenship said of the professor emeritus at USA’s Marine Sciences Department. “He was doing red snapper science before reef-fish research was in vogue. We’re blessed to have such great academics in the state to do this work.


“We’ve spent a lot of money and emphasis on red snapper research. We want not only to show we have the largest artificial reef system in the country. We also want to show how those reefs produce such a great fishery here in our state. Like I said, I remember what it was like to go out and catch small fish, a few fish. Now you can’t wet a hook without catching red snapper, big red snapper. The average weight of snapper in the charter fleet now is about 10 pounds. Having a robust reef fishery is extremely important to the economy of the state.”


Newton said the artificial reef story off Alabama started in 1953 when 200 car bodies were cabled together and deployed in two segments by the Orange Beach and Dauphin Island fishing communities. In 1961, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designated the “Snapper Banks” as the first artificial reef zones off Alabama.


The first deployment by the Conservation Department occurred when five 415-foot Liberty ships, known as the Ghost Fleet in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, were hauled offshore and sunk in 1974.


The Marine Resources Division (MRD) strategy then changed to creating artificial reef zones instead of individual reef sites. The Corps permitted the first reef zone of 364 square miles in 1978. This is the first area where individuals could deploy MRD-approved reef material.


“What’s unique about this is these privately deployed reefs remain unpublished,” Newton said. 


The Hugh Swingle reef zone of 86 square miles followed before another expansion occurred in 1989 with another 245-square-mile reef zone. In a program called Reef-Ex, 100 M60 decommissioned battle tanks were thoroughly cleaned and deployed in the Gulf for reefs in 1993. The Corps granted another expansion in 1997 with a permit for 336 square miles for reef zones. MRD teamed with the Orange Beach Fishing Association on the Red Snapper World Championship from 2004 through 2007 to deploy about 1,000 artificial reefs.


Since then, the focus has moved to nearshore with a 1.6-square-mile zone permitted just inside the 3-mile state boundary.


The latest artificial reef zones were permitted last year. A total of 30 square miles inside the 9-mile boundary for reef fish management was approved after an arduous permitting process.


Newton said acquiring a permit for reef zones from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has grown increasingly more complex through the years.


“Historically, it was relatively easy to get a permit,” he said. “You outlined the size and goals of the reefs. Several months later you got a permit. Quite a few things have changed since then.”


Now a reef zone permit application must go to the Corps of Engineers and ADEM (Alabama Department of Environmental Management) for consideration. The application must include detailed construction techniques and methods as well as defined boundaries. A 30-day public comment period required by the Corps is followed by an additional 15-day comment period for ADEM.


Because these are federally authorized permits, they also fall under the National Historical Preservation Act, which is the costliest factor in the permitting process.


“We’re required to have a marine archeologist in all aspects of performing a Phase 1 archeological survey,” Newton said. “We have to use multiple remote sensing techniques. We have to use side-scan sonar, a magnetometer and a sub-bottom profiler to identify not only archeological resources exposed on the sea bed, but those below the sea bed as well.


“We also have to prove the project doesn’t harm threatened or endangered species or compromise the critical habitat. The entire permitting process now takes from 20 to 42 months.”


The material allowed for reef deployment has changed significantly over the years as well. White appliances, like washing machines and refrigerators, are no longer used because they do not provide long-term stable structures. Vehicles and anything fiberglass are also banned. Now, material made of concrete, steel and natural rock are allowed. Chicken transport devices are used as well as concrete pyramids and other structures constructed specifically to provide the best habitat for reef fish.


The Rigs to Reefs program takes advantage of the federal “Idle Iron” regulations, which require oil and gas structures to be removed within five years of the last date of production. The reef program takes obsolete petroleum platforms and uses the structures for reefs.


“We have a diverse assemblage of reef types in our reef zones,” Newton said. “We have 1,282 reefs deployed by the state that are published in our reef program. What makes our reef zones unique is we have the permitted authorization to authorize the public to build their own reefs and the locations remain unpublished.


“We estimate there are more than 10,000 reefs off the shore of Alabama. About 12 percent of those structures are public reefs.”


Newton said about 42 percent of the reef structures are in the zones that have depths from 60 to 120 feet. About 28 percent of the reefs are in depths of 120 to 180 feet. Only 4 percent are deeper than 180 feet.


“What’s really important, you look at relative contribution of these artificial structures in deeper water,” he said. “We have very little natural bottom, natural rock, offshore of Alabama. The natural reefs we do have occur in these deeper waters. This aligns with our goals of avoiding natural reefs when we are deploying artificial reefs.”


Newton said a downward trend in reef deployment by the public coincides with the reduction in the public’s access to the fishery with the shorter and shorter seasons.


“From the mid 90s to the mid 2000s, we permitted about 1,000 reefs per year,” he said. “Now we’re permitting a fraction of that.”


When Marine Resources developed a model to look at the future of the reef system off Alabama, it provided a stark reality.


“What we see is the existing reefs are not going to last forever,” Newton said. “The usable life is about 10 years for regular structures, about 30 for the concrete pyramids. The model shows a steady decline of available habitat into the future. That is why it is imperative that we continue to build reefs on an ongoing basis.”

However, significant progress has been made recently in ending the extremely short federal red snapper seasons. If NOAA Fisheries approves an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) for the 2018 season, Alabama will receive just under one million pounds of red snapper allocation for a potential 47-day snapper season, which could be the catalyst to reverse the downward trend in private reef deployment. Marine Resources will host meetings in late April and early May to answer questions from the public if the EFP is approved.



Artificial reefs off the coast of Alabama attract a variety of fish, including red snapper, triggerfish, spadefish and amberjack.

Photo by Craig Newton



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Pre-Shop Spring Plant Sale April 4 with our first 2018 Lunch & Learn
Bring your lunch to The Gardens on Wednesday, April 4 from 11:30-12:30 p.m. and get a preview of what our plant groups will have to offer at this year's Spring Plant Sale. You'll get an inside scoop on what to add to your shopping list, and you may even be able to make an early purchase! This Lunch & Learn event is completely FREE and no registration is required.
Spring Plant Sale returns to Brookwood Village April 13-15, with the Preview Party and Members-Only Sale kicking things off on the evening of April 12. Don't miss the biggest plant sale fundraiser of the year! Proceeds from Spring Plant Sale hosted by Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens benefit educational programming at The Gardens, including Discovery Field Trips, our conservation programs and Plant Adventures.
Thomas Rainer brings 'Planting in a Post Wild World' to the Garden Center tonight!
In partnership with Birmingham Audubon, the Alabama Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Mountain Brook Board of Landscape Design and Friends of Jemison Park, Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens welcomes author and landscape architect Thomas Rainer to share his talk, 'Planting in a Post Wild World,' tonight. A reception will be held at 5 p.m., while the lecture begins at 5:30 p.m. 
This event is free, and no registration is required. Copies of Rainer's book will be available for purchase at Leaf & Petal at The Gardens, and Rainer will be available for signing.
Bamboo Grove closed until May
In order to preserve our bamboo, the Bamboo Grove beyond the Bamboo Boardwalk will close temporarily to allow shoots to emerge and gain strength. Bamboo only shoots once a year and any shoots that are damaged will not regrow. This will obviously cause a decline in the Bamboo Grove over time. The closure will only last about a month and a half, with reopening dependent on the growth of the shoots. The Boardwalk is still open and visitors are asked to enjoy the Bamboo Grove from there. Thanks for your cooperation in maintaining The Gardens!
Mickey Lollar leads 'African Gardens: The Cradle of Life' talk on Saturday
The Dutch East India Company settled at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa in 1652. One of the first institutions established was a garden to provide fresh vegetables and fruits to visiting ships. Very quickly however, ornamental plants were added by visitors, and thus began a network of conservation and contribution. Family Focus: Begonia, Gentian, Pinks, and Daisy.
Mickey Lollar presents 'African Gardens: The Cradle of Life' on Saturday from 2-3:30 p.m. It's just $12 for Members and $15 for Non-Members. Join us!
Discover 'Spring Flowering Native Plants' with John Manion on April 7
One of the most exciting events in the southeast each year is the flowering of our numerous native wildflowers, many of which are ephemeral and go dormant in summer. The Kaul Wildlower Garden is home to hundreds of trilliums, bluebells, rue anemones and numerous other species. Our class will begin in the classroom, where we will discuss the characteristics that make some of these plants so distinctive. Ample time will be spent touring The Gardens to experience the beauty of these plants. As with all Certificate in Native Plant Studies sessions, this elective can be taken in order to accrue hours toward completion of the program or with no further commitment.
It takes place from 1-5 p.m. Join us!
Seed Exchange at The Library at The Gardens
The Library at The Gardens has a Seed Exchange! We took our old card catalog and filled it with open pollinated vegetable, fruit, herb and flower seeds. 

The Seed Exchange is a free program that was set up to encourage and educate the public on the benefits and importance of seed saving and how important it is to our natural biodiversity. Through the time-honored tradition of seed saving we celebrate biodiversity, nurture locally adapted plant varieties and foster community resilience, self-reliance and a culture of sharing.

If you are unable to save your own seed, please consider donating a packet or two of fresh, commercially grown, open-pollinated (non-hybrid, non-GMO) seed to keep our library stocked. Returned seed will allow us to keep the library well stocked.

If you already have seed you would like to share with us, we will gladly accept any open pollinated seed (No GMO or hybrid seed, please).
This week's seed of the week is lime basil!

If you have additional questions please email Director of Library Services Hope Long at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 
Volunteer at The Gardens
Interested in volunteering at The Gardens? We have ways that you can pitch in indoors and out! 
We're looking for Spring Plant Sale volunteers and we also have regular weekend library positions open. Come pitch in!

To sign up to volunteer, follow the link:
Have questions? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Alice Moore at 205.414.3962 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. more information.

April 4-7
April 12-15
April 21
May 1-2
May 3-5
May 16

April 18


Since 2007, the Mayor’s Cup has raised almost a quarter of a million dollars to benefit the young children of our state. A campaign that began with the election of Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative aims to accomplish just that.

The City of Tuscaloosa will once again host musical acts in Government Plaza every Friday night in June and July as part of its fourth annual Live at the Plaza concert series.

Interim Alabama State Superintendent of Education Ed Richardson today appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court from a March 5 order issued by the Montgomery County Circuit Court blocking the sale of the Georgia Washington Middle School to the Town of Pike Road. The order also enjoined the closing and sale of other Montgomery County Board properties pending further court review.

MONTGOMERY – Ascent Hospitality today announced its purchase of Montgomery’s historic Murphy House downtown, which the company will develop into the state’s third Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel – joining The Elyton in Birmingham and The Grand Bohemian in Mountain Brook. The luxury, boutique hotel will boast 100 rooms and suites, while also offering dining and corporate meeting space.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama – High school musicians from throughout West Alabama will perform and learn from one of the nation’s leading jazz educators during the inaugural West Alabama High School Jazz Festival on March 24, 2018, at Shelton State’s Martin Campus.  Held in the Bean-Brown Theatre, the festival is free and open to the public. 

It’s National Nutrition Month, and Community Services Programs of West Alabama is focusing on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. 

Happy Spring Break, Tuscaloosa! As with each spring break, the calendar gets a little on the thin side. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do, though. Get outside, enjoy spending time with your kiddos, and above all else, have fun.

And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

Enjoy your week, T-Town!

I don’t know why I haven’t done French onion soup more often – but this month, it’s happening. My husband tells me it’s the best version he’s ever had, which thrills me. And any recipe that begins with “1 stick of butter” has to be good, right?  

Here’s wishing all our Druid City Living readers a great week, filled with all kinds of outstanding local events. Get out, get involved, and above all else: Have fun. And remember: If you’d like to have your event added to our online weekly calendar, just email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We’re happy to add anything you’d like to announce.

Enjoy your week, T-Town!

The Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra is once again partnering with the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers for the annual Family Discovery Concert – set for Monday, March 5.

The Tuscaloosa Track Club and  Hospice of West Alabama are hosting the 9th annual 5K Grand Prix event.  The event will include live music and local vendors.  Runners may choose to participate in memory of a loved one.  

When: Saturday, March 3rd starting at 8am

Where: Hospice of West Alabama, 3851 Loop Road, Tuscaloosa

For more info, go to: www.hospiceofwestal.com

Hospice of West Alabama (HOWA) has provided care to terminally ill patients and their families since May of 1982. It is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) private non-profit organization and is governed by a 25 member Board of Directors.
The agency is the oldest provider of hospice services in the West Alabama area and is a member of the United Way of West Alabama. HOWA is certified to provide services under the Medicare and Medicaid programs and is an approved provider for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
In 1998, HOWA became the first community based hospice in Alabama to attain accreditation by The Joint Commission.Hospice of West Alabama is the only agency serving West Alabama with its own free-standing inpatient facility, which has served more than 4,000 patients since it opened on November 1, 2004.The agency staff of more than 80 individuals serves hundreds of patients annually in Tuscaloosa, Pickens, Greene, Hale, Bibb, Fayette, and Lamar counties.

The Montgomerian is Montgomery, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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