Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Earth Day celebration to be held at Moundville Archaeological Park


From snakes and lizards to butterflies and moths, this Earth Day University of Alabama Museums and Moundville Archaeological Park are doing things a little bit different.

In both analyzing all the various plants and animals that inhabit the Tuscaloosa community and celebrating Mother Nature, University of Alabama Museums will host their first ever “BioBlitz” this Saturday from 6 a.m. – 9 p.m..

“We’ll have some volunteers that will give various guided walks throughout the park,” said John Friel, the director of the UA Museum of Natural History. “We’re encouraging people to take pictures of the things they find interesting and submit it to our website where we’ll combine all of the data and analyze it.”

The museum has gradually collected similar data for over a year and slowly developed a list of species common to the Tuscaloosa area. In providing various bird, butterfly, plant and wildflower walks, the Museum of Natural History will foster Earth Day recognition while creatively expanding their data on species common to the area.

“It’s a great opportunity for the public to learn about plants and insects they’ve always been curious about while being a sort of ‘tech-scientist,’” Friel said. “We’ve recorded over 200 species so far, which goes to show you really don’t need to travel far to learn about Alabama’s biodiversity.”

University of Alabama Museums and Moundville Archaeological Park will educate and excite the community about natural history this Earth Day while also collecting data for their online records. In doing so, attendees will become the event’s “scientists” for an afternoon at the Moundville Archaeological Park.

“I’m looking forward to discovering new things both to me and to Moundville,” said UA director of Museum Research and Collections, John Abbott, who will also lead one of the insect walks. “That’s always the exciting part of these things, the exploration and discovery that goes along with it.”

The Nelson B. Jones Conference Center and Moundville Archaeological Park will host the event alongside numerous museums and UA environmental groups. All partners hope to draw out individuals of all ages for the afternoon and evening activities.

“We’ll have the UA astronomical society come out for stargazing in the evening as well,” Friel said. “We’ll also have an activity where we set up bright lights and white sheets and when the sun goes down all of these beautiful moths land on the sheets for everyone to look at.”

The outreach activity is free to the public and encourages all to attend at any time throughout the day in support of Earth Day and the many museums partnering with Moundville Archaeological Park.

“Since it will be Earth Day I think it’s really important people appreciate the environment on so many levels, and just how interconnected everything is,” Friel said. “If we don’t start caring about the environment now, who will take care of it in the future?”

Although Friel believes many families and Tuscaloosa residents will attend, he hopes many UA students will also stop by throughout the day.

“Considering it’s going on all day, I’ll definitely come by at some point,” said Lucas Smith, a freshman majoring in finance and accounting. “Nature is all around us and it’s so easy to get distracted, so I’m looking forward to relaxing before exams start and enjoying all of the biodiversity this event will definitely offer.”

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