Conservation Overview

Conservation Overview

Alabama ranks 5th in overall biodiversity and 9th in plant diversity among all states. (NatureServe, States of the Union: Ranking America’s Biodiversity, 2002). Alabama also boasts 25 endemic plants, species or varieties that grow naturally nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, Alabama also ranks 11th in the percentage of plant species considered “at risk” of extinction. NatureServe, ibid. These facts all highlight the need for conserving Alabama’s native flora and its habitats, and public gardens like Birmingham Botanical Gardens (BBG) are uniquely positioned to undertake and lead in these efforts.

BBG’s plant conservation programs are multifaceted, with numerous opportunities for engaging the public and citizen volunteers. They are characterized by active partnerships and cooperative relationships with community groups, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and cultural institutions with intrinsic, public green spaces and natural areas. All programs under this banner are offered free of charge to participants.

Aspects of our plant conservation programs, all of which are presented in an educational context for our volunteers, include:

  • Field Work: population monitoring, seed and cutting collection, habitat management, invasive plant eradication
  • Greenhouse Work: propagation, potting, weeding, watering
  • Collections Work: a full range of gardening activities in BBG’s living collections of native plants in the Kaul Wildflower Garden and Barber Alabama Woodlands
  • Planting Out: reintroduction of BBG-propagated plants into suitable habitats, monitoring and follow-up care
  • Applied Research: propagation methods, cultural methods and protocols
  • Education: tours, presentations, lectures, demonstrations, posters and print and on-line content offered free of charge to various audiences from children to adults, from amateurs to professionals.

Additional formal classes, influenced in part by our conservation programs, are offered through our Certificate in Native Plant Studies, an advanced amateur- and university introduction-level curriculum established in 2011; and through the 2-3 day-long Central South Native Plant Conference, produced by BBG starting in 1998, and offered every two years. (These programs are supported by user fees and sponsorships.)

Conservation Program Partners

  • Alabama Plant Conservation Alliance, Auburn, AL
  • American Public Gardens Association, Kennett Square, PA
  • Birmingham, AL, Office of Mayor William A. Bell
  • Birmingham, AL, City Council, Johnathan Austin, President; Valerie Abbott, District 3 Representative
  • Birmingham, AL, Park and Recreation Board, Kevin Moore, Director; James Horton, Gardens Director
  • Cahaba River Society, Birmingham, AL
  • Davis Arboretum at Auburn University, Auburn, AL
  • Edgewood Garden Club (Federated Garden Clubs of Alabama, District III), Homewood, AL
  • Friends of George Ward Park, Birmingham, AL
  • Garden Club of America (Birmingham clubs): the Little and Red Mountain Gardens Clubs
  • Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, Athens, GA
  • Jefferson County Department of Storm Water Management, Birmingham, AL
  • North Smithfield Manor - Greenleaf Heights Community, Jefferson County, AL
  • Red Mountain Park, Birmingham, AL
  • The Nature Conservancy in Alabama, Birmingham, AL