Volunteers and staff restore Little Shades Creek in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.
Urban Conservation Volunteers and staff restore Little Shades Creek in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. © Jacqueline Gray Miller/TNC

Stories in Alabama

Urban Conservation in Birmingham

The Nature Conservancy launches science-driven conservation efforts to help people and nature in Alabama's largest city.

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The Conservancy has launched an urban conservation program in 10 major cities across the country. Birmingham is part of this initiative, along with New York, Los Angeles, Houston and other cities.

Why the focus on cities now? Because by the year 2050, scientists project that the world’s population will reach 9 billion people, and two-thirds of that population will be city dwellers. As more people concentrate in cities, they will need access to fresh water, clean air, and safe coastlines, putting tremendous pressure on the natural resources that cities already use. The Nature Conservancy aims to address not only how those resources can be sustainably provided, but also how they will be managed.

Volunteers and staff contribute to urban conservation efforts in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.
Birmingham Volunteers Volunteers and staff contribute to urban conservation efforts in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. © Jacqueline Gray Miller/TNC

Francesca Gross, a wetland scientist and greenway specialist, leads the Conservancy's urban conservation program in ‎Birmingham. The first urban conservation project took place on March 19, 2015 in the City of Vestavia Hills; maintenance of Little Shades Creek included planting 200 trees. Honorable Alberto C. Zaragoza Jr., Mayor, Vestavia Hills, Councilor Jim Sharp, and residents of Ashley Wood Subdivision joined us on site. Partners include:   

  • Alabama Department of Environmental Management
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System
  • Alabama Department of Transportation
  • Ashley Woods Homeowners Association
  • Cahaba Clean Water Partnership
  • Cawaco Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc.
  • City of Vestavia
  • Goodwyn Mills & Cawood, Inc.
  • Jennings Environmental
  • North Carolina State Cooperative Extension System
  • Morgan Properties
  • North State Environmental 

While our implementation has only just begun, the protection and restoration of natural systems for the benefit of people and nature is the Conservancy’s goal. We will be applying science-driven solutions to urban issues; expanding the scope of conservation to include cities and will keep you posted on our progress.

Birmingham: A Dream Being In the Woodlawn neighborhood, teacher Tashina Lee and high school students work with TNC to transform vacant lots.