In August we headed to Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve (www.ruffnermountain.org) for some outdoor fun and education! This 1,000 acre urban nature preserve is only minutes from most of our kids houses but most have never had the chance to explore.
We started inside with our guide Mr. Carl- a local volunteer professor who explained Alabama's rich geological history and what we would be seeing on our hike to a limestone quarry. The kids learned the different types of rock, fossils, and native minerals and how they shaped the history and progress of Birmingham through the steel and coal industries.
We grabbed a quick lunch to fuel up for our 4 mile hike while each mentor shared their personal careers and how nature/geology/science was involved. From construction, computers, photography, engineering, insurance, exercise, and more- each involved aspects of geology, physics, biology, chemistry. With plenty of bug spray and sunscreen, we hit the trail to the quarry!
Mr. Carl pointed out the geology he had introduced and quizzed us by picking up samples along the way. Being in the woods and away from the chaos of the city also allowed for some good one on one time to catch up on life between kids and mentors.
We finally reached the top!! The kids were hot and worn out, but they made the trek to enjoy a great view of our city.
In the bottom of the quarry, the kids got to see a fossil of a prehistoric plant and talk about how the limestone from the quarry when active provided stone for much of Alabama's highways.
We ended the day discussing how BIG God is and how AWESOME His creation is YET he cares about the smallest details of our lives and wants to know each of us so intimately. So much so that he gave his own Son as a sacrifice on our behalf.
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Chirst died for us." -Romans 5:8
Tired legs and feet didn't hinder any smiles. It was a great day getting away from the city and into nature!