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Fresh Air Family offers one-stop shop for outdoor fun

August 11, 2009

When was the last time you got off the couch and spent some time outdoors? Yes, it’s still hot, and, no, this isn’t a lecture. Instead, it’s an opportunity — or rather more than 200 opportunities to explore the natural beauty of our state, thanks to the work of a fast-growing organization called Fresh Air Family.

For Way #42 in our countdown of 50 Ways to Love Our Community, we’re featuring Fresh Air Family and the many activities you can learn about and do all year round. What better way to love (appreciate) our mountains, trails, wildflowers, birds and bats (yes, bats!) than to join a Fresh Air Family excursion to Oak Mountain State Park or the Birmingham Botanical Gardens?

As a nature education organization, Fresh Air Family invites families, individuals, schools and groups to explore special places in the company of experts who can point out things that few people ever see – a rare bird, fish, plant or animal. “We find the best places to go and the people to take us there,” said founder and executive director Verna Gates.

Whether you want to go tubing down the Cahaba River or see a wood stork in the wild, you can connect to a variety of programs throughout the year on the Fresh Air Family website. This Saturday, Aug. 15, for example, naturalists Brittney Hughes and Darryl Patton will show participants how to look for medicinal plans along the west fork of the Little River in DeSoto State Park.

Imagine what you will find in the woods or along the river. And imagine what we might be missing without Fresh Air Family to connect us to our wonderful gardens, museums and parks.

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