Alabama Audubon offers educational experiences for all levels of adult learners. Read more about our upcoming courses below, then click the registration links to sign up. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Our courses usually fill several days before they begin, so don’t miss your chance to study with Audubon!
We understand there are economic barriers that many are facing during this time. If you need financial assistance, please email us.
While the state has reopened, it’s important to stay safe during this pandemic. See our full COVID-19 statement here.
Check out our upcoming courses:
Handouts for our online courses:
- Audubon at Home: Protecting Birds from Window Collisions
- Audubon at Home: Birdwatching for Beginners with Greg Harber
- Audubon at Home: Birding by Ear with Paul Franklin
- Audubon at Home: Backyard Bird Habitat with Mercedes Maddox
Get to know our faculty
Michelle Blackwood graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she studied art and environmental science. She combines her love of the outdoors with an enthusiasm for engaging others. For over twenty years, she has organized outdoor activities from small group hikes to creek clean-ups to community educational festivals. Her signature accomplishment through her brainchild, Friends of Shades Creek, is the Salamander Festival, now in its 17th year. She has served on a number of environmental organization boards, including most recently as president of the Cahaba River Society, which honored her with its lifetime achievement award. She has been an instructor for many years at the Audubon Mountain Workshop.
Growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Leah Connell fell in love with the small creatures in the wilderness of the half-acre behind her house. She has always had a tender spot for nature. This continued into her college curriculum, taking Herpetology and Entomology among her other science courses at the University of Georgia. However, it was her Ecology class that sent her to pursue a graduate degree. Her graduate research in the swamps of Eastern North Carolina furthered her interest in and respect for the reptiles and amphibians she was studying. Since completing her Master of Science in Biology at East Carolina University, she has turned towards education. From summer camps for the Boys and Girls Clubs all the way through middle, high, and college level courses, Leah has taught science to anyone who will listen. This includes complete strangers she runs into while hiking. She is currently an instructor for New College and the Biological Sciences department at The University of Alabama.
Andrew “Drew” Haffenden moved to Dauphin Island in 2012 from Birmingham. In an earlier life, in Australia, he was a wildlife researcher, but for the last 35 years, he was primarily involved with nature travel. Walking out on the beach one day in mid-July 2012, he noticed a snowy plover with colored leg bands, and a few days later a banded piping plover. That began an interest in shorebirds which continues to this day, learning the different species and their behaviors through time in the field. Over the years, this has led to 558 resight records of piping plovers and 540 resight records of snowy plovers, plus a sundry of other species ranging from sandpipers to terns. COVID-19 aside, he continues his work in nature travel, the last few years especially to Cuba.
Greg Harber has been a member of Alabama Audubon since he first moved to the city in 1986. During that time, he has served in various capacities, including as a chapter officer and key member on several committees (Bird Counts and Education, among others). An avid cyclist and master birder, he currently serves on the Alabama Audubon Board of Directors and as chair of our Conservation committee.
Henry Hughes worked in urban and rural forestry in Alabama for over 25 years before serving as director of education at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for ten years. He is particularly interested in the ecological and aesthetic integrity of forested watersheds. He has served as executive director of Friends of Shades Creek, as co-chair of the Stewardship Committee of the Cahaba River Society, and as president of the board of the Alabama Rivers Alliance. Henry has taught on forest, soils, and watershed-related topics for many years at the Audubon Mountain Workshop. He studied forestry and botany at the University of the South, Sewanee, and plant and soil science at the University of Kentucky and Texas A&M University.
Timothy Joe is a self-taught artist and instructor whose art reflects his deep roots in the Alabama Black Belt region. His art is fueled by the sense of need to preserve rural landscape and scenery, including bird life. An Alabama-born en plein air painter, Timothy Joe held a live art demonstration at our inaugural Hale County Black Belt Birding Tour in 2019 at the Joe Farm, and we’re excited he’s now sharing his love of art and birds as part of our faculty. He is also an Alabama Audubon Board of Directors member.
Dr. Scott Jones has been interested in reptiles and amphibians since he was a young boy chasing toads around his childhood home in southeastern Pennsylvania. Scott earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. He earned a Master of Science at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia focused on urban herpetology. He earned a PhD at East Carolina University in Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences examining how tadpoles change their body shape in response to competitors and predators. After graduation in 2016, Scott joined the faculty at The University of Alabama in New College and New College LifeTrack. Scott enjoys scouring Alabama for reptiles and amphibians and has branched out to spending a lot of time looking for birds as well. He is passionate about teaching students the importance of nature in their own lives and helping them appreciate it though outdoor experiences.
Mercedes Maddox received a B.S. in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia and an M.S. from Alabama A&M University where she studied stopover patterns of neotropical migrant songbirds. She is currently working with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of ADCNR as a Nongame Wildlife Biologist. As a Latin American female and an early career professional, she wants to leave a lasting impact by providing hands-on learning and mentoring experiences for students from all backgrounds. She has a passion for empowering underrepresented individuals and ensuring everyone has access and is welcome in the outdoors. In her spare time, Mercedes enjoys traveling and exploring different ecosystems and cultures with her husband and two pups, all while adding new birds to her life list.
Anne Miller founded and directed Alabama’s first wildlife rehabilitation program—the Alabama Wildlife Center—for thirty years. Since her retirement, she has continued teaching wildlife rehabilitators across the U.S. about returning young wild animals to their parents, as an alternative to raising them in captivity. For her leadership in this area, Anne received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association in 2017. She’s also become an enthusiastic birder, and was involved in expanding the birding trails system throughout Alabama. Anne recently completed a two-year term as President of the Alabama Ornithological Society, and remains an active member of the AOS board of directors. She serves on the Field Trip and Programs committees for Alabama Audubon.