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
Get to know our faculty
Mercedes Bartkovich 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.
Douglas Pierre Baulos received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He regularly teaches workshops and lectures on his research in book arts, drawing, and visual ecology. Doug currently is the Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the curriculum director at Studio by the Tracks, an art center that provide free art classes to emotionally conflicted children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other mental illnesses. His drawings, installations, and books have been exhibited/published both nationally and internationally. Doug is a self-proclaimed bird nerd and currently serves on the Alabama Audubon Board of Directors.
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.
A lifelong birder, Paul Franklin has taught birding courses at UAB, Samford University, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and other institutions since 1987. As an active member of Alabama Audubon, Paul has served as chairman of the Field Trips and Conservation committees, volunteered as a bird-count compiler, and fulfilled two terms as president of the organization. Among other accomplishments, he has conducted Breeding Bird Survey routes for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, held a Master Bird Bander license, and acted as the state’s primary ornithologist during the development of the Alabama Birding Trail.
Dr. John Friel is the Director of the Alabama Museum of Natural History at the University of Alabama, and was previously the Curator of Fishes, Amphibians, and Reptiles and a Senior Research Associate in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University. He received his BS in zoology from the University of Central Florida and his PhD in Zoology from Duke University. John has been a professional ichthyologist for over 25 years and has conducted field research on freshwater fishes throughout South America and Africa. Since moving to Alabama, he has been developing the museum’s biodiversity and community-science initiatives including the Biodiversity of Alabama project on iNaturalist.
Jessie Griswold studied Wildlife Management at the University of Georgia and started her career as Raptor Rehabilitation Coordinator at the Alabama Wildlife Center. She currently works at the Birmingham Zoo as Lead Animal Care Professional in the Animal Health Center. She is known for her love of all things vultures and supports a variety of vulture conservation initiatives around the world. Through the Birmingham Zoo’s Passion into Conservation Action (PiCA) grant, she’s been collecting data on bird-window collisions in downtown Birmingham and advocating for mitigation of glass structures as well as educating homeowners on simple and inexpensive solutions to protect resident and migratory birds.
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 Field Trips 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.
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.