The defense of our forests begins with love — a belief that lies at the heart of Wild South’s Alabama Outreach & Education (ALOE) program. Through this program, we provide a pathway for individuals to understand and experience public lands, in turn inspiring community-wide stewardship and defense of Alabama’s most cherished wild places.

Very often, this inspiration begins with youth, families, and communities seeking new experiences. Year after year, our ALOE program empowers hundreds of individuals to enjoy, value, and protect our public lands, and the amazing living things that depend on them. 

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.”

Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist

Wild South’s ALOE program inspires individuals to love and care for their public lands in the following ways: 

  • Bi-Monthly Guided Hikes: Hikes led by Wild South staff, volunteers, and naturalists in the Bankhead National Forest & Sipsey Wilderness. Open to all ages, with the purpose of introducing individuals to their public lands. 
  • Wild Wednesday Nature Hikes: Hikes led throughout the summer, tailored to children and families. Wild Wednesday hikes introduce adults to wild places where the young ones in their lives can safely explore all the wonders of the Bankhead National Forest & Sipsey Wilderness. 
  • Group Presentations: Engaging and inspiring local civic groups, clubs, and organizations through presentations about Wild South and the public lands where we work and for which we advocate.
  • Field Trips: Lead personalized outings in the Bankhead National Forest for public and private schools, home schools, colleges and universities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Trail Life groups, garden clubs, and churches. 
  • Tabling at Events: Provide opportunities to connect with our community by tabling at public events and festivals. We offer a friendly and engaging experience for adults and children alike, designed to educate individuals about our public lands, and the recreation, stewardship, and protection opportunities available through Wild South programs. 
  • Film Screenings: In the last year, we’ve coordinated and organized eight free public film screening events featuring six conservation-themed documentaries, in partnership with the Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts, the Alabama Center for the Arts, and the University of Alabama’s Film & The Environment class. 
  • “The Fight for Alabama’s Last Wild Places” Podcast: This past year, we were honored to create and present a podcast series in partnership with Green Bucket Press, documenting interviews with fourteen grassroots activists who fought to change management practices in the Bankhead National Forest.  Their stories chronicle the history of the Bankhead Monitor, which would later become Wild South.

“I can’t believe nature built all this!”

Cole Bedics, Wild South hiker, 6 years old

The Alabama Outreach & Education program would not be possible without the generous support of our community partners, and individual donations. To find out more about this program, and future outreach & education partnership opportunities, email

Janice Barrett
Alabama Outreach & Education Coordinator