Alabama Wildlife Federation
The Alabama Wildlife Federation is the oldest and largest non-profit conservation organization in Alabama. It was established by sportsmen in 1935 to promote the conservation and wise use of our wildlife and natural resources and to ensure a high quality of life for future generations of Alabamians. Lanark contains five distinct destinations – Alabama Wildlife Federation Headquarters, Historic Lanark, Lanark Pavilion, the Alabama Nature Center, and the NaturePlex.
Interestingly, the Lanark compound was once a Hill family property prior to Isabel Hill and her family donating the property to AWF. With the NaturePlex opening in October 2015, AWF has fulfilled the underlying vision shared by AWF and the Hill Family that led to AWF becoming caretakers of the property. That vision was to establish a world-class conservation education center that allows it the opportunity to teach children and adults about wise-use and responsible stewardship of our wildlife and related natural resources while at the same time, preserving and sharing the legacy created by Isabel and Wiley Hill over the last 50 years.
Alabama Wildlife Foundation focuses on wildlife conservation, hunting and angling heritage, and connecting young people and adults to the outdoors, by channeling efforts into 3 major areas:
- Conservation Education: Connecting youth and adults through initiatives like the Alabama Nature Center, Lanark Field Days, Summer Field Days, Expedition Lanark Summer Camp, Homeschool Programs and Thursday Night and Weekend Programs.
- Resource Stewardship: Land Stewardship Assistance promotes abundant wildlife habitats through habitat initiatives such as the Native Warm Season Grass Project, Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration Project, Gulf Coast Conservation Project, Landowner Network App, Alabama Black Bear Alliance, Wildlife Seminars, AWF Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards, and the Alabama Wildlife Magazine.
- Hunting and Angling Heritage: Celebrating the conservation role of hunting and angling through programs such as Alabama Wildlife Federation Wild Game Cook-Offs, Alabama Quail Trail, Operation GameWatch, and the Alabama Wildlife Federation Youth Fishing Rodeo.
Along with those efforts, the Alabama Wildlife Federation holds a variety of workshops that support the development, use and sustainability of outdoor classrooms and that help schools integrate conservation education into their curriculum. They partner with other conservation education organizations and agencies like the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to provide these workshops for educators, administrators, and school volunteers including parents, ACES/4-H Agents, Master Gardeners, and Master Naturalists.
Another amazing feature of the federation is the NaturePlex. It is a 23,000 square foot heated and cooled structural facility designed to fit into the natural surroundings, ensuring the beauty of the Lanark property is not compromised. It serves as the official and permanent Welcome and Education Center of the Alabama Nature Center and fulfills the final structural element of the Board’s vision for a world-class outdoor education center in Alabama. It includes an auditorium equipped with up to date technology, a hands-on Discovery Hall with interactive and visual nature displays, a classroom and lab that is fully equipped, a community room with space to be used as a second classroom, and a gift shop. Bring the family and walk through the hands-on Discovery Hall, watch a scheduled movie, buy a souvenir in The Bear Den Gift Shop, and enjoy hiking five miles of scenic Alabama Nature Center trails while learning about the fascinating natural history of central Alabama.
To tour the NaturePlex and hike the scenic trails, visit the federation at 3050 Lanark Rd, Millbrook, AL 36054, or call 334-285-4550.