Blakeley and Mother Nature Celebrate Earth Day Monday
Blakeley State Park has joined with Mother Nature in a special celebration of Earth Day Monday (April 22). Free admission to Blakeley Park for visitors who donate plants and dozens of live, free exhibits by Mother Nature are scheduled for the observation of the worldwide celebration that day.
Visitors will be admitted free to the park with a donation of a bedding plant or blooming shrub for each adult and child between the ages of 6 and 12. The donated items will be planted May 5, by volunteers, members of the Church of the Eastern Shore in beds now being prepared at the park following in part a design by Master Gardeners.
Visitors will experience un-surpassed free live exhibits and entertainment by Mother Nature. According to Jo Ann Flirt, park director, exhibits include:
Visual sights : Some 2,000 acres of trees including hundreds of 250-year-old live oaks, thousands of pines of at least four species, the rare and unusual big leaf magnolia, three of Alabama's state champion trees, and water and marsh plants, Trees will be dressed in seasonal colors of spring chartreuse.
Floral shows: Living blooms from a variety of woods, marsh and water plants including flowering vines of red, yellow and burgundy; purple swamp lilies; purple and yellow lilies on the Civil War battlefield; and golden club, a swamp plant with white flower spikes with yellow tips. Accenting the floral show with fluorescence will be Indigo Buntings.
Live music: Chirping of birds, lullabies by spring breezes through treetops, melodic rustling of fallen leaps by foraging squirrels and ground birds, and squeals of laughter from small children.
Aerial views : Unscheduled, rare graceful flights of bald eagle including new juvenile; hawks, osprey, swallowtail kites, bees, butterflies and moths.
Dancing: Wild deer prancing across roads and leaping through woods, troupes of wild turkey in group performances and chorus lines of ants,
Water show : Fish jumping in the Tensaw River, osprey diving for dinner, shy baby alligator playing at water's edge.
Blakeley Park will conduct ranger guided group tours from the park's gatehouse area at 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m. for visitors who are unfamiliar with the park's nature areas. Tours are free.
“Mother Nature has blessed Blakeley with her gifts. How better to observe Earth Day than to allow Mother Nature to put on her new spring fashions and exhibit them fully for all to see. Our celebration is in addition to activities planned at Fairhope's Earth Day but instead of Blakeley taking small samples d there to show on a table under a tent, we are inviting the public to come see the real things in their own habitat.”, Flirt said.
Blakeley Park is located on State Highway 225 about 4.5 miles north of where it intersects with U.S. 31 at Spanish Fort. Day visitor hours are 9 a.m. to dusk. For more information go to www.blakeleypark.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 251-626-0798.
Blakeley Park Namesake Gives Birthday Donation
When first-grader Blakeley Robbins woke up on her seventh birthday Tuesday (April 2) she found herself with her family in the beautiful, wooded Blakeley State Park campground.
It was her birthday wish to spend the previous night during spring break camping out at Blakeley with her parents, Tracy and Gerry Robbins; brothers, Landon and Gerrit; and Mouse, the chocolate colored pet of the Fairhope family.
The Bakeley visit had a double meaning for the bright-eyed young student. She had been named for Blakeley Park by her mother, Tracy Stuckey Robbins, in honor of her grandfather, Terry Stuckey. The Civil War reenactor so loved Blakeley State Park that when he died in 2009, his daughter asked to hold memorial services for him at Blakeley Park and to scatter his ashes over the battlefield.
Young Blakeley Robbins Tuesday demonstrated the same affection for the park after which she was named as her grandfather by requesting donations for the park instead of birthday gifts. She presented the park with a $102 gift, $100 that she had collected for her birthday and an extra $2 contributed by brother Gerrit.
“I want it to be used for something special”, Blakeley said of her gift and so it will. Blakeley Park ranger T. Rose Fulford that very day was working on a large bed for plants native to the park. Blakeley's gift will go toward some purchases according to a bedding plan by Master Gardeners for the park.
“It touched my heart that a seven year old child was so selfless as to give her birthday money to the park”, said Mrs. Fulford of the contribution.
Blakeley State Park Unable to Offer
Civil War Reenactment This Spring
Blakeley State Park will be unable to hold the Civil War reenactment and living history activities this spring because of lack of state appropriations to operate the state historic park, Jo Ann Flirt, park director, announced.
Traditionally scheduled for every other year at the preserved battlefield on a weekend near the April 9, 1865 battle that was the last of the American Civil War, the 2013 event had been tentative ever since the park entered the 2012-13 fiscal year without state funding, Flirt said.
“We kept hoping for a timely miracle but none has come”, she said, adding that although Civil War reenactors donate their time and travel expenses, the park lacks the funds to cover other expenses of the event.
From time to time Blakeley Park offers other programs and living history events as in 2012 when it sponsored the first known symposium on the Mobile campaign that ended with the Blakeley battle and during the spring when reenactors camped out at the battlefield.
“We will begin working toward the 2015 observation of the ending of the Civil War in the hopes that Blakeley's state funding by that time will be better.” she said. “The state has withheld all appropriations to Blakeley for the past two years. The miracle is that we are able to keep the park open at all.”
Flirt said the park made the announcement about the 2013 event in response to inquiries from the public.
Spring Boat Schedule Set By Blakeley Park
Blakeley State Park has scheduled its spring quarter eco-tour boat trips into the Tensaw-Mobile River Delta with the first excursion aboard the Delta Explorer set for Feb. 23. That Saturday trip is a two-hour tour into the Delta.
Other public trips set are: March 9, Delta and State Docks; March 23, Delta; April 13, Delta; April 27, Delta and Docks.
All trips are aboard Blakeley Park's 50-passenger tour boat leaving from the park dock on the Tensaw River. Tours begin at 9:30 a.m. Regular delta tours are two hours long. State Docks tours through the Delta and down the Mobile River through the port of Mobile are three hours long.
Tickets for the Delta cruises are $25 to adults, $15 for children 6-12 and free to kids under 6. Docks tour tickets are $35 for adults, $17 for children 6-12.
Tickets are on a first come-first serve basis but seating can be reserved by calling 251-626-5581 and paying advance using major credit cards. All proceeds go toward operation of Blakeley State Park.
Boat trips are also available by charter. For more information on charters call 251-626-0798.
Blakeley State Park is located on State Hwy. 225 about 4.5 miles north of its intersection with U.S. 31 at Spanish Fort. It is open daily and holidays to day use, RV and tent camping, biking and horseback riding. Sites and facilities inside the park are available for group events ranging from weddings to family reunions. For more information about the park, go to www.blakeleypark.com or e-mail email@example.com.
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Blakeley Residents Spotted
Visitors to Blakeley State Park with patience can see wildlife like this young mother raccoon and two of her four babies exploring the Washington Square picnic area this week (Aug. 24) She is leading them down from one of the park's huge, old oak trees. Click here to view the photo. (Photo by Jo Ann Flirt)
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