Seven Springs EcoScape
Seven Springs EcoScape is an "EcoScape" garden developed over a spring feeding Nabors Branch, which flows by Faith Apostolic Church in Powderly and empties into Valley Creek. The park, located at 2000 Cleburn Avenue, is designed to help preserve the endangered watercress darter. It includes a meditation garden featuring native plants and flowers and winding paths lined with limestone boulders.
The darter was discovered in the stream in 2001 by Samford University biologists Mike Howell, who co-discovered the fish in 1965, and Larry Davenport. In 2005, Faith Apostolic, under the direction of its pastor, Bishop Heron Johnson, and the Freshwater Land Trust reached an agreement to permanently protect the darter and the stream. The following year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Samford University's Biology Department, and the Southern Environmental Center joined the agreement.
The ceremonial groundbreaking for the park was held January 11, 2008. The first phase, costing $45,000, included the removal of invasive plants, their replacement with native species, and the removal of a nearby vacant house. Donations of $25,000 were raised, while the other $20,000 came from a grant. The first phase opened on April 13. Horticulture students from Lawson State Community College are providing grounds maintenance, plus using it as a training ground for appropriate use of native landscape materials.
The second phase, which is not yet scheduled, is to include an education center and is expected to cost $1 million. In July 2008, the Freshwater Land Trust received a Five Star Restoration Program grant to help expand the Ecoscape. In April 2009 the church's actions to protect the species were praised by sociobiologist E. O. Wilson during a talk at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists at the BJCC.
|Watercress darter (Etheostoma nuchale)|
|Habitats||Glenn Springs · Nabors Branch · Roebuck Spring · Tapawingo Springs · Thomas Spring · Turkey Creek|
|Preserves||Seven Springs Ecoscape · Turkey Creek Nature Preserve · Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge|
|People||R. D. Caldwell (co-discoverer) · Larry Davenport · Mike Howell (co-discoverer) · Heron Johnson|
- Tran, Linh and Ingrid Pfau. (2008). "Saved: The Story of the Watercress Darter." Digital City Films.
- Hickerson, Patrick (January 12, 2008) "Community rallies to save imperiled fish." Birmingham News.
- Spencer, Thomas (April 14, 2008) "Rare fish a symbol of Christian conservation." Birmingham News
- "Southern Company and Environmental Partners Award Wetland Restoration Grants Through Five Star Program" (July 23, 2008). Southern Company press release.
- Spencer, Thomas (April 3, 2009) "Scientist E.O. Wilson praises Birmingham church's effort to save watercress darter." Birmingham News
- Seven Springs Ecoscape at bsc.edu/sec