The Seven Springs EcoScape provides a calm, reflective place for visitors and a refuge for an endangered fish – the Watercress Darter (Etheostoma nuchale). The EcoScape walkways and meditation garden are located in Powderly on the campus of the Faith Apostolic Church. The Powderly neighborhood of Birmingham has a deep history and the springs in this area were once a stop for horse drawn carriages on their way into Birmingham. The springs produce a creek called Nabors Branch which empties into Valley Creek. The Watercress Darter found in the Seven Springs is known to exist only in central Alabama in Roebuck Springs, Pinson, Bessemer, and now Seven Springs. This population of Watercress Darter was discovered by Samford University biologists Drs. Mike Howell and Larry Davenport. This discovery led to an agreement in 2005 between the church and the Freshwater Land Trust to ensure the permanent protection of the Watercress Darter and its habitat. The following year, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Samford University’s biology department, and the Southern Environmental Center joined the partnership. Faith Apostolic Church hopes to eventually extend the EcoScape along the spring out to 24th Street Southwest, a street that borders Red Mountain Park.
The EcoScape designed by the Southern Environmental Center serves as an outdoor classroom and meditation site. The garden’s winding pathways, bounded by limestone boulders, wind through beds planted with native plants and flowers. The limestone boulders and gravel paths buffer the spring from parked cars and also control runoff from the surrounding paved areas. Gravel and native plantings act as a natural filtration system trapping pollutants yet allowing drainage to occur. The brick walkway and viewing platform is bordered with orchard trees and several large canopy trees.
Art: A mosaic of a watercress darter adorns the area under the main archway onto the EcoScape’s paths. The lintel of that arch also has a representation of a watercress darter centered on it. Metal Archway Arnie Rutkis, watercress darter mosaic Gabriella Pomplova.
Funding: NFWF Five Star Restoration Challenge Grant and Legacy, Inc.
Red Rock Ridge and Valley Trail Connection: Jones Valley Corridor, Red Mountain Greenway
2001 Cleburn Ave SW
Birmingham, AL 35211
• What To Do •
The tranquil settings are perfect for meditation to enjoy the experience of the native plants in bloom. Parking on-site is available except Sunday mornings.
• Seasonal Highlights •
The tranquil settings are perfect for meditation with spring being the best time of year to enjoy the experience of the native plants in bloom. The orchard trees produce fruit in the fall.
Headwaters Valley Creek