Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Top 10 of 2010

How original, right? A countdown of the year's top moments! Don't run away though, there's some good stuff in here, some that you may not know about. Things that make a real impact on real people in Birmingham and beyond! So without further adieu, here are my top 10 moments in 2010...

10) Another Record-Breaking Fall Plant Sale

After a two-day trial run in 2009 (which set the sales record for the event), we decided to stick with the new Saturday/Sunday schedule and boy did it pay off! This past Fall Plant Sale was the biggest yet with over 3,700 shoppers helping us raise more than $36,000. And props to all of the volunteers who helped us with setup, growing, selling, cashiering, loading and any other task you can imagine!

9) John Manion Named Curator of the Kaul Wildflower Garden

Ok, so when we hired John as our new curator of the Kaul Wildflower Garden earlier this year, we had no clue what we were in store for! John has turned out to be a fantastic asset for The Gardens! He actively recruits new volunteers for his workdays, he writes his own newsletter, Botanically Speaking, on natives, and he's even a big help to the development team developing relationships with donors.

8) Bridge of Accomplishment Restored

Our Japanese Gardens got a bit of a makeover in the spring with the painting and restoration of the Bridge of Accomplishment, better known as the "zig zag bridge," over Long Life Lake. If you haven't seen it, I suggest taking a stroll in mid- to late-March or anytime in the spring to see the cherry blossoms!

7) Garden Dirt Wins Platinum Creative Award, Again

Birmingham Botanical Gardens once again represented Alabama quite well in AMCP's (Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals) Hermes Creative Awards. We brought home Platinum in the newsletter category for Garden Dirt and gold in the e-newsletter category for Dirt E-lert. Birmingham Botanical Gardens was the only botanical garden or arboretum to win a Platinum Hermes Creative Award; The University of Alabama was the only other Alabama institution to win a platinum award in 2010.

6) Junior Board Launched

The inaugural Junior Board of Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens met on February 23 at Jackson's Bar & Bistro in Homewood. At this first meeting the Junior Board named officers (Miller Allen, president; Ashley Gassner, vice-president; and Dionne Burks, secretary) and began planning for their future. So far this year the group has hosted a Family & Friends Mixer at the home of Cathy Adams on top of Red Mountain and is now planning for a very exciting event in the Japanese Gardens. (Shh, that's all I can tell you for now...I've already said too much!)

5) Volunteers of the Year Honored

The Friends hosts the annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon every December to pay tribute to the hundreds of volunteers who give their time and talent to make us successful each and every year. During the luncheon we also dole out the Volunteer of the Year awards; we added a fifth award to the slate this year: the A. Brand Walton Unsung Hero award for outstanding service behind the scenes. The 2010 Volunteers of the Year are Fox 6 (Community Partner); Carol Hinshaw (Educator); Dr. Ed Fineberg (Plantsperson); Plant Sale Treasurers Cathy Canant, Terri DiMuro, Jeanon Massien, and the late Teresa Neal (A. Brand Walton Unsung Hero); and Dr. John A. Floyd (Ida C. Burns Volunteer of the Year).

4) Antiques at The Gardens Turns Five

This past October we celebrated the fifth anniversary of Antiques at The Gardens by rolling out the red carpet at the Sterne Agee First Look Party. Lecturers Miles Redd and DeJuan Stroud provided opportunities to learn and laugh and dozens of dealers provided hordes of goodies for homeowners, decorators and architects. All told the event raised more than $290,000 to support educational programs at The Gardens, bringing the five year total to over $1.6 million.

3) Spring Plant Sale Smashes Attendance Record

More than 7,400 folks came out to Colonial Brookwood Village for the Spring Plant Sale, making it the most attended plant sale in the history of The Gardens. The 2010 Spring Plant Sale did not disappoint in fundraising either, raising over $262,000!

2) New Master Plan Unveiled to Public

On March 25, 2010, Executive Director Fred Spicer and Scott Scarfone of Oasis Design Group revealed The Gardens' new Master Plan. The new vision for Birmingham Botanical Gardens includes new gardens (like a Persian-themed garden), creation of event and education spaces (such as completion of the Arrington Plant Adventure Zone), and long-term fixes to facility issues (accessibility, stormwater drainage and parking). Stay tuned for projects as they get underway!

And now, the moment you've been waiting for...#1!

1) YOU!

Because of you, our readers, Facebook fans, donors, members, volunteers, visitors and other supporters, we have not laid off a single person or cut a single program! 2010 wasn't the year that we smashed all fundraising records, but we succeeded in so many big ways (see above!) during an otherwise very difficult year, and it was because of you. We gave free, science-based field trips to 10,000 schoolchildren again, and provided educational opportunities to tens of thousands of adults and children. We may not be fending off takeovers by Google like some companies, but we feel good about what we've accomplished over the past 12 months, and we could not have done it without each and every one of you. Thank you, and happy new year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Now, the Featured Presentation...

As promised in our post earlier this week (Volunteers: Our Shining Stars), here is your follow-up story with our Volunteer of the Year award winners and pictures! Again, let's give a round of applause to our stars for making all of our work possible! We sincerely appreciate everything you do to make The Gardens stand out. With your help we educate nearly 40,000 people every year, including 10,000 schoolchildren. We are Alabama's most visited free attraction with more than 350,000 visitors each year. We make a great team! Let's keep up the good work in 2011!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Gardening

Ok, so it's the middle of December and it was all of one degree outside when you woke up today. (Or at least that's what it felt like to me!) Many folks just assume now's the time to stay out of the garden and let nature do its thing over the winter. Nay! To quote gardener and writer Marie Hutson, "The gardening season officially begins on January 1st, and ends on December 31." I think you get my drift.

Here are some pointers from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) here at The Gardens. Of course, if you have a specific question you can always visit their website, call the Plant Hotline at 1-800-644-4458, or just stop by and see if somebody here can help you! So without further adieu...
If you haven't started growing and planting your lettuces,
now is a good time to start. Just don't do it when it's 1°!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Volunteers: Our Shining Stars

There are so many contributors that make Birmingham Botanical Gardens a success. And we like to thank those individuals, community partners, and businesses as often as we can. The bottom line is, however, that even if we had buckets of money -- which we don't -- we wouldn't be able to do a fraction of what we do without our loyal and savvy army of volunteers. We thought we'd have a little fun with the theme this year: Hollywood. We're literally rolling out the red carpet for our shining stars.

This Thursday, December 16, we pay homage to these many wonderful people who give back to their community here at The Gardens. The annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon is a tradition started years ago, and is still going strong today. You would think that at an event honoring our volunteers, they would want to take the day off and kick back. But true to the volunteer spirit, these givers of time and talent insist on doing a potluck, perhaps to show off their culinary prowess. The reality is it's just in their nature to give, and if that means making a mean green bean casserole to honor their fellow volunteers, well, by golly, that's what they're gonna do!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Education: An Investment in the Future

Today's world is a fast-paced and ever-changing one in which information flies at us from a myriad of media at all hours of the day. Balance, serenity and know-how are musts to survive and succeed in this atmosphere. The old adage "knowledge is power" is even more relevant now than it has ever been. For this reason, and many others, we're very proud of the work we do here at The Gardens. Education is our mission, but it's more than just something we put on a website or a plaque, it's a lifestyle for us. You can help us continue this tradition in several ways such as making a donation, giving a gift membership, or volunteering your time and talent.

Consider that Discovery Field Trips help impart knowledge on schoolchildren from kindergarten through 6th grades, led by our education team's loyal volunteer docents. These fun adventures aren't just an escape from the schoolhouse. Discovery Field Trips are based on National Science Education Standards and Alabama Course of Study, and truly bring the classroom to life. For example, one one of the six field trip options, children learn about Dr. George Washington Carver's life and contributions to science and agriculture. The nitrogen cycle is no longer something in a text book, but rather is animated when kids harvest peanuts, sweet potatoes and cotton. More than 10,000 schoolchildren get a head start on critical science education, laying the foundation for future generations of scientists, activists, botanists, doctors and inventors.

Discovery Field Trips is just the tip of the educational iceberg here at The Gardens. Don't forget about Horticultural Therapy, which helps mentally, physically or emotionally disadvantaged clients from age four to 98 learn crucial life skills, using plants and gardening as a therapeutic and instructional tool. Our classes offer opportunities to learn just everything from botanical history to floral design and cooking to crafts. HollyDay Magic teaches children ways to make gifts, ornaments and decorations using natural materials.

The list goes on and on with other ways we seek to give the most valuable gift there is, the gift of knowledge, to children and adults across the region. And for those already in the know, we strive to inspire them to give back by volunteering as a field trip docent, or a horticultural therapy aid, or a Library assistant, or a class instructor or in any way they can.

This holiday season, we'd like to share our gratitude to all those who make it possible for us to "walk the walk" and not just "talk the talk." Thank you for investing in the future of Birmingham by helping us bring educational experiences to life. We will all be rewarded as a new generation of knowledgeable leaders use their new-found power to make and impact on our community and our environment for years to come.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finally, Your Most Pressing Questions Answered

At Birmingham Botanical Gardens, there is always something going on. Whether it's a fundraising event, like this week's Cocktails in The Gardens and Fall Plant Sale, or a Discovery Field Trip or a class, this place is always abuzz with activity. Having said that, it isn't very often we get to delve into botany and etymology at the same time. John Manion, curator of the Kaul Wildflower Garden, wants to change that. He's teaching a class titled "Come Again...What Was That?" on Saturday, October 23 here at The Gardens. Here's a tongue-in-cheek teaser for what should be a fun and enlightening day.

Metasequoia glyptostroboides,
AKA the Dawn Redwood
Do you wake in a cold sweat at night flummoxed by what the real meaning of Metasequoia glyptostroboides(1) is? Do you get indigestion wondering how your neighbors will react when you tell them you have planted Ceratostigma plumbaginoides(2) in your garden? And just how are you going to break it to your children that you have just purchased a Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis(3)?

Learn the solution to these quandaries and others by attending Come Again...What Was That? The mantra for this class will be “I will fear no botanical name!” You will learn how to sound smarter than you are by pronouncing multisyllabic botanical names, and how, when you don’t know a plant’s name, you can make one up with a bunch of gobbledygook and sound like you know what you are talking about! Register Online>>

Don't forget about our other Adult & Family Classes. We have four classes next week alone, including John's:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feast Your Eyes On This

When it comes to season finales, you're probably accustomed to TV programs pulling out all the stops with cliffhangers, inconceivable drama and unseemly revelations. Well, we're having a season finale of our own next week, and you will be left wanting more from Bonus Round, behold fabulous fall décor and taste absurdly delicious foods. That's right, the 2010 season of Cocktails in The Gardens will end on Thursday, October 14, finishing off yet another exciting successful series of fun, food and music.

Bonus Round is one of Birmingham's
most popular local music acts.
The evening, sponsored by Ford Fiesta Little Big Tour, has a most fitting theme: "Autumn Harvest Feastival." With the recent cooler temps and the gradual transition to beautiful fall colors, it only seems appropriate that we celebrate the changing seasons. (And just two days before the Fall Plant Sale as well!) Bonus Round, known for their array of musical influences, will delight us with a diverse set list with a little something for everyone: from southern rock to hip-hop to pop classics. They'll surprise you with their off-beat set lists, jazzy interpretations and engaging presence.

Occasions by Wynfrey has catered each
Cocktails in The Gardens this year.
In September, they provided us with
a slew of comfort foods.
On to the tasting portion of the night! The signature cocktail will be Black Cherry Rum Punch. I don't know what that is, but I know it sounds delightfully desirable for the occasion. And speaking of occasions, in addition to an intriguing signature drink, Occasions by Wynfrey has put together a stellar menu--yet again! Hors d'oeuvres will include Sweet Potato Fries with Cinnamon Sugar, Fall Apple Slaw, Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Skewers, Cranberry Chicken and Arugula Pinwheels, Miniature Braised Short Rib Pot Pie and Black Pepper Crustini with Herb Cheese. They will also be serving up Warm Apple Cider for those looking for something non-alcoholic or simply trying to get in the fall spirit.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Than A Pretty Face

Whenever you visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens, what’s the first thing you notice? More than likely your answer has something to do with “the natural beauty.”  And there is nothing wrong with noticing the loveliness of the flowers, trees, landscapes, and so forth. It’s truly breath-taking and a wonder to behold. But there’s more to The Gardens than just our pretty face. After all, it is our mission, our reason for being, to educate the public about plants, gardens and the environment.

The Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens work hard, year-round, to raise money—much of it through events such as Antiques at The Gardens—to fund free, curriculum-based Discovery Field Trips to Birmingham-area schoolchildren. Last school year, we served a record 7,456 schoolchildren from Birmingham and Bessemer City Schools, nearly a 13% increase over the 2008-2009 year; a total of nearly 10,000 kids were able to take advantage of these science-based garden adventures and 97% did so absolutely free, including transportation expenses. By bringing the classroom to life, we’re laying the educational foundation for future engineers, botanists, doctors, chefs, chemists, innovators and so on.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rolling Out The Red Carpet

A special thanks to our 2010 Antiques at The Gardens Committee. Front Row (L to R): Amanda Pigue, Kathleen Doss, Wendy Barze, Mary Margaret Gullage, Elizabeth Jernigan, Kittie Buchanan, Kate Phillips. Back Row (L to R): Jenny Reed, Cameron Crowe, Sheryl Kimmerling, Tracey Anderson, Diana Slaughter (honorary chair), Susan Elliott (co-chair), Clarissa Harms (co-chair), Sally Lineberry, Mary Margaret Hendry, Anne Burke, Joy Grenier and Elizabeth Broughton. Not pictured are: Cathy Adams, Amy Ager, Carol Alexander, Nancy Bromberg, Maggie Brooke, Barbara Burton, Cyndy Cantley, Molly Clark, Mitzi Davis, Ashelynn Falkenburg, Faith Gardener, Leah Hazzard, Kelli Jetmundsen, Joy Kloess, Sue Ellen Lucas, Sharon Lumpkin, Kim McBride, Melanie McCraney, Tricia Noble & Kim Rogers.

2009 Antiques at The Gardens chairs
Tricia Noble, Carol Poyner and Mitzi
Davis show off their style at last
year's Sterne Agee First Look Party
This fall, Antiques at The Gardens celebrates its fifth year at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on October 1-3. The annual show is not only the premier event of its kind in the Birmingham area, but it is also the largest single fundraiser for The Gardens. We are literally rolling out the red carpet for Sterne Agee's First Look Party on September 30, an exclusive black tie soiree featuring hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, as well as the first peek at the goods from dozens of dealers from across the United States. The party is one of the highlights of the fall social calendar in Birmingham, from the fashions worn by guests to the decorations and floral arrangements by Troy Rhone and Leah Hazzard.

Continental and American furniture, antique silver, jewelry, paintings, lighting, china, oriental rugs and more will fill the Garden Center for the weekend long event, which opens to the public at 10 a.m. on Friday, October 1. Prior to opening the doors, however, there is a tailor-made event for interior designers, architects and decorators. The flower Designer Preview is a special, invitation-only reception from 9-10 a.m. that will include refreshments and a continental breakfast for patrons. Guests can bring up to two clients with them to be among the first to shop before the general public.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Down Home Delights, Garden Style

Cocktails in The Gardens got off to a great start on August 12 with nearly 500 guests mixing & mingling in the Hill Garden. Décor by Kirsti provided green designs, complementing the green-themed finger foods, green apple martinis and even the band, FisherGreen. We also unveiled our new & improved Cocktails in The Gardens t-shirts (see below), which are on sale in our offices and at each event for just $15. Aside from the absurd heat we've all felt this summer, the night was an absolute delight.

Speaking of delights, we're embracing our Southern roots with Hunter Lawley performing at the Down-Home-Delights-themed Cocktails in The Gardens on September 9. Kirsti is going all out again, this time with whiskey barrels, mason jars, sunflowers, roses, willow branches and burlap overlays. The cozy-chic style will be a perfect match for the "down-home" fare from Occasions by Wynfrey, which will include mini pulled pork sandwiches, Kobe beef sliders, macaroni & cheese tarts, herb marinated chicken & tortellini, mini gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, grit cake and olive and assorted fruit pie shooters! The cocktail du jour will be Spiked Lemonade, with wines and beers also available at the bar. And if you're not a drinker, don't fret, Southern Sweet Tea will be the featured bottomless beverage ($10 gets you all you can drink in a souvenir cup).

Monday, August 23, 2010

ACES Tomato Workshop 2010

We've got a cool class here at The Gardens tomorrow from 9 a.m. til noon (sign-in starts at 8:30), brought to you by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, better known as ACES. The best part? It's only $5!
Lycopersicum esculentum cv., Bruno Vegetable Garden

Topics will include:
  • Predominant diseases seen in the Plant Pathology Lab
  • Top 10 insect pests this year (and how to manage them if they reappear)
  • 2010 environmental issues such as drought and heat. 

The class will finish off with a tour of the Bruno Vegetable Garden, led by Gardens staff who will share their tips for tomato growing in central Alabama!

Seating is limited, so you may want to register early! Contact Sallie Lee at 205.879.6964 (ext 11) or

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Plants Get Stressed Out Too

What's this? Fall in early August? Have you noticed an abundance of leaves on the ground or fall colors up in the trees in your yard, favorite park, or perhaps at your local walking trail? What's up with that?

Even though Alabama's heavy, humid summers are far from the crisp, cool air associated with autumn, signs of autumn abound lately. Is it suddenly en vogue in 2010 for trees and shrubs to ready themselves earlier for the new fall line, or is this change indicative of something more? Foliage taking on the hues of autumn, drooping and even falling off, are indeed reactions to heat and drought stress, as evidenced by this American beech (Fagus americana) in our Kaul Wildflower Garden.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Keep Cool, Don't Be A Fool

In lieu of doing another Plant of the Day entry, today seems like a perfect opportunity to highlight some safety tips and give some gardening advice for the month of August.

Safety Tips for Summer Gardening

1) First of all, the main thing to remember in the heat of a Hot Southern Summer is that it's all about water - for both you and your plants. Make sure you hydrate if you're working outdoors. Don't make the mistake of waiting until you're suddenly thirsty to take a sip of water; instead, know that you must stay hydrated and drink periodically while gardening. It may be tempting to grab a beer or a Lynchburg Lemonade, but alcohol is one of the worst things you can drink on a hot summer day.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Plant of the Day: Lilium michauxii

Lilium michauxii, the Carolina lily, is named for the French Botanist Andre Michaux, who studied plants in the southeastern US. Its beauty among dry woods is rare, and one of the traits that make this such as special plant in our collections. The state wildflower of North Carolina, this lovely creature is native to the coastal plains as far north as Virginia and south to Florida, reaching as far west as Louisiana.

The filaments with brown anthers protrude from reddish to yellow-orange reflexed petals spotted with brown specs. The flowers bloom in July and August, but sometimes all the way through October. These photos were taken today in the Kaul Wildflower Garden here at The Gardens. If you want to see for yourself, grab your camera, a bottle of water, and hike up to the Kaul Wildflower Garden (we'll be happy to show you the way if you need help)!

-Katie King, Summer Intern


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Plant of the Day: Platycodon grandiflorus

This neat-looking guy can be found at The Gardens in the Ireland Iris Garden. Platycodon grandiflorus, balloon flower, is from Japan and China. It gets its name because the unopened buds look like inflated balloons, clearly. They gently open wide in blue, but are also found in white and pink forms; great for kids, but they will want to to pop them and are always bummed they don't make any noise! They are excellent in the heat of the South with some afternoon shade and long-lived here, but a bit on the floppy side. Shorter cultivars do exist, but this isn't one of them.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Plant of the Day: Phlox paniculata

An unknown Phlox paniculata, but very likely the cultivar 'Common Purple' introduced by Goodness Grows Nursery in GA.  Probably won't find that name in any catalogs, but it is available at local nurseries because it flowers its head off here in the Ireland Iris Garden and is heat- and mildew-resistant – which cannot be said about most other selections of this plant, of which there are many. Called tall phlox, or garden phlox, this selection blooms for almost two months in mid-summer. The species has broad range, north to New York and west to Mississippi, and has been recorded as native in AL (two counties).

-Fred Spicer, Executive Director

Friday, July 23, 2010

Plant of the Day: Ricinis communis

Seedlings of a bronze-red Ricinis communis, or castor bean. It's not a true bean, but it is a sometimes re-seeding annual relative of poinsettia and other Euphorbia. And yes, it is the source of castor oil once forced on youngsters to treat various maladies (ask your grandmother!) and still used in paints and varnishes.

Oil comes from the bean-like seeds, but the seed coat contains ricin, a poisonous aklaloid, and the leaves cause contact dermatits in sensitive individuals: this plant is one bad dude! It's harmless if you don't touch don't touch it and definitely don't eat it! For heaven's sake, don't eat any plant at The Gardens! The harmful ones aren't labeled, so as not to scare the public off!

-Fred Spicer, Executive Director

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Plant of the Day: Hibiscus coccineus

Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator, John Manion, found this
Hibiscus coccineus in the Bog Garden here at The Gardens.
As you can see, it's flower is quite large! More pictures below!

Hibiscus coccineus, is called swamp hibiscus, scarlet rosemallow, scarlet hibiscus, or Texas star; native to extreme southern US, including a few counties in AL. Must have wet soil and sun for good flowering like in this location in the Bog Garden at BBG; in my garden I have to mark its location because it is so late emerging (28 Apr this year).

Allan Armitage (Herbaceous Perennial Plants) writes: "The leaves are palmately lobed and look like those of Japanese maple or marijuana, whichever you happen to be most familiar with." Really an eyepopper when 5' tall and in flower, almost a see-through plant when not.

-Fred Spicer, Executive Director

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Plant of the Day: Strobilanthes dyerianus

Strobilanthes dyerianus, is Persian shield, or Bermuda conehead, and is from Burma (Myanmar): go figure!  The genus name means cone-flower, hence the second part of the second name. A purely tropical shrub but a knockout foliage annual or tender perennial (roots might overwinter here, might not) with leaves that look like purple foil etched with green variegations. Best with morning sun and afternoon shade and plenty of moisture and fertilizer.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Keeping Cool Among the Water Lilies

by Katherine King, Intern

Katie was recently chosen from eight finalists as our 2010 intern, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Shades Valley. From Bristol, Tennessee, Katie is a recent graduate of Samford University with a B.S. in biology--she has even studied botany in Belize (are you as jealous as we are?)! The internship gives a rising senior or recent college graduate hands-on experience with greenhouse production, planting, grounds maintenance, arboriculture, pest management, curatorial aspects of plant collections and garden display/design.

The contentment I find in watching the dragonflies zip from one water lily blossom to another in the Kayser Water Lily Pool of the Hill Garden at  Birmingham Botanical Gardens can almost make me forget about the sweltering heat I’m baking in, and you can bet I’ve thought about dipping my toes in the foot-deep pond a time or two. 

Water lilies are in the family, Nymphaeaceae, distributed worldwide, consisting of about seventy species in eight genera. In the Kayser Pool, all species are of the genus Nymphaea. Specifically, the pool contains the following cultivars (a cultivar is a plant variety selected for certain characteristics, such as form and flower color): ‘Pink capensis,’ ‘Director George T. Moore’ (pictured above), ‘Antares,’ ‘Green smoke,’ and ‘Albert Greenburg.’

Monday, June 21, 2010

Exploring New Horizons

The Horizons School, a unique program for young adults with learning disabilities, recently blessed Birmingham Botanical Gardens with a summer intern. The school, now an autonomous 501(c)3, was started in 1991 by the UAB School of Education and has since helped a number of young adults (18-26) learn life lessons ranging from money management  to social skills to cooking to career training. They attend classes and seminars, take on work studies and attend socials with fellow students. After two years, these young men and women have gained invaluable lessons on independent living.

Brett Nichols has had a circuitous journey to Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Originally from Birmingham, Brett’s family moved to Alabama’s coast several years ago, where they still reside today. They spent a few years in Colorado, in between, as Brett is a lifelong lover of mountains and skiing. Brett returned to Birmingham to pursue the two-year program at the Horizons School; his parents visit him whenever they can get away from running Orange Beach’s popular Live Bait Restaurant.