Magical Meetings at The 2023 Moss Rock Festival

by | Nov 9, 2023

Birmingham is a beautiful city, but many pollution issues still exist regarding our land, air, and water and they need to be addressed. GASP works hard to inform the public about the health impacts on the environment, and we work to inspire more people to get involved. That’s why we want to share this beautiful story with you.

Each fall The Moss Rock Preserve hosts their annual Moss Rock Festival, a non-profit, “eco-creative” weekend long event exploring nature, Smart Living, Art + Design. This year marked the 18th year of the festival, with this years theme being “The Year of Alabama Birding.The festival welcomes visitors and families to embrace the beauty in nature while also learning from it. There is an incredible array of art and crafts on display each year as vendors are invited to set up shops, exhibits, and displays at each tent. Each tent offered an array of  handcrafted jewelry and pottery to stunning paintings and sculptures, there was something for every art enthusiast.

Monty a Mississippi Kite – Alabama Wildlife Center

The Moss Rock Festival also provided plenty of entertainment. Live music, dance performances, and interactive activities for all ages adding to the festive atmosphere. There was never a dull moment, and it was great to see the community come together to celebrate art and nature. GASP,’s Grassroots Organizer Barbara Jackson and Engagement Specialist, Mychala Dawson setup and tended GASP’s table at the festival. They were alongside Dawson’s mother, Carla, and fellow Volunteers, Julianne and Kristina. The group was able to speak to many visitors from all backgrounds including young environmental enthusiasts.

“Several kids approached the table this past weekend at the Moss Rock Festival for free items like candy, not Leo,” remarked Dawson.

Leo, a 6th grader from Birmingham, saw the language on our tablecloth about clean air and approached the booth to learn more about GASP and how he could get involved in reducing air pollution.

“We shared with him our stories about helping the communities we serve by teaching the public about air quality,” said Jackson.

Leo, accompanied by his mother, marveled at our work and eagerly told GASP about his own initiative in developing a recycling program at his school. This meeting exemplified why visibility and outward-facing community engagement are essential to our advocacy work.

“GASP staff strive to attend as many community-centered events as possible with the primary strategy to inspire the next generation of change-makers,” said Dawson.

Chances like meeting Leo (in addition to our policy development and advocacy!) is why the work is so important. These experiences give us a chance to recruit and educate community advocates needed during local disaster situations like the Moody Landfill Fire. Environmental disasters and negligence can impact people of all demographics, especially the most vulnerable, such as underserved communities, older people, and children like Leo.

Overall, the Moss Rock Festival was a fantastic experience that combined art, nature, and sustainability in a fun and engaging way. GASP staff and Volunteers left the festival feeling inspired and with a deeper appreciation for the natural world and the importance of supporting local artists and sustainable practices. We can’t wait to attend again next year!

About Madison Naves
Madison Naves, Storyteller, is a graduate of The University of Alabama where she majored in Communications with a concentration in News Media. While attending UA, Madison served as a writer for the university’s student-run newspaper, The Crimson White. She enjoys meeting new people, traveling, and creative storytelling. Madison's interest in journalism comes from her desire to showcase unheard stories from people that are meaningful. Email Madison
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