Camp McDowell

Bat Blitz returns to the Bankhead

A big brown bat caught during the 2022 Bat Blitz. While bigger than other area cave bats, it is tiny at less than two inches long.

CAMP MCDOWELL - Last week, the bats of the Bankhead National Forest had their moment in the sun—or rather, the moonlight.

Nearly a hundred bat experts and others from at least ten states, plus Norway, converged at Camp McDowell for the 2022 Bat Blitz, an intensive survey of the bat population. Bat Blitzes are organized every year by the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network (SBDN) and a state group, in this case, the Alabama Bat Working Group (ABWG).

Free Bat Blitz educational event for the public

The Alabama Bat Working Group’s Education Committee will hold a Bat Blitz educational event for the public on Monday, August 1, 3-6 p.m., at Randall Commons in Camp McDowell. Attendees will learn more about bats and their importance to the ecosystem, have the chance to see live bats up close and be able to participate in hands-on activities. Children are especially encouraged to attend. There is no entrance fee and no need to register in advance. The public is invited to drop in at any time during the event.

Fall Family Field Trips coming to Camp McDowell


Farm life is part of Camp McDowell. Classes on harvesting food and bringing it to the table will be given on the field trips this fall.
NAUVOO - Many, if not all, local schools have no field trips planned this year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Family vacations could be at a standstill. But right in Winston County’s backyard is a spectacular place that is offering families time together.

Magnolia School at Camp McDowell is Alabama’s first

The Magnolia School at Camp McDowell: back row, from left are Jess Lingle, child care assistant; Chase; Isaac and Julie Camp, director. Front row, Ashtin; Alex; Jami; Annie Emerson, Magnolia Nature School teacher and Betsy.

NAUVOO - One of Winston County’s secluded spots is at Camp McDowell, on Clear Creek near the Walker County line. It was purchased by the Alabama Diocese in 1946 and made into the camp it is today. A multi-faceted facility brimming with stunning architecture, one of the highlights has become known as Alabama’s first nature pre-school: Magnolia Nature School at Camp McDowell.

Camp McDowell closes

NAUVOO - As of Monday, March 16, at 1:30 p.m., Camp McDowell will close due to coronavirus 2019. The camp plans to reopen Monday, April 6, as of right now. Those who have events scheduled between March 16 and April 6, should receive a phone call from camp operators.