- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Stephen Lyn Bales, editor

Monday, March 20, 2017

Eagle Scout project tackles invasive aliens!




Ijams Nature Center salutes Nathaniel Smith! His Eagle Scout Project for Boy Scout Troop 213 is to remove highly invasive aliens, namely English ivy, from 1/10 acre of land at the original Ijams homesite. The plot is located in the western portion of the nature center's property along the Serendipity Trail. 

Saturday, March 11, twenty-two scouts and assorted parents removed the bulk of alien ivy. Last Saturday, Nathaniel along with his parents Jennifer and Kerry came back to work the plot again. It's an on going project with a little more ivy to remove over the next few weeks.

This area is also prime habitat for barred owls. Nathaniel also made two nest boxes for them

Ijams' new executive director Amber Parker has declared war on the invasive plants—English ivy, privet, bush honeysuckle and kudzu—that have overtaken large portions of our 300-plus acre wildlife sanctuary. 

Once the invasive non-native plants are eradicated, native wildflowers and animals will return. Amber vows to reclaim Ijams, returning it to its natural state. And her will be done!

- Stephen Lyn Bales. Supplied photos by Kerry Smith.


Before



Thank you Kerry, Jennifer and Nathaniel Smith and all of Troop 213

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The "kids" in us all had fun at Cloud-ology 101


Our "ology" classes are for kids, young families and the young-at-heart. Last Sunday was Cloud-ology 101. We learned ten different cloud types and how they got their names, created a cloudy rain storm in a jar and on a perfectly cloudless day assumed the guise of a cloud and went outside to fly balsa airplanes.

Old School fun? You bet, and we have been doing it since the 1920s. At Ijams kids get to unplug and be kids. We even give adults license to be 8-year-olds again.

We specialize in empowering young girls (and boys), encouraging their science-loving minds. H.P. and Alice Ijams raised four daughters on the site in the 1920s - '40s long before we were a nature center. And they taught Elizabeth, Jo, Mary and Martha to love nature.


Our next ology is Froggy-ology 101 on Sunday, April 9 at 2 o'clock. And our ponds should be full of frogs, tadpoles and newts. To register call 577-4717, ext. 110.

Cumulus cloud roots on her old-school airplane
Did funnel cloud's plane do a loop-the-loop?
It's beginning to rain in my jar


Monday, March 13, 2017

Visiting AmeriCorps River Team 7 works to improve Toll Creek




Why do folks throw junk in our stream? 

Last Friday, the visiting AmeriCorps NCCC River 7 Team did a last swept of Toll Creek on the eastern boundary of our property. Completing the work started by Ben and Jack last fall, the group removed new trash and old embedded junk that still remained.

AmeriCorps does worthy projects like this all around the country. Team 7 has been with Ijams Nature Center for over a month doing special environmental restoration projects and invasive plant removal that the nature center does not have staff to accomplish. After a couple more weeks with Ijams, they move on to West Virginia.

Toll Creek was once a heavily impacted urban stream that flowed through an industrial site, now it is far more picturesque, just in time for summer camps. 


Ijams' caps off to Wade, Nolia, Julie, Gary, Trevor, Kyle and especially Renzo Quevedo and Toni Vasquez for spending considerable time digging out an old tire that was underwater and almost completely buried by sediment.



Thursday, February 23, 2017

Ijams rocked and rolled in February for homeschoolers



February was geology month at the nature center for the Ed-Ventures@Ijams home-schooled students. 

Ijams rocked! And even rolled a bit.  

We held three sessions, learning the difference between rocks and minerals, the three basic kinds of rocks and the lay of the land in the Tennessee Valley indoors, then took a long outdoor adventure hike with the students and their parents/homeroom teachers. Ijams is a wonderful place to study geology because we have such dramatic topography. We looked for evidence of the three rock formations that serve as the nature center's bedrock: shale, sandstone and limestone—sedimentary rocks all.

Dictionary: "Sedimentary rocks are types of rock that are formed by the deposition and subsequent cementation of that material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water."

Ijams has been connecting children with nature since the 1920s. Old school? Yep. And we are proud of it! 

Supplied photos by teacher/moms Hope Turner and Linda Knott.

- Stephen Lyn Bales













Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day from the folks at Ijams


Naturally from the Heart at Ijams.

Last Saturday we celebrated the holiday early. And our new naturalist/educator Christie Collins helped spread the love. She held a Valentine card making workshop using materials from Mother Nature. 

Everyone took a short hike to collect special natural items before creating handmade, one-of-a-kind greeting cards. It was open to all ages and all supplies were be provided.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Ijams bluebird box workshop creates new homes for birds



We are rapidly approaching the end of February and soon thereafter the arrival of verdant spring.

Male eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) will be claiming their territories and chortling to attract female partners. If their songs are enticing, their territories bountiful and their plumage pleasing, the hopeful males will succeed. They like to nest in open areas, large yards, fields and meadows where they hawk for insects, their principal food source.

Thanks to all who came to our Bluebird Box Workshop last Saturday and built a nest box of their very own. In all, 17 pairs of eastern bluebirds will find a cheery new knotty-pine home to raise a family or two this year.

Ijams has been getting people in touch with nature since the 1920s.

- Stephen Lyn Bales







Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Frogs, tadpoles, newts. The TN Naturalists @ Ijams found plenty




The ponds were full in early May. They overflowed with life. And our 2016 class of the TN Naturalist @ Ijams learned and searched for amphibians—frogs, toads, salamanders and newts—and they were not hard to find.

2016 was the fourth year that Ijams has been involved in this state-wide program. In addition to the 40 hours of classes, students must put in 40 hours of volunteer work at Ijams or elsewhere. After all the classes and volunteer requirements are met, the students become certified Tennessee Naturalists. 

We are currently enrolling the TN Naturalists @ Ijams class for 2017. It's open to any adult over the age of 18. For information call, Lauren at (865) 577-4717, ext. 135.

Our first 2016 meeting was in March, click: Introduction.

All photos by Rex McDaniel 






Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Reptiles? The TN Naturalists @ Ijams class found 'em



The 2016 class of the TN Naturalist @ Ijams met last May for their fourth in a series of 13 classes.

They learned about local Reptiles. Ijams own Dr. Louise Conrad hosted the class outing and several turtles and one lone water snake were found


2016 was the fourth year that Ijams has been involved in this state-wide program. In addition to the 40 hours of classes, students must put in 40 hours of volunteer work at Ijams or elsewhere. After all the classes and volunteer requirements are met, the students become certified Tennessee Naturalists. 

We are currently enrolling the TN Naturalists @ Ijams class for 2017. It's open to any adult over the age of 18. For information call, Lauren at (865) 577-4717, ext. 135.

Our first meeting in March, click: Introduction.

All photos by Rex McDaniel 






What about me? I maintain a constant body temperature. No reptile can do that!