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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ijams Snake-ology class attracts curious naturalists, media

Ijams Snake-ologists

Ijams graduated a whole new group of snake-ologists yesterday afternoon.

Our Snake-ology workshop was great fun! After an indoor class where we learned how to identify the 12 most common snakes in our area and shared some snake-related yummy snacks, we ventured outside to look for snakes.

The mice-eating reptiles have been plentiful this season at the nature center, one even found its way into the Visitor Center. (But, naturalist tip #19: It's really hard to sneak up on a snake with 51 people.) Still yet, we managed to find one northern brown water snake in one of our ponds.

The -ology classes @ Ijams are light-hearted and informative for the young and young-at-heart. We schedule one a month on Sunday afternoons at the nature center

Correction: It was announced yesterday that in June it would be Hawk-ology, but the announcer (that would be moi) completely forgot about Turtle-ology. June is a very active month for the reptiles that carry their homes on their back. (And we thought we invented "mobile homes.")

Mark your calendar: Turtle-ology will be Sunday, June 26 at 2 p.m.   

 For the WBIR Channel 10 story about yesterday's Snake-ology class @ Ijams, click: Snake-ology!

Thank you, WBIR's Jerry Owens!

- Stephen Lyn Bales 

Young snake-ologists watch a rough green snake eat a cricket. Better than Animal Planet.

Northern brown watersnake

The great snake hunt begins!


Monday, May 16, 2016

Ijams Hiking Club meets to take on AC/DC

The Ijams Hiking Club met again yesterday to "Explore the Urban Wilderness!"

Volunteer naturalist Amy Oakey and Eric Johnson served as the hike's leaders; they picked the trail. And did they pick a doozie. The swirly, curvy AC/DC Trail, east of Ijams, which I am told was named by the bikers after the line from the quintessential rock group's 1979 hit, "Highway to...Hades." (Ijams is a family-oriented place, I can't say "Hell.")  AC/DC is a biker's roller coaster.

In all, there are now over 40 miles of trails built by the Appalachian Mountain Biking Club, and the Ijams Hiking Club plans to walk them all, yesterday we tallied 4.4 miles, on what my grandmother Pearl would have called a "drunkard's path." We also did a portion of Lost Chromosome and Chain Ring trails.

Our next hike will be on Sunday, June 19 at 2 p.m. And I'm sure Amy and Eric will find us a good one!

Thank you to all.

- Stephen Lyn Bales  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Ijams Hiking Club explores the Urban Wilderness

Could the day have been more perfect for a five mile hike? 

I think not. A perfect day for the Ijams Hiking Club to meet. 

Ijams thanks volunteers Amy Oakey and Lisa Labine, both graduates of the TN Naturalist @ Ijams program, for leading the "Explore the Urban Wilderness" hike. 

We went to Forks of the River WMA and back, stopping to investigate all things great and small.

- Stephen Lyn Bales 

The inventor of the mobile home.

Kids grow up happier if they grow up outside, where they have space for their minds to roam.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

We practiced our nesting skills at Yardbird-ology

Thank you Sue and Judah for the wonderful strawberry-bird nests. Yum!

Last week's Ijams Yardbird-ology 101 class was great fun. We learned about the 15 most common year-round songbirds found near everyone's homes.

We also shared yardbird-themed snacks and went outside to build bird nests. And it is harder than it looks, and birds use only their feet and mouths. 

It was a perfect day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

WBIR's Jim Matheny wins awards for Ijams jellyfish story

WBIR's Jim Matheny

Congratulations to our friends at WBIR and television journalist Jim Matheny for winning several 2016 Edward R. Murrow Awards for writing, videography and overall excellence.

Matheny's work included a story on freshwater jellyfish reported from Ijams at Mead's Quarry Lake last August.

Here's a look back, click: Jellyfish

And Matheny's creative use of video, click: Jellyfish

Pat yourselves on the back!

The Matheny Rig: GoPro camera rigged to float underwater and follow the canoe.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Family Nature Club @ Ijams featured in News-Sentinel

Hey. What ya looking at? 

Oh, yeah! Our new Family Nature Club @ Ijams made yesterday's Knoxville News-Sentinel.  Here is the online version, click: Into the woods

The nature club meets again in May to talk about plants with Peg.

Thank you, Susan Alexander and Ali James with the News-Sentinel!

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Monday, April 11, 2016

Family Nature Club @ Ijams meets for first time

Thanks to all who attended yesterday's first meeting of the Family Nature Club @ Ijams. Our topic of the day was birds.

And thanks to the junior naturalists (B.K.U.), the Best Kids in the Universe, for making the day so memorable. You know who you are.

-Stephen Lyn Bales

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Junior Girl Scouts @ Ijams host photography workshop

Recently, the Junior Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians completed a Digital Photography workshop at Ijams.

They learned some dos and don'ts of taking photos and available apps to edit their pictures.

Needless to say, one of the tricks they learned is called "framing," i.e. putting your visual point of interest inside a frame within the overall composition. (As in the photo above.)

a list of upcoming Girl Scout events click: GS Events

Friday, April 1, 2016

Dogwood Arts: Missy Kane and her group hike at Ijams

Ijams welcomes Missy Kane and her hiking group here this perfect morning for an exploration of two of the most popular trails at the nature center. 

Ijams is one of the Dogwood Arts Trails & Gardens locations.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Froggy-ology 101 @ Ijams found plenty of fun treats

Ijams' Froggy-ology 101 class last Sunday was great fun, part wet, part dry, like any good amphibian workshop should be.

It was a cool day so the frogs were not calling. But we found frog eggs, tadpoles and more newts than you could shake a dip net at. And one of the sharp-eyed young frog-ologist found a single American toad, away from the water, doing what toads do in March, just trundling along.

Plus we had a lot of frog-themed snacks!

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Frog eggs

American toad

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

TN Naturalist @ Ijams class of 2016 met for first time

The 2016 class of the TN Naturalist @ Ijams met last Saturday for their first of a series of classes. 

This year there are 22 people taking the course which wraps up in November and covers a wide range of topics: trees, wildflowers, birds, amphibians, mammals, reptiles, geology, fungi and even one late night class in September called the "Nocturnal Naturalist."  

This is the fourth year that Ijams is 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 requirements are met, the students will become certified Tennessee Naturalists. 

Senior naturalist Peg Beute conducted the first class and afterwards the group went into the woods to look for early signs of spring. 

Welcome class of 2016!

- Photos by Jill Sublett

We heart nature.