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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ijams welcomes WBIR Livw@5@4 new reporter Emily DeVoe

We will welcome WBIR Live@5@4's Emily Stroud and new reporter Emily DeVoe to Ijams on today's program. Yes, now we have two Emily's!

At the nature center, new Emily began to learn what to be afraid of and what not to be afraid of in the natural world around us...in this case, a harmless corn snake. (Can you guess, it was the first time Emily#2 had ever held a snake not made out of rubber.)

East Tennesseans—especially kids—have been enjoying the wonders and sanctity of nature at Ijams since the summer of 1923.

Be mindful of snakes and let them go on their merry way, but you do not need to be afraid of them. The snake that Emily #2 is holding was actually bought at a local pet store.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Bloudering Hike explores little known side of Ijams

"Here we go a-bouldering, Among the leaves once green. Here we coma a-wandering, So far to be not seen." 

During this time of giving consider helping us protect the sanctuary we maintain for the animals and for our outdoor adventures like naturalist Christie Collins' hike through the quarry boulders yesterday.

H.P. and Alice Ijams declared their 20-acre homesite a sanctuary in the 1920s. Since then we have grown to over 300 acres for all to explore and get away from it all.

For information about making a donation, click: Ijams Facebook page. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ijams Homeschool Academy wraps up semester with yardbirds

It was a day of smiling faces yesterday as we wrapped up the fall semester of Ijams Homeschool Academy. This was the last of the four fall natural science classes and we will take a break of two months for the holidays.

Yesterday the learning activities were built around the topic of Yardbirds, or the birds we traditionally see around our homes visiting the bird feeders. The homeshoolers were divided into three age groups hosted by Christie, Ashlind and Stephen Lyn, each with age appropriate lessons. One group even made suet cakes for the birds—yum—while the overachieving older kids found a barred owl. Yardbird? Well anything is possible at Ijams.

Happy Holidays homeschool families!

For a look back at the other three fall 2017 classes click:

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ijams hosts Serenity Saturday to find inner peace

Find your inner peace.

Yesterday was a Serenity Saturday at Ijams. Our group met at the Miller Education Building at the Homesite. It is the location where our educational classes began at the nature center many, many years ago. And for three hours we cut ourselves off from the outside world.

After herbal tea and organic cocoa, we went on a quiet, no talking, no cell phone mindfulness walk along the Serendipity Trail.

First we walked as a group in single file, then individually. Each serenity seeker collected bits of autumn to create their own assemblage of ephemeral art, a homage to British en plein air sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. It is ephemeral in that it will only last a short time.

The meditative walk allows you to let go of your modern day concerns and find your inner child, your creative self. You regress. Then sitting on the ground arranging sticks and leaves as we all did as children feels totally natural.
And trust us, it is so liberating to be a six-year-old again, even for only a short while.

Ijams naturalists Christie and Stephen Lyn hosted the gathering and everyone left peacefully with a sachet of essential oils, leaving their artwork behind to return to nature.

Our next Sererity Saturday will be December 16.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

EdVentures@Ijams homeschoolers learn about mammals

EdVentures@Ijams homeschoolers met last Friday to learn about the furry creatures that live at the nature center, from shrews to otters.

Yes, mammals were our topic. We explored mole holes, met an opossum, found oodles of gray squirrels and one chipmunk but no foxes, beavers, coyotes or minks because they are all nocturnal and we are diurnal. We even looked at different types of skulls, albeit no lions and tigers and bears, oh my. We learned about the arrangement and type of the teeth--called dentition--can determine if the animal was a carnivore or herbivore or if it was some kind of rodent.

Ijams Homeschool Academy
is divided into three age groups and taught by Christie Collins, Ashlind Bray and Stephen Lyn.

Next month's exploration will be yard birds.

And even though the school year has started, we still have room for a few more junior explorers at a discounted price. Call Lauren: 577-4717, ext. 135.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Ijams reaches out to Gibbs with spider truisms

Spiders are so misunderstood. Last Thursday, Ijams educators did an outreach program, "The Truth about Spiders" for the kindergarten kids at Gibbs Elementary School. And believe us, their teachers had prepared them beforehand.

Eight legs. Yep. Eight eyes. Yep. Two body parts. Yep. Plus that spiders are predators that eat lots and lots and lots of insects, so they are really good to have around.

We took Rosie, our Chilean rose hair tarantula and we found a lovely garden spider, a.k.a. writing spider outside sitting in her orb web, so the young spider-ologists got to examine her closely.

Ijams has been doing outreach nature programs to local schools since the 1970s.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ijams Homeschool Academy meets for invertebrates

Yesterday, Ijams Homeschool Academy met for the second time for the 2017-18 school year.

Our topic was invertebrates, namely the arthropods, i.e. insects, spiders, centipedes, millipedes and isopodes...well, you know...roly-polies. Our field work was taught at three separate locations around the nature center with Ashlind, Christie and Stephen Lyn hosting different age groups.

Ijams have been connecting kids to nature since the summer of 1923. And it was a perfect day to think about bugs whether they had 6 legs, 8 legs or 734 legs.

Have you ever let a millipede (they are vegetarians, you know) crawl across your hand? It tickles!

For information about Ijams Homeschool Academy call Lauren at 577-4717, ext. 135. It is not too late to join in on the fun.