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

Paddlers on Mead's Lake

Paddlers on Mead's Lake
Outdoor Adventure Campers! on Mead's Lake. Photo S.L.B.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nature Day Campers discover the 'Secret World of Ijams'



Summer camp went by so fast we didn't always have time to post. So here's a look back at week 4 of Nature Day Camp: The Secret World of Ijams geared for ages 8-9 (entering grades 2-3).


Campers went where no one has gone before! Off the trails, into the woods and under the ground to find the parts of Ijams regular visitors don’t get to see. They found out some of the hidden mysteries of the park.

Senior naturalist Peg Beute was Master of Ceremonies for the week and she knows all the secrets of Ijams.

We caught up with them on the day they explored the Plaza Pond and learned the difference between native pond plants and invasive plants like parrot feather. 

- Photos and text by Jennifer Roder. 






Volunteer Anthony, father of Paul James, got into the act. 



Nature Day Camp staff

Monday, August 25, 2014

'Pigeon' author Joel Greenberg speaks at Hummingbird Festival


Author Joel Greenberg at the Pigeon Forge entrance to the national park. Photo by Paul James. 

Ijams was fortunate to have naturalist and author Joel Greenberg speak at last Saturday's fourth annual The Wonder of Hummingbird Festival held at the Nature Center.

The event is a fundraiser for both Ijams and the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society. An estimated 1400-plus attended the day-long event.

Greenberg spoke about the now extinct passenger pigeon, the subject of his most recent book A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction published this year by Bloomsbury.



Martha Ijams with passenger pigeon
specimen now at Sugarlands
Yesterday, Greenberg and Ijams' Executive Director Paul James both spoke at the Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Their joint talk was billed as The Echoes of their Wings: The Life and Legacy of the Passenger Pigeon. Greenberg told the story of what was once the most abundant bird in North America. Paul told the story of the life and work of H.P. Ijams, who donated the mounted passenger pigeon specimen now on display in the Sugarlands museum.

On the way, the two "pigeon" guys drove through Pigeon Forge, the largest city in the country named in honor of the now lost species. 

Thank you, Joel for visiting East Tennessee!

- Stephen Lyn Bales  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Montgomery Village kids enjoy five days of camp: Week 7

Ready for a hike


Every week of Outdoor Adventure Camp had a similar schedule. Each new group did roughly the same activities as the group the week before. 

Week seven most of the kids were from the Montgomery Village Boys & Girls Club. 

Mondays were filled with team building, introductions and a scavenger hunt, the rest of the week there were many activities including how to set up a tent quickly and pack a backpack for a long hike. There were always many trips to the lake and creek, especially during the heat of the afternoon. Fridays always ended with an ice cream and watermelon victory social.

Outdoor Adventure Camp is a confidence builder. It's a new program for Ijams and it's made possible with the help of these generous partners:

          • West Knoxville Sertoma Club 
          • Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley 
          • Grassroots Outdoor Alliance 
          • Horny Toad Activewear 
          • Pelican International 
          • River Sports Outfitters

Additional food and funding provided by:

          • South Knoxville Alliance  

Ijams offers camp scholarships for kids in traditionally under-served communities. After the first four weeks we've seen kids from Walter P. Taylor, Western Heights, Middlebrook, North Ridge Crossing, Halls/Powell and Haslam, Norwood and Montgomery Village Boys and Girls Club. 

Here's some highlights of week seven:


- Jennifer Roder. Story and photos by Stephen Lyn Bales. 





Open your eyes. It's time for the team scavenger hunt.







And a four-leaf clover is worth 50 points!



And a creek walk to look for crawdads and salamanders. 















There's a faux storm coming, must set up the tents quickly. 







Then repack and head out on the trail.










And a thank you to the South Knoxville Alliance

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

North Cove Bridge repaired as Eagle Scout project




The North Cove Bridge, built in 1997, received a major overhaul. Christopher Penny, Eagle Scout Candidate from T45 of the Boy Scouts of America, rebuilt the bridge with his family and troop. Chris raised five hundred dollars and received another donation of five thousand dollars of lumber from Core Tenn. Inc.

The bridge was dismantled and a telephone pole was carried by hand from the parking lot at the home site. A utility pole was purchased and donated by Ed Yost. The pole was replaced and the bridge was redirected on Sunday and reopened the following Saturday after railings were installed.

- Thank you, Christopher, Troop 45, Core Tenn and Ed!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Campers found their inner artist: Nature Day Camp Week 2

Watch out Eddie Van Halen

Summer camp is over. Eight busy, fun-filled weeks. They came and went so fast, it's hard to believe the camps are over. Here's a look back at our Art in the Park camp for ages 6-8 (Entering Grades 1-3)

Pablo Picasso once stated, “Every child is an artist.” The campers discovered their inner virtuosos through a variety of mediums and modes of art, as well as the unique way nature can inspire those creative juices. Whether it be painting, designing clothing, making music or using natural materials and even recycled items to make musical instruments and band uniforms. 


We caught up with the kids on music day. Enjoy. 

- Jennifer Roder/Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by Katie Plank. 







St. Peppers Recycled Garb Club Band








The Ijams Flute Recorder Ensemble and a stirring rendition of "Hot Cross Buns"

video