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

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Don't miss spider-ology 101 tomorrow at Ijams

We will be looking for you.

Yesterday afternoon was our third Invertebrates Class for the Ed-Ventures home school families. After a short indoor formal class on insects, spiders and myriapods we did outside biological field work with swept nets and little cups to hold our catches and we found more arachnids than any other group.

WBIR Live@5@4 reporter Emily Stroud dropped by Ijams to check out the activity and talk about our upcoming Spider-ology 101 class open to the public scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow. To register call 577-4717, ext. 110. Fee: $5 for Ijams members, $8 for non-members. Children under three are free.

Ijams Nature Center has been connecting kids and their parents with nature since 1968.

Rumor has it that Emily actually touched a tarantula. Here is her WBIR report. Click: http://www.wbir.com/news/local/five-at-four/ijams-nature-center-spiders-class/339976227

Thank you to all!

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Nothing brings a bigger smile like catching a really cool bug.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Girl Scouts become Animal Detectives for a day

Who killed Bruce "Bring the Funk" Skunk?


Cue the theme music from TV's "Dragnet.

There's been a murder most foul...smelling. 

Local Girl Scouts met at Ijams last Sunday for an Animal Detectives badge workshop.

They learned about their own fingerprints and animal tracks, messages in bird songs, dissected regurgitated owl pellets to look for the remains of rodential victims—mouse bones and skulls—and had to solve a crime: who killed Bruce "Bring the Funk" Skunk. There were three prime predator suspects. But who who who did it?

For 93 years, since the days of H.P and Alice Ijams, Girl Scouts have been coming to badge workshops at our South Knoxville location.

Thank you Jennifer for creating such a fun and investigative workshop curriculum and Ashlind for helping solve the crime.

-Stephen Lyn Bales

Meet arch, simple loop, simple loop, arch, arch.


Take home bag of bones
Crime scene photo. Don't look. 

Ashlind reads the case file of the first suspect: Shakespeare "The Bard" Owl
Or could it have been Robert "Bob" Cat?
The detectives ponder the clues.

We got our badges!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Ed-Ventures @ Ijams for homeschoolers introduced

Ijams: Inspiring natural curiosity in nature, Molly watches a tadpole swim

Our new Ed-Ventures @ Ijams program began in September. Designed for parents who homeschool their young ones, the series includes eight classes, four in the fall and four next spring. Each is built around one of the natural science disciplines: entomology, geology, mammalogy, ornithology, dendrology (study of trees), herpetology (study of reptiles and amphibians), etc.

Last month, we gave the young naturalists a look at what it would be like to be aquatic biologists. We searched for benthic invertebrates, or principally arthropods that live underwater

“We knew there was a need for such a program with the homeschool families,” said Ijams Education Director Jennifer Roder, “But we were surprised the response would be so great. This first year we have 60 children enrolled.”

For over 90 years, Ijams has been a safe place for young people to explore nature. In October, we’ll become entomologists for a day. 

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Molly holds a dragonfly nymph, Grace a young frog


Friday, September 23, 2016

Rain didn't spoil last weekend's Flutterby-ology

Last Sunday afternoon was our Flutterby-ology class. The threat of rain held down our attendance and the real rain did shorten our great butterfly hunt outside but we managed to find five species of the Lepidopterians. 

Flutterby Fern
We then moved back indoors for the most adorable piece of performance art depicting the complete metamorphosis of a monarch butterfly and its migration to Mexico by our youngest member, three-year-old Fern. An improv star was born. 

Please note the charming Phia with Blue Morpho butterfly (Morpho peleides) wings in the top photo.

Our next Learn-a-Lot Class, Spider-ology, is scheduled for Sunday, October 23 at 2 p.m.

Thanks to the Moms for supplying the Flutterby-themed food treats and to Amanda Davis, Linda Knott and Clare Dattilo for the photos. 

- Stephen Lyn Bales 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Family Nature Club @ Ijams stalks the invertebrates

The Family Nature Club @ Ijams recently held their Invertebrates Workshop. We’re talking insects, spiders, millipedes, centipedes and their ilk. And it was a great afternoon, albeit a bit hot, to search for our quarry.

Here's a look back at some of our other outings, click: Aquatics and Birds.

We are now registering families for the 2017 Edition of Family Nature Club @ Ijams. For information call Lauren, (865) 577-4717, ext. 135.

Here's a look at the invertebrate fun.

Supplied photos by moms Linda Knott and Amanda Davis.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Prize catches: Riley with walkingstick bug, Sam with velvet ant
Damselfly (best guess: blue-fronted dancer)
Friendly butterfly finds Jarrod and Amanda
Are Ijams centipedes really this big?
No caption necessary

We avoided those with stingers
Stalking a silvery checkerspot

A millipede in the hand

Sorting our catch with Josie
Rachel and Judah with friend
She is really not so bad
Riley and Lucy with tarantula