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

Autumn at Ijams

Autumn at Ijams
Ijams Visitor Center

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TN Naturalist @ Ijams first bird class held

American kestrel

The 2015 class of the TN Naturalist @ Ijams met last Saturday for their fourth of a series of classes. 

This was the first of two programs dedicated to birds, their habitats, nesting habitats, seasonal movements and more.

2015 is the third year that Ijams is involved in this state-wide program. In addition to the 12 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. 

- Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by Warren Hamlin. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ijams birding group visits Chota, listens for Chucks

Ijams staff members Dr. Louise Conrad and Rex McDaniel

Thank you to all who joined Ijams for our recent sunset picnic at Chota, the Cherokee Peace Town. The site is sacrosanct and spiritual. It remains as it was to the Native Americans so long ago, a place of peace.

We visited the Memorial and paid our respects at the grave of Oconastota, the great Cherokee Warrior Chief who died of old age at Chota in 1783.

Our group also hoped to hear male Chuck-will's-widows and whip-poor-wills calling in the twilight. Both are possible.

In the end, we heard only Chucks, and ironically the closest was in the parking lot where our picnic began.

In the dark, Jason Dykes made an audio recording of that one greeting us as we arrived back at our cars guided by our flashlights. Click: Jason's chuck. 

Thank you, Amy and Jimmy for providing the picnic!

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Friday, May 8, 2015

20th WaterFest welcomed 600 first graders to day of fun, learning

"Water, water everywhere, let's have some fun with it!" (Paraphrasing Coleridge.)

The 20th annual WaterFest held at Ijams was splashing spectacular! Over 6oo first-grade students and their teachers learned about the importance of water and maintaining good water quality, plus there were a lot of water-centric activities. Splish! Splash!

WaterFest is a free field trip for area students that comes at the end of the school year.

Special thanks to WaterFest partners and sponsors: the Water Quality Forum, CAC AmeriCorps, KUB and the East Tennessee Foundation. 

Oh, the watery memories!

- Story and photos by Stephen Lyn Bales

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Gourd Birdhouse workshop produced showcase homes

Last week, our Gourd Birdhouse Workshop conducted by Jackie Harbin produced several new avian homes that were "move in ready."

Participants started with clean hard-shelled gourds with pre-cut holes that were perfect for wrens, chickadees, tree swallows and other small songbirds. The class covered how to grow, dry and clean gourds. Everyone got to personalize their gourd by choosing paint or stain, color and decoration.

Whether you are just discovering your creative spirit or you’ve been creating for years, the Ijams Creative Series provides a fun and casual way to learn new skills.

This Saturday, May 9 at 1 p.m., Jackie's workshop will showcase basket making, one of the most widespread crafts in human history. Join her as she demonstrates the skills and techniques involved in creating one-of-a-kind baskets. The fee for this program is $20 per person; payment is due at the time of registration. Please call (865) 577-4717, ext. 13o to register. 

- Jennifer Roder, Stephen Lyn Bales

Friday, April 24, 2015

Festive 13th Annual Spring Plant Sale held at Ijams

Flowers. Trees. Shrubs. Herbs. Crafts.

The 13th Annual Spring Plant Festival had it all. 

For people looking for more color and greenery for their yard or home, this was the place to be last Saturday. We had native plants from many local nurseries. Plus, garden vegetables, outdoor crafts, pottery, birdhouses, metal works and decorations. 

Plus music by local guitar prodigy Sam Glover.

Proceeds went to benefit Ijams Nature Center’s natural areas and trails.

- Stephen Lyn Bales