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

Friday, December 23, 2011

Last scheduled program of 2011: Happy Holidays!

It was cold, two days before Christmas with just enough time to squeeze in one final WalkAbout before the holiday break.

Special thanks to all who came out for the bird walk along Will Skelton Greenway to the west.

Looking forward to other adventures in 2011!

- Happy Holidays: Stephen Lyn Bales

Thursday, December 15, 2011

28th Annual Holiday Craft Party is Saturday

Logdeer welcome visitors to the nature center

Once upon a time—and indeed, many of us still remember it—most holiday decorations were made by the family.

Kids would sit around the kitchen table with mom crafting ornaments, wreaths and cards, family keepsakes that would last for years. It was also an excellent way to keep little hands busy (and little minds occupied) waiting for the day when the Big Guy "tarnished with ashes and soot" would somehow make his way down the chimney with a bound. How did he do that?

Unwrapping those heirlooms every December brought back a flood of memories of holidays past, that is if the mice hadn't eaten the strings of popcorn and cranberries.

Those days are alive and well at Ijams.

This Saturday, December 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is our 28th Annual Holiday Craft Party.

Celebrate the holiday season with this recycled craft open house. Learn how to reuse common household items to make fun and festive gifts and decorations like candles, cards and ornaments. Creative keepsakes that will become family heirlooms. Cost: $2 for Ijams members, $5 for non-members. Please call (865) 577-4717, ext. 110 to register.

- Text and photos by Stephen Lyn Bales

The garland at the entrance to the Visitor Center is mostly boxwood from the original shrubs
planted by Alice Ijams over 60 years ago.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Surprisingly hard-to-find, logdeer seen at nature center

Ever-alert and hard-to-find woodland logdeers

Ijams does not often have deer. Although they are routinely seen at Forks of the River WMA due east of the nature center, the fleet and nimble hoofed-ones are rarely here, that is until this week when three woodland logdeer were spotted outside the Visitor Center. 

- Text and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter Bird WalkAbouters brave the cold day

Sometimes, the thrill IS in the hunt. You may not find a lot but it's the camaraderie of the group that saves the day.

So it was for our Saturday Winter Bird WalkAbout. Our goal was to find birds that only spend their winters in the Tennessee Valley; their summers are spent elsewhere.

It was chilly, almost cold. On a walk east of the Visitor Center on the Will Skelton Greenway the only winter bird we managed to find was a single yellow-rumped warbler.

But even so, it was a good day.

The next Winter Bird WalkAbout will be Friday, December 23 at 2 PM. To sign up call 577-4717, ext. 110. 

Yellow-rumped warbler winter plumage

- Text by Stephen Lyn Bales. Warbler photo by Alan D. Wilson.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pair of ivory-bills find 'forever home' at Ijams

"Two stuffed and mounted ivory-billed woodpeckers (one a male and one a female) finally found a forever home as a part of Ijams Nature Center's lost species exhibit.

The amazing story of how they came to be donated involves a beautiful old picture frame, a lifelong friendship between two men who grew up together in Worcester County, Mass., two friends in a Knoxville book club, and a letter written by Ijams Director Paul James."

For the rest of the story, go the Birdlife column by Marcia Davis at ivory-bills' journey.

- Photo by Stephen Lyn Bales

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Birthday parties are fun, especially if you are a butterfly

Flutter by. Flutter by. Even in early December you can find butterflies at Ijams. Especially if you plan a butterfly-themed Birthday Party with Kara.

This afternoon butterflies of all colors (and one yellow-and-black bumble bee boy) were seen flitting about all over the Visitor Center and Plaza. It was a delight to all who happened to be anywhere nearby. Summer is eternal in the hearts of the young.

Happy Birthday, Gryphon!

For more information about having your child's birthday at Ijams contact Kara Remington. 

- Text and photos by Stephen Lyn Bales