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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ijams: Nature quote of the day #2

As we were leaving the Visitor Center, 
to lead group of second graders 
around the trails at Ijams
one young student was heard to ask:

"Are we going into the real woods?"

Sadly, many children live in the virtual world 
of TV and video games. 
For over 70 years, our mission at Ijams 
has been to connect children to nature.
For many urban kids, Ijams is
their first true nature experience. 
Yes, most definitely, 
we go into the REAL woods 
to see what we can find.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Owls and Woodpeckers at McClung Museum/Ijams

This summer, the Frank H. McClung Museum on the campus of the University of Tennessee will be hosting a photo exhibit "The Owl and the Woodpecker" by wildlife photographer Paul Bannick.

Ijams is partnering with McClung to present a series of programs that are owl and woodpecker related.

Wednesday, June 6, 9 pm: Late Night Owl Prowl at Ijams

Saturday, June 16, 2 pm: WalkAbout: Exploring Barred Owl Habitat along Ten-Mile Creek Greenway

Saturday, July 7, 10 am: Creating a Bird-friendly Yard with owls and woodpeckers in mind

Sunday, July 8, 2 pm: Ghost Birds: Jim Tanner and the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Presentation by UT Press author Stephen Lyn Bales at McClung Museum

Saturday, July 14, 2 pm: WalkAbout: Searching for Woodpeckers along the Third Creek Greenway

Saturday, August 11, 10 am: Woodpeckers and Owls of Tennessee. Program at Ijams.

Saturday, August 25, 9 pm: WalkAbout: Owls and Woodpeckers of Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge.

To register for any program call 577-4717, ext. 110. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Map turtle making a strong recovery

Dr. Louise Conrad, our in-house veterinarian, reports that the young map turtle on display in the Exhibit Hall is recovering from its Vitamin A deficiency.

Dr. Louise has been treating the turtle and reports it is livelier, showing signs its health is improving. The non-releasable reptile has been with Ijams for two years because it's missing one foot and would have a hard time surviving in the wild.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ijams begins e-recycling program

Ijams has begun a new recycling program! 

We are collecting empty printer cartridges, used cell phones, laptops, mp3 players, gps devices and digital cameras for recycling. Each year, over 300 million cartridges and 30,000 cell phones are thrown away, creating mountains of waste in landfills. How can you help? 

Instead of tossing out your old cartridges, cell phones, laptops and small electronics, bring them to Ijams and drop them in our recycle bin, located in the Visitor Center. We will recycle them through an organization called the Funding Factory. Not only will you be contributing to a cleaner, greener community, but you will also be helping Ijams to earn money which will help support our education programs.

Pat Roney 
  - Pat Roney, Development Assistant.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Service project gives bird-feeder a new look

Mark Andrews installs refurbished bird-feeder.

Special thanks to Bearden High School freshman Connor Cameron for restoring our bird-feeder on the east end of the Visitor Center. 

Coordinated by Ijams staffers Pam Petko-Seus and Peg Beute, Connor and his stepfather Mark Andrews did the refurbishing as a service project.

From all of us at Ijams, THANKS!

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Friday, June 15, 2012

Paddleboarding the quarry, a great summer activity at Ijams

Drifting on a RiverSports paddleboard, a great way to spend a summer's afternoon.

Like Huck Finn drifting down the Mississippi on a raft, you too can experience the sensation of floating aimlessly and carefree on placid water.

Every Friday (Noon-8 pm), Saturday (10 am-8 pm) and Sunday (noon-7 pm), Knoxville-based River Sports is setup at Ijams Quarry Lake renting bikes, canoes and, yes, paddleboards!

"It's not so hard," says Travis, "Once you find your balance on the board."

I'm sure Huck Finn would have said something similar.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Mead's Quarry Lake

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lenoir City eagle nest update

Tony King's eagle nest: 17 March 2012

We first visited the Lenoir City eagle's nest with a WalkAbout group from Ijams in early March, that's when the above photo was taken.We found three fuzzy, gray nestlings laying in a pile in the center of the nest after a rainy Saturday morning. They were huddled together to stay warm. Discovered by local birder Tony King in 2006, the nest has been active every year since. 

Recently, I received an update from Tony.

"The bald eagles of Lenoir City fledged three good looking juveniles on Mother's Day (of course) May 13, 2012," Tony writes. "They are still flying to and from the nest tree after resting in between flights. Their parents have successfully raised 15 eaglets in the seven years we [Tony and Denise] have known them."

I last visited the site in early May and discovered an almost full-grown trio ready and eager for their first flight. They fledged a few days later.

Historically, bald eagles were not in the Tennessee Valley, they lived in West Tennessee: Reelfoot Lake, Land Between the Lakes, etc. But, starting in the 1980s, young eagles have been released every year on this side of the state. Now, there's successful nests on all the lakes and many of the rivers.

A young eagle spends its first four or five years roaming, seeing the country fancy-free, but when it becomes sexually mature and molts into its adult plumage, it usually returns to within 75 miles of its first flight to find a mate and claim a nesting site.

Thanks, Tony for your update!

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Three eaglets watching for their parents. 7 May 2012.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Day Camp begins second week at Ijams

Summer Day Camp is underway at Ijams.

Last week, the Extreme World Travelers Camp took the campers to explore Toll Creek looking for aquatic critters at the east end of the park. Feet got wet. Critters were found. Campers smiled and laughed.

Most of the day camps are filled but there a few openings left in others.

For the complete schedule, go to: Summer Camps 2012.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Owl Prowlers prowl for owls in the dark

Special thanks to all who attended the Late Night Owl Prowl at Ijams, a walk in the dark, dark woods.

The program was the first in a series of owl and woodpecker related activities planned for this summer, a partnering of Ijams Nature Center and the Frank H. McClung Museum on the campus of the University of Tennessee. The programs are free for Ijams or McClung members, $7 for non-members. 

The series coincides with the exhibit titled "The Owl and the Woodpecker," photos by Paul Bannick at McClung Museum.  The exhibit runs from June 2 until September 2.

For the rest of the Ijams/McClung tie-in programs go to owl and woodpecker.

- Stephen Lyn Bales. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Canoes return to Ijams Quarry Lake

A new canoe/bike season returns to Ijams Quarry at the nature center. Canoes, paddle-boards and bikes are rentable every Friday (Noon - 8 pm), Saturday 10 am - 8 pm) and Sunday (Noon - 7 pm). Look for the RiverSports pavilion near the Ijams Quarry Lake parking lot. The Knoxville based outfitter provides the equipment and Ijams the venue. 

Once a month, Ijams also hosts a Guided Canoe Trip with a naturalist trained to talk about the natural and cultural history of the quarry. (For instance: at the height of production, the quarrymen were paid 40¢ an hour for a ten hour day. That's four bucks, or $24 for a six day work week.) 

Canoeists on May Guided Canoe Trip

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Scout group clears understory along greenway

Ijams AmeriCorps member Warren Bryant swings a mighty axe

Travis Stevens of Troop 34 Sevierville completed his Eagle Scout Service Project for the Boy Scouts at Ijams.

Two weeks ago, Travis and his troop cleared invasive exotic shrubs—privet, honeysuckle, mimosa: a.k.a Persian silk tree (Albizia julibrissin)—from the understory along the Will Skelton Greenway to improve forest health and aesthetics along the corridor that links the Visitor Center and Plaza to the two quarry properties.

Thank you, Travis and crew!

- Story by Ed Yost. Photos by Stephen Lyn Bales.

Troop 34 Sevierville and support crew. Travis Stevens is in the center, white sleeveless shirt
holding the red-handled shovel above his head.

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Moving into Nature" celebrated new look

To showcase our new look, we declared May 19, a Moving into Nature Saturday.

As always, we celebrated all things nature with free canoe trips, guided hikes, bike rides and our Second Annual Fairy House and Gnome Home building contest.  The Lonetones and Real McCoys were on the the plaza with live music, several crafts-folk and Tea & Treasures sold their handmade wares and two new weekend food fixtures at Ijams: POP Culture: Frozen Gourmet Pops and Vienna: Coffee on the Run were unveiled.

A good time was had by all!

- Story by Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by Paul James and Sarah Brobst.