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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ijams' new addition adds to Knoxville's Urban Wilderness

Ijams new addition (Burnett Property) adds more green space to
Knoxville's Urban Wilderness network of trails.

Following the acquisition of a new 22-acre property, Ijams Nature Center has expanded to 300 acres, further enhancing the South Loop on Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness

The new property, which lies between Sevierville Pike and Ijams’ Quarries (left side of the above map), is also a critically important wooded ridge top in South Knoxville. Adding it to existing acreage ensures that natural views are forever protected and new trails will provide opportunities for both active and passive recreation.

The seller, Mr. Jon Burnett, has long envisioned his property to be a part of the Ijams Park. Mr. Burnett grew up near the original Ijams family home on Island Home Avenue and his sister, Helene, was a close friend of Mary Ijams, one of the Ijams daughters. Mr. Burnett also served as attorney for the City of Knoxville and was an early Ijams Board Member during the 1960s. The Burnett family is now thrilled that their land will be preserved and enjoyed by all for years to come.

The property, including several miles of new multi-use trails will open to the public in early 2013.

For more information about Knoxville's Urban Wilderness go to: Outdoor Knoxville

- Story by Paul James

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Knoxville Garden Club sponsors new Arboretum Trail

Ijams Nature Center and the Knoxville Garden Club jointly celebrated a new trail experience at Ijams in September 2012. 

The Arboretum Trail, featuring 38 species of trees, is sponsored by the Knoxville Garden Club, which has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Ijams. Significantly, the new trail also commemorates the Garden Club of America’s Centennial celebration throughout 2013 and therefore is a direct tribute to the Garden Club of America Legacy Tree Initiative.

The Knoxville Garden Club played a pivotal role in establishing the original Ijams Nature Park on the Ijams family grounds in 1965. Since then, the park has grown to encompass almost 300 protected acres with a strong educational mission to encourage environmental stewardship through engaging outdoor experiences for all people.

In addition to tree identification markers, a series of interpretative signs help visitors develop a better understanding of the rich diversity of trees throughout the park and the important role trees play in our environment. The trail meanders from the Visitor Center over to the Home Site.

- Story by Paul James. Signs written by Jennifer Roder. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Charge it! Plug in your electric vehicle at Ijams

Sustainability Report #6

An electric vehicle charging station, also called EV charging station, supplies electric energy for the recharging of plug-in electric vehicles, including all-electric cars, neighborhood electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. 

As of June 2012, the United States had almost 8,000 public charging stations, of which about 2,000 are located in California. Norway, the world's leader in electric car ownership per capita, has 3,239 free public charging points.

Knoxville is home to a growing number of electric vehicles. And now owners can charge their autos at Ijams! Look for the blue sign in the parking lot near the hawk enclosure.

The charging stations are among a series of units installed around Knoxville as part of an EV Project, which is introducing Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt electric vehicles in test markets across the country. 

The EV Project has been coordinated by the City of Knoxville and is a partnership between ECOtality, Nissan North America and General Motors. 

Find more stations at: EV locations

Owners must be registered with Blink and have a Blink card to use the EV Chargers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall Fairy House Festival held at Ijams

Last Saturday, Ijams celebrated the golden beauty of autumn with a Fall Fairy House Festival. A total of 49 natural gnome and fairy abodes (plus a few hobbit holes) were built by young visitors and their families in the fading light of a warm autumnal sun.  

Ijams provided all the earthy materials the youthful builders needed. They in turn brought the creativity, proving again that in natural play, all a child needs are sticks, berries, leaves and a little imagination. 

You really do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on toys and video games for your young ones when good old-fashioned sticks will do. Speaking of such: the humble stick—the mainstay of creative play for centuries—was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2008. For the complete list of other (more expensive) honorees go to Toy Hall of Fame. Oh, what fun!

After the builders finished their fairy houses, we are told that after dark the woodland sprites ventured forth to take up residence in their newly constructed village.

- Jennifer Roder. Photos by Stephen Lyn Bales. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

UT releases rehabilitated woodcock at Ijams

American woodcock (Scolopax minor)

Last Thursday morning, the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine released an American woodcock at Ijams Nature Center.  

The native bird, an upland member of the shorebird family, had been dropped off at the school Monday by a local resident who found it in his garage.  

“We didn’t want to release it when it was really cold,” said Dr. Michael Jones, associate professor of Avian, Exotic Pet, and Zoological Medicine explaining why they held it for a few days.  

“We wanted it to have as much daylight as possible to adjust to its new surroundings.” He also explained they would prefer to release it as close as possible to its original site, but the person who dropped it off did not leave that information.  Since the bird’s home site was unknown, “What better place to release it than Ijams?”

The team opened the box they transported the bird in on site where the South and North Cove trails converge.  After a couple of minutes it hopped and flew about 20 yards until it was out of sight.  The woodcock was not banded and will not be tracked.

Members of the public are reminded not to release animals they have found on their property or elsewhere at the nature center.  Ijams does not accept wild or domestic animals, but can answer questions and make some referrals to rehabilitators.

- Story by Charlie Morgan