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

Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring birds counted in the rain at Ijams

The 2013 Spring Bird Count was held yesterday morning at Ijams. Three hours of counting birds in the pouring rain, consequently, the count number is very low: only 25 species and 74 total birds. And every bird counted was indeed wet, as were the counters. 

Time: 8 to 11 a.m., Weather: Temp 60s, Rain

List: Canada Goose 1, Double-crested Cormorant 3, Osprey 1, Red-shouldered Hawk 5 (2 Adults, 3 nestlings), Mourning Dove 4, Chimney Swift 2, Red-bellied Woodpecker 2, Downy Woodpecker 1, Red-eyed Vireo 2, American Crow 1, N. Rough-winged Swallow 3, Carolina Chickadee 6, Tufted Titmouse 4, Carolina Wren 7, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4, Northern Mockingbird 4, Yellow-rumped Warbler 1, Scarlet Tanager 1, Eastern Towhee 1, Song Sparrow 1, White-throated Sparrow 2, Northern Cardinal 7, Indigo Bunting 5, Brown-headed Cowbird 2, American Goldfinch 4

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mayor Rogero presents new city budget at Ijams luncheon

Mayor Madeline Rogero presents 2013-14 city budget

With Mead's Quarry Lake at Ijams as a backdrop, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero presented her city budget for the upcoming fiscal year: 2013-2014.

An azure blue sky overhead greeting visitors to the noon luncheon, but a voluminous white tent had been assembled to protect the 500 to 800 invited guests just in case. 

Paul James, executive director of Ijams Nature Center, made a few opening remarks and then Mayor Rogero presented her proposed no-property-tax-increase budget which did include a 2.5 salary increase to city employees and more monies allocated to restore blighted proprieties.   

For a more detailed story of Mayor Rogero budget, go to: knoxnews or a complete transcript, go to Mayor's speech for the knoxnews photo gallery, go to: photos.

To celebrate the event and draw attention to the recreational aspects of the quarry, Ijams own Sarah Brobst rappelled (yes, rappelled) down the cliff face on the west side of the lake. 

Excellent job by all!

- Story by Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by he and Daniel Lassman. 

Guests at Mayor's luncheon
Mayor Rogero answers media questions beforehand
Ijams staff welcomes visitors
Ijams Executive Director Paul James and Vice Mayor Nick Pavlis

Ijams own Sarah Brobst (circled) closely inspects quarry cliff face
as she rappels down from overlook
Sarah post cliff descent. Thumbs up to the entire event!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sam Houston schoolers overwhelm with their kindness

Ijams educator Lauren Bird and screech-owl (right) with Sam Houston students

Recently, a school teacher from Sam Houston Elementary contacted me about collecting items for Ijams. 

She asked me for suggestions of things we could use. I gave her a list and thanked her for the kind gesture. Ijams is a non-profit so there are always things we need.

She emailed me again last week and mentioned that they had done their donation drive and wanted to bring the collected items over to Ijams yesterday.

We racked up! 

Sunflower seeds and paper towels and green cleaners… all kinds of good, useful stuff.  To thank the young students for their generous effort, we did an animal program for them so they could see first-hand one of the animals they were helping with their donation.


- Story and photo by Jennifer Roder, education director 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ijams red-shouldered hawk nest hatches three

The red-shouldered hawk nest high in a beech tree down the hill behind the Visitor Center is alive with new life. Three down-covered nestlings were counted.

Ijams' staffer Rex McDaniel managed to get a photo yesterday.

Congratulations go out to the new proud pair of parent hawks!

- Photo Rex McDaniel, Story by Stephen Lyn Bales.

Monday, April 15, 2013

River Rescue 2013 cleans trash from 50 public locations

AmeriCorps member Victoria Deren models this year's River Rescue t-shirt complete with
optional accessories, two bags of trash.
(Please note that the bags are half as big as she is!)

The clouds parted, the rain stopped, unveiling a perfect Saturday for the 24th Annual River Rescue organized by Ijams Nature Center. The yearly shoreline clean-up focuses on public lands: boat ramps, parks and greeways from Island Home Airport downstream to Ft. Loudon Dam, plus sites along Melton Hill and Watts Bar Lakes.  

According to coordinator Peg Beute, this year saw just under 800 volunteers at 50 sites along the Tennessee and Clinch Rivers. The end result of the clean-up was nine tons of bagged debris, three tons of scrap metal, 102 tires and, perhaps a sign of our times, one loaded 9 mm pistol.

- Text and photos by Stephen Lyn Bales

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kindergarten kids get to experience the "feel of nature"

Getting kids close to nature, that's our goal.

As an educator, you hope to find something memorable. One recent morning it was kindergarten kids on a field trip from Amherst Elementary. 

It was also rainy, damp. The young ones wore ponchos or, when the ponchos ran out, trash bags. 

As we walked along the trail to the Homesite, cherub-faced Cameron in a yellow full-length poncho lifted her arms to soak in the morning dampness and said, "Oh, feel the nature!"

She was in the moment. 

That was memorable, but the real highlight came on the Serendipity Trail. [Serendipity: noun: an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.] That morning the trail proved to be aptly named.  We found a barred owl and were able to creep up to be only about seven feet away. 

We were so close we could have asked for its autograph—Strix varia. But we let it alone to enjoy the "feel of nature."

- Text and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales