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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What's the buzz? Ijams hosts first ever Cicada-A-Raid-A

Cidada-A-Raiders! Photo by Allison von Gruenigen

 Teaching urban children (and their parents) about the wonders of nature is one of the cornerstones of our nature center. It's a cornerstone laid down over 70 years ago by H.P. and Alice Ijams while raising their four daughters on the site.

Raider holding an exuvium, the last
shed exoskeleton of a cicada larva.

Photo by Allison von Gruenigen
So here's the buzz: Summer is a time of insects—large, loud, loquacious insects. To celebrate the season, Ijams recently hosted a Cicada-A-Raid-A! 

We learned about the large green insects of summer in the order Hemiptera and about the five species that call Ijams home: swamp, Robinson's, scissor-grinder, lyric and Linne's cicada. They can be heard at different times of the day from early July to Labor Day buzzing from the treetops.

It's the males that produce the pulsating buzzy songs and although the adjective loquacious suggests a vocalization, the buzz is actually created by rapidly popping the sides of their abdomens in and out, thus creating a clicking sound.

Four of the five cicada species found at Ijams
After enjoying a short talk refreshed by cicada cookies and cicada juice on the back terrace (with a swamp cicada serenading us overhead) we explored the Homesite listening for other species, descendants of the cicadas the Ijams daughters heard many decades ago.  

Such fun! A buzzing good time. 

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Thursday, July 11, 2013

New fish added to the exhibit hall display

Logperch (Percina caprodes) 

If you have ever visited the Ijams exhibit hall, you know that there is one aquarium displaying several small active local fishes.

Gilt darter
The mix varies but all that occupy the tank are donated by Pat Rakes of Conservation Fisheries, Inc. a local non-profit fish hatchery dedicated to propagating and returning native imperiled fishes to area streams. The fishes remain small and include such groups as darters, shiners, madtoms, etc.

This week Pat brought by 52 sawfin shiners, 7 gilt darters and 2 logperch.

- Thanks, Pat

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Alice and Peg work the crowd as well as Abbott and Costello

How do you have a party and get everyone to attend? Invite an opossum.

Educator Peg Beute brought out Alice the Ijams education 'possum last Saturday at 2 o'clock and before you could say "Who's on first?" she had a good size party.

Every Saturday at 2 and 3:30 p.m. there are free animal shows at the Visitor Center, and if you are very, very lucky, it might even be Alice on first!

Or it could be that nature boy with da bird.

- Photo and story by that Nature Boy

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Meadowlark Music Festival wooed and boogied for 9 hours

Photo by Stephen Lyn Bales

Special thanks to all who attended this year's Meadowlark Music Festival last Saturday. The weather was mild-summery. The music was oh so sweet and the festiveness flowed like a mountain stream through the Blue Ridge. 

Ijams Nature Center and WDVX 89.9/102.9 FM thank this year's sponsors: New Belgium Brewing, TERI Productions, kmt, Shoney's, Three Rivers Market, Fagan Jewelers, Elizabeth Eason Architecture, Toyota Knoxville and WBIR TV Channel 10;   

and thank all the bands—Della Mae, Cutthroat Shamrock, Robinella, Blue Mother Tupelo, The Lonetones, The Barefoot Movement, Kevin Abernathy & Mic Harrison, WestWend—who performed from 2 to 11 p.m.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Blue Mother Tupelo
The Barefoot Movement
The Lonetones
Kevin Abernathy

Mic Harrison
Cutthroat Shamrock

Band photos by Sabrina DeVault