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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ijams at Wilderness Wildlife Week for Ninth Year

LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge

New venue for WWW

The 24th Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week has moved to another venue: the beautiful new LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge. The yearly gathering features oodles of free activities and programs designed to connect visitors to nature.

Stop by and visit us at the Ijams booth! Or at one of our six presentations:

Sat. Jan 25, 2:30 PM
TN Owls & Woodpeckers
Greenbrier Hall C - Stephen Lyn

Mon. Jan. 27, 11:30 AM
Putting the Pigeon Back 
in Pigeon Forge
North Room 2 - Paul 

and 1:30 PM
Audubon's "Birds of America"
South Room 1 - Stephen Lyn

Wed. Jan 29, 2:30 PM 
Secrets of Backyard Birds
South Room 3 - Stephen Lyn

Thurs, Jan 30, 3 PM
Ghost Birds: Tanner & the Ivorybill
South Room 2 - Stephen Lyn

Fri. Jan 31, 12:30 PM
IDing Local Birds of Prey
Greenbrier Hall A - Stephen Lyn

Ijams Booth

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wagging walkers walk despite the early morning cold

It may have been cold last Saturday morning. 

OK. It was cold. But that didn't deter the Wagging Walkers from bringing their dogs for a walk and wag.

The third Saturday of every month, Ijams' veterinarian Dr. Louise Conrad leads a dog walk at the nature center, as she walks her own canine companion. (That's her on the far left with Gandalf.) Along the way Dr. Louise reviews good doggy etiquette at the park and helps owners understand the special safety concerns for dogs in nature. 

It's also a good time to ask a trained vet any dog (or cat or bird) related question. The fee for this program is $5 for non-members and free for members. The next Wagging Walk is scheduled for February 15. Please call (865) 577-4717, ext. 110 to register.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Mead's and Ross Marble approved by state as 'Historic Sites'

Tennessee Historic Commission group at Ross Marble Keyhole

This week, Ijams hosted the Tennessee Historic Commission for its State Review of regional properties nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. Both Mead’s Quarry and Ross Marble Quarry were considered within the context of a multiple property nomination for the Tennessee Marble Industry.

GREAT NEWS! Both sites were approved at the state level and will be forwarded to the national panel in Washington, D.C. Final approval should occur within 45-60 days.

Before the meeting, an enthusiastic group hiked out to Mead’s Quarry on a frosty yet clear morning and then onto to the Keyhole at Ross Marble led by Ijams’ Director, Paul James, and Senior Naturalist, Stephen Lyn Bales.

Special thanks to the staff at the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU and in particular, Dr. Susan Knowles for her dedicated and inspiring research and coordination of Tennessee Marble days at Ijams and the East Tennessee History Center.

Thanks to all for bringing worthy recognition to these important historical sites.

- Story Paul James, Ijams Executive Director. Photo Stephen Lyn Bales

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hats off to Paul! Part of the reason this happened is his dedication to uncovering the lost history of Ijams and the quarries. - S.L.B.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ijams: A cornerstone of our family for years

Open letter: Ijams Nature Center has been a cornerstone of our family life since my son (now 9) was a baby. It's been a place to  explore tadpoles and hold birthday parties and, now that he's older, it's a place to hike, canoe and attend nature camps. 

One of my favorite recent memories was building a bluebird house as a family as part of a Saturday morning Ijams program! 

I know that as the years go by Ijams will continue to be a part of our family, and we'll make more wonderful memories there. We are so lucky to live here and I know there are things to see that we haven't even discovered yet!!

- Mary Lucal

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ijams has been providing meaningful outdoor experiences for local urban youth for the past 91 years. - SLB

Friday, January 10, 2014

Winter Day Camp held despite the winter weather

Last Monday, Ijams hosted a Winter Day Camp but the weather turned wintry.

Only one camper was able to make it to the center. What did we do? 

Lauren and Jennifer took advantage of what the day gave them and had fun with one. Call it special attention, but a good time was definitely had by all, even if that all was only one.

- Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos Jennifer Roder. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Check out Ijams feature in 'Everything Knoxville' for January

Ijams feature. Page 54
 The holidays are over; January finally here. Wow, 2014. 

Now that the festivities are over and you’re sitting there, perhaps a bit cabin feverish, staring at those New Year’s Resolutions to “Get out more. Do more. Exercise more.” And, dare say, “Drop a few pounds,” then Ijams Nature Center is the place for you. The greenspace and wildlife sanctuary in South Knoxville located only a few miles upstream from the University of Tennessee and downtown has grown to over 300 acres. And much of the new acreage is set aside for recreational use. 

January 'Everything Knoxville'
Even through the canoes and paddleboards are stored for the winter and won’t resurface on Mead’s Quarry Lake until next April, there are hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty meandering about the hillsides.

• Educational Programs: In 2014, Ijams will be celebrating its 91st year of nature-related programs. Originally in 1923, it was the Girl Scouts, but now programs are geared to all age groups—youngster and oldster alike...

For the rest of the story, check out the January issue of Everything Knoxville

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2014 brought early blessed event, a hundred times over

Mantis egg case hatching
Back from the holiday break. 

Probably the best Christmas/naturalist story comes from education director Jennifer Roder and her husband Wayne.

Their live Christmas tree came pre-decorated. 

Jen noticed two praying mantis egg cases (called oothecae, or singular ootheca) on the branches. Inside, where it was warm, time speeds up for the miracle of life contained inside.

Four days into the New Year, one of the oothecae started to hatch. Within a very short time their livingroom came alive with hundreds of tiny crawling, hungry baby carnivorous insects. Mantises are good to have in the garden, not so good parlor.

"Mantises everywhere!" Jen wrote. Surprise!

- Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by mantid mama Jennifer