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

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hiking the Knoxville Urban Wilderness South piece-by-piece

Recently Ijams began a series of hikes with the goal of hiking all 40-plus miles of the Knoxville Urban Wilderness: South, piece-by-piece. This includes all the trails at Ijams but also all the rest in the adjacent parcels.

On this day, we hiked a rugged section, spending two hours going up and over Burnett Ridge and around the Ross Marble Quarry including the side trails to the Keyhole and Hayworth Hollow.

Most on the hike didn't even know these wonderful locations even existed.

Our group was made up of some experienced hikers and some wanting to get out and stretch their legs, hoping to become experienced hikers.

Local artist/writer Vickie Henderson came along. Later, she blogged her adventure, click: Vickie

Our next piece-by-piece hike is Saturday, March 8 at 1 p.m. To sign up call 577-4717, ext. 110. And don't worry if you have missed a section or two, when we finish, we're going to start all over. 

Special thanks to Eric Johnson for planning the route!

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Photo by Vickie Henderson

Monday, February 17, 2014

Peg talks container gardening at recent House & Garden Show

Ijams’ own green thumb, Peg Beute, was on stage at the Dogwood Arts House & Garden Show last Friday.

Peg's presentation was about Creating and Designing a Unique Container Garden. She shared her secrets of successful container gardening.

For people who live in a small space, but still have big garden dreams, or if they want to liven up a patio or porch space, then her talk was sure to please. Attendees learned how to plant fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers…all without acres of garden space!

The Dogwood House & Garden Show celebrated its 36th year as the largest annual fundraiser and signature event for the Dogwood Arts Festival that takes place every April in Knoxville. 
It was presented by the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

- Photos by Lauren Bird.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ijams' snapping turtle is ill, being treated

Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina

If you have been in the Exhibit Hall lately, you noticed that the snapping turtle appears to be on a bit of a holiday. He's in a blue kiddie wading pool in front of his normal tank.

He is ill, under treatment for suspected septic arthritis in his left elbow and shoulder. Ijams' vet, Dr. Louise Conrad, is giving him a shot of antibiotics every three days and it's just easier for her to administer the medicine in the shallow pool and not have to chase him around the large tank. The antibiotic being used usually works well on reptiles with such skeletal issues because it has good bone penetration.  

Septic arthritis develops when bacteria or other tiny disease-causing organisms (microorganisms) spread through the bloodstream to a joint.

After 30 days, the turtle will have a new CAT scan at U.T. Veterinary Teaching Hospital to see if there has been any improvement, if not his treatment will be adjusted.

The snapper is roughly 20-years-old, very young by turtle standards. We all hope he gets well and returns to his tank soon. Until then, please honor his space and grant him the peace you would any other patient. 

Flowers aren't necessary. But a donation for the cost of his care would be appreciated.  

Thank you. 

- Stephen Lyn Bales 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cub Scout Pack 346 volunteers to remove invasive shrubs

Cub Scout Pack 346 from Cokesbury United Methodist Church earned service hours toward the World Conservation and Leave No Trace Awards by volunteering at Ijams recently.

The scouts and their parents pulled 20 cubic yards of Amur bush honeysuckle and Chinese river privet from the Ijams forests near the Will Skelton Greenway.  These shrubs are invasive when they escape from cultivation and choke out wildflowers and tree seedlings, compromising forest health.

The pack leader, Michael Hill, states that the pack consists of six Dens of Cub Scouts and Webloes and has nearly 100 members.

Ijams thanks you for your hard work.

- Story Ed Yost. Photos Stephen Lyn Bales

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Volunteers donate over 5,000 hours to Ijams in 2013

Volunteers Rex, Charlie and Sharon

Ijams would be hard pressed to accomplish everything it does without volunteers. 

People that give freely of their time to help with special events, pull weeds, build walls, prepare education materials and a host of other things. Most of the smiling faces that regularly greet visitors at the front desk are, indeed, volunteers.

Sarah Brobst, our volunteer coordinator, recently tallied the sign-in sheets and last year—2013—over 5,000 volunteer hours were logged.

And for this, we say thank you!

— Stephen Lyn Bales


Volunteer Regis
Volunteer Terry
Volunteer Jim

Volunteer J Michael

Thursday, February 6, 2014

'Maryville Life' magazine features Rex's nature photos

Congratulations to our own Rex McDaniel

Rex volunteers on the front desk, but often as not, if you don't find him there he is usually out somewhere on the park grounds taking photos. 

He shares these photos on Facebook and recently Maryville Life magazine featured a double-page spread of his wonderful nature images. Many were indeed taken at Ijams. I think I recognize that frog.

We're proud of you Rex.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

Monday, February 3, 2014

Weather improves for Hiwassee/sandhill crane roadtrip

Our Hiwassee roadtrip group

After several days of snow and ice, the weather improved and we hit the road south.

On a bag-lunch, "Not-so-far-afield" Roadtrip, we went on our annual adventure to the vicinity of Hiwassee Island at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee Rivers to look for sandhill cranes and bald eagles. 

After a 90-plus mile trip to two secluded locations in Meigs County, our group found both: hundreds of sandhill cranes at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge and seven eagles viewed from the Observation Platform at the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park (CRMP) at historic Blythe Ferry.

- Stephen Lyn Bales.

Sandhill crane photo by Rex McDaniel

View from Observation Deck at CRMP

Observation Deck at CRMP
View of Hiwassee Island from Observation Deck at CRMP

Observation Gazebo at Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge