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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

WBIR's Live@5@4 here for Halloween on Friday. Rain or shine!

Friday, October 31,
 1 - 5 p.m.
Halloween at Ijams

Rain or shine, start your trick-or-treating early at Ijams. We’ll have Halloween scavenger hunts, crafts, stories and more. We have plenty of covered places and shelter.  

WBIR’s Live@5@4 will be here with a live broadcast of their entire show! 

Come in costume and be ready for some family-friendly Halloween shenanigans! Between 4 – 5 p.m., Ijams will host several activities and demonstrations including: Good Witch’s Story Time, Spooky Moo Milkshakes, Dr. Freaky’s Flubber and Monster Make-n-Takes. No pre-registration is required, so join us for an afternoon of Halloween fun! Cute kiddos and pooches in costume may even get to be on TV!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ijams Birding & Breakfast Club meet at Look Rock for hawks

Look Rock in the Smokies. Photo by Jimmy Tucker

A special thank you to all who attended the Ijams' Birding & Breakfast Club Hawk Watch Brunch last month at Look Rock on Chilhowee Mountain. Beautiful day, excellent view, warm camaraderie, yet, more vultures than hawks, although we were serenaded by a sprightly pine warbler.

If you could have been lucky enough to be at Look Rock with Barbara Stedman on September 19, 1981 you would have seen a tsunami of broad-wingeds riding the cold front winds southeast. Stedman tallied 5,632 in nine and a half hours. Her big day firmly set a record and established the Tennessee location as a go-to site to watch for hawks in late September.  

Our next Birding & Breakfast Club outing is Saturday, November 1. We'll venture to Cove Lake to look for migrating waterfowl: ducks, mergansers, grebes and coots. And of course, have brunch. $15 for Ijams members, $20 for non-members. To sign up call Ijams: (865) 577-4717, ext 110.  

Hawk's eye view

Click for photos of Osprey Brunch in June

Monday, October 20, 2014

Third Zombie Movie Marathon welcomed all: living, dead, undead

On October 11,  the undead once again rose for the 3rd Annual Zombie Movie Marathon out at Ijams. 

Hordes of people came to enjoy horror art, comedic acts, Thriller dancers and zombie movies. 

A special thanks goes out to Temple and WUTK radio for sponsoring this event.  Knoxville Horror Film Fest once again had a wonderful movie line up—White Zombie and Life After Beth.  A few special additions to our normal movie night were that Einstein Simplified supplied all the comedy riff tracks over the first movie and had the crowd roaring with laughter, and the amazing Greg Carney Project came out and wowed the crowds with their amazing zombie dance moves.

On top of all of that, the halls of Ijams were filled with amazing horror artists, photography, tarot card readings, ghoulish treats and more.

A fun night was had by all that attended…can’t wait until next year!

- Story by Sarah Brobst. Photos by Jill Sublett. 

Three night time Haunted Lantern Tours of Ijams are scheduled this year: Thursday, October 23; Tuesday, October 28 and Wednesday, October 29. To register call (865) 577-4717, ext. 110. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

TN Naturalist @ Ijams search for the creepy crawlies

Naturalists Josh and Deb with Argiope aurantia

The TN Naturalist Program @ Ijams is 20 hours of naturalist classes covering a wide range of topics plus 20 hours of volunteer work. 

Jen Roder taught the class titled World of Invertebrates—what some call the insects and other creepy crawlies. The class is usually taught in late August when there are lots of the Arthropoda active and about, like our bountiful crop of garden spiders, a.k.a. writing spiders (Argiope aurantia) in the greenhouse. (See above photograph.)

We also had great fun scratching through the leaf litter (detritus) looking for detritivores, decomposer crawly things like millipedes that turn dead leaves into humus. 

The TN Naturalist Program @ Ijams classes begin in March and end in November. We are already taking registration for 2015. To register call Peg at (865) 577-4717, ext. 114. (She needs your name, phone number and email address.)

- Stephen Lyn Bales.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monster! Monster! That was Nature Day Camp: Week 7

Left to right: Max, the Southside where?wolf; Crawdad Willie, crick pirate; Lord Roch Vole Téck, supreme ruler of Mars; 
Barcus, tomb raider and Frankenpine's monster

It's the bewitching month at Ijams. This week we have Fall Monster Camp. And speaking of monsters, it's a good time to look back on our Monster! Monster! Nature Camp (Ages 7-9: Entering Grades 2-4) we did last summer.

Earth elder: the lowly millipede
Spiders. Snakes. Crawdads. Bats. Millipedes. Everything in nature that you might think is a monster, probably isn't. 

It was a hair-raising week! We spent time exploring the not-so-scary critters of the animal world, scratching in the leaves for creepy crawlies, exploring a dark cave, wading a pirate's creek, as well as inventing some of our own eerie creations in face paint. The fearsome faux "monster" was explored through crafts, costumes and more!

We were lucky (honored is too strong an acclamation) to have five visitors—guest presenters—stop by for a chat. (See above photo.) 

It was a true Rogues' Gallery of not-so-monstrous monsters, pariahs, misfits and scallywags. Click each for their back stories:

    • Max, the Southside Where?Wolf

    • Crawdad Willie, crick pirate

   • Lord Roch Vole-Téck, supreme ruler of Mars

   • Barcus, archaeologist and tomb raider

   • Frankenpine's monster

More highlight photos below.

- Stephen Lyn Bales

That was the monstrous fun of week 7. 
For a look back on the other 
seven weeks of Ijams' Nature Day Camp, click:

Friday, October 10, 2014

KTOS/Ijams Wonder of Hummingbirds Festival huge success

Migrating hummingbirds are still passing through Ijams. Currently, we have ten feeders up and routinely see the 3-gram pixies pausing for a drink, a full month after The Wonder of Hummingbirds Festival held at the nature center in late August. 

Well over 1,000 people attended this year's festival and many were lucky to see Mark Armstrong, Curator of Birds at the Knoxville Zoo, put tiny numbered leg bands on captured hummers. Time will tell if they return next year after two flights across the Gulf of Mexico and their winter stay in Central America in countries like Costa Rica and Belize. Truthfully, I'm not sure I would.

This year's festival featured several guest speakers including passenger pigeon author Joel Greenberg

Plus, we caught 34 hummers and one was already banded. It had been trapped, banded and released at last year's festival. 

Here are some photos of highlights.

- Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by Karen Wilkinson and Marion Plemons. 



For more of Karen's photos click: 2014 Hummer Fest