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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ijams Hiking Club conquers new ground & sky bridge

Led by volunteer hike leaders Amy Oakey and Eric Johnson the Ijams Hiking Club explored new ground. On a hot Sunday afternoon, the group hiked from Ijams Mead’s Quarry through Victor Ashe Park to Baker Creek. The last part of the 5.03 trek was along a new trail that features the walking bridge over Red Bud Road.

The bridge itself and Red Bud Crest Trail have only recently been opened. The pedestrian bridge was funded by private donations and a grant from REI.  

Knoxville’s own REI store awarded the $10,000 Community Grant to Legacy Parks Foundation and the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club to build the sky bridge in South Knoxville connecting the new Wood property to the greater Urban Wilderness South Loop trail system.

Watch for notice of the Ijams Hiking Club's July outing. For an account of our May hike, click: AC/DC.

Thanks, Amy and Eric!

- Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by Amy Oakey.

Hike co-leader Eric Johnson describes the route to Baker Creek.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Ijams Family Nature Club meets for aquatics workshop

The 2016 Family Nature Club met last Sunday for their class and outdoor workshop on Aquatic Life. The seven families and  senior naturalist (the one with the gray beard) explored the Plaza Pond and Toll Creek looking for frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, newts, crawdads (are females called craw-moms?), fish, aquatic spiders, water striders and insect larva such as dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies, stoneflies, to name a few.

I offered a shiny new dime to anyone that found my favorite, the charismatic dobsonfly larva, commonly called a hellgrammite, but none were caught.

It was a very hot afternoon, and the best place to be was in knee-deep or for some of the junior naturalists, chest-deep cold creek water, where we found tray fulls of aquatic life. 

"Family Nature Club at Ijams has been a tremendous experience for all of us," writes Sue Goodall, the founding force behind the club.  "For any family that has ever questioned whether their kids might have what has been described as 'nature deficit disorder,' Ijams has the solution.  Substantial programming, full of information for all ages, taught by experts.  It's a perfect program."

Her son Judah adds, "Being in nature just makes learning more fun."

"Ijams Family Nature Club is an extension of our great times we have at Ijams," emails Sara McNally. "My children have been attending programs for years here as well as we occasionally get a chance to come to some of the mini nature programs. The family club though allows us all to be together learning and exploring. It also is scheduled family time, which is nice in this busy world we live in! So far it has been a fantastic experience and I look forward to the rest of the weeks to come!"

Family Nature Club consists of seven classes each covering a different nature topic plus a season ending canoe trip on the river. The classes are either Saturday or Sunday afternoons for parents or grandparents with their junior naturalist partners.  For information or to register for the 2017 edition, call Lauren at (865) 577-4717, ext. 135. 

And thanks to the junior naturalists (B.K.U.), the Best Kids in the Universe, for making the day so memorable. You know who you are.

For a look at our first meeting of the year, click: Birds. 

And our April meeting was also covered by the media, click: News-Sentinel

- Stephen Lyn Bales. Photos by Linda Knott and Sara McNally.

Kids being kids, exploring nature: newts, bugs and polliwogs

Damselfly and dragonfly nymphs

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Outdoor Adventure Camp began this week at Ijams

Summer is officially here because our Outdoor Adventure Camp began this week. That's eight weeks of activity-packed, fun-filled sessions of educational, environmental and outdoor activities. Wow! 

Roughly 60 kids a day for 40 days. Outside in the sun and water and fresh air where kids belong in summer.

Each week a different theme for campers ages 5 through 14. Most of the camps are full, but there are a few openings left.

WBIR Live@5@4 reporter Emily Stroud caught up with busy Camp Director Jennifer Roder today, outside with the kids having fun at Mead's Quarry Lake and Toll Creek

For Emily's report, click: Live@5@4

For more information, click: Outdoor Adventure Camp.

-Stephen Lyn Bales, text & photos 

One of our favorite campers with Jen Roder, Camp Director