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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ijams Hiking Club saunters to the sunflower fields nearby

The sunflower fields planted at Forks-of-the-River Wildlife Management Area are spectacular this year. 

The huge composites are pretty to look at but we are not why they are there. The sprawling former farmland is now state-owned and under the care of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The fields are managed to feed wildlife and that's what the sunflowers will do this fall when they all turn to seed. 

According to the ProFlower website, cultivated sunflowers as a food source for people and animals originated in the Americas about 1,000 B.C., and have been cultivated for centuries. "With the European exploration of the New World, the flower’s popularity spread, as the rest of the world began to appreciate its beauty and sustenance." They were made famous by artist Vincent van Gogh, but those flowers planted in Arles, France originated in eastern North America.    

Amy Oakey and Eric Johnson, are the volunteer leaders of the Ijams Hiking Club. We hike once a month. Last Saturday they led a Sunflower Saunter to and around the fields, early in the morning before the intense heat that has been with us for the past couple of weeks.

Needless to say, it was a colorful day.

Thank you, Amy and Eric!

- Stephen Lyn Bales


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

25 "ologists" get their Ijams degrees in Turtle-ology

Last month, on a very hot Tennessee Williams kind of afternoon, 25 people got their degrees in Turtle-ology at Ijams. 

In addition to the Ijams adopted education turtles, we also managed to find several of the shelled reptiles swimming in the river near the greenway. Cooters, sliders or map turtles, it was hard to tell, the distance too great. But needless to say, in the cool water, they looked more comfortable than we were.

Our -ology programs are great for families and the young-at-heart. If you’ve been to one before, you know there are always fun and animal-themed food. Feel free to bring something to share, or just come partake. Last month we had scaly turtle snacks! (See below.)

Sunday, July 17, 2 p.m. 
Cicad-Academy at Ijams
The next -ology in the series is Cicad-Academy, all about the species of cicadas, katydids and crickets that sing and creeeeaaaaak in summer. The two hour class is Sunday. July 17 at 2 p.m. Space is limited; to register call (865) 577-4717, ext. 110.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Chinese students studying at UT visit Ijams

Local fitness expert Missy Kane led a group of visiting Chinese college students to Ijams last week. 

The students from Shanghai University of Sport (SUS) were in this country taking classes at the English Language Institute (ELI). The group is hosted in Knoxville by UT professor Rob Hardin. His department (Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport Studies) is providing a Sports Studies Seminar for the 14 students and 2 faculty. 

One of the classes was outdoor recreation. They visited Ijams and met two of our educational animals then Missy Kane led the group on a hike to the sunflower fields at Forks-of-the-River WMA. 

Welcome to Ijams and Tennessee!

- Stephen Lyn Bales