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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

TN Naturalists@Ijams explore the world of fungi, lichen

Last week the TN Naturalists@Ijams class of 2017 explored the mysterious world of mycology i.e. fungus. 

Often overlooked because they are too weird or complex to know, fungi have an important role in the environment. They are decomposers.  Wherever you find them, you find something dead being broken down into its constituent nutrients to be recycled by the living.

Ijams volunteer naturalist Nick Stahlman led the field trip and raised our M.A.Q. (Mushroom Awareness Quotient). And everywhere we looked we found fungi and lichen.

Visible mushrooms are the above ground fruiting bodies of the much larger fungi that lives below the surface in a network of root-like filaments called hyphae that make up the mycelium that can be enormous

Some above ground "shrooms" are remarkably ephemeral. Their maturation ends with the mushroom's gills dispersing spores.

If you are into nature, you are into Ijams. 

The statewide TN Naturalist@Ijams program we teach is 40 hours of classes, 40 hours of volunteering. Interested in next year? Call Lauren about the 2018 class at 577-4717, ext. 135.

- Supplied photos by naturalist and commercial photographer Kristy Keel-Blackmon

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bug hunters of all sizes came to Family Adventure Sunday

During this week's Family Adventure Sunday, three things of note were discovered on our Big Bug Safari with kids and their parents: the finger-size hairy brown caterpillar of an imperial moth, a velvet ant---actually a wingless wasp that farmers call cow killers---and several soldier beetles on all the blooming white frostweed.

Thanks Beverly Tomov for helping ID the catch.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

TN Naturalists@Ijams get a little buggy

The TN Naturalists@Ijams class of 2017 held five hours of outdoor workshops in late August. The first focused on invertebrates, primarily arthropods: insects, spiders and their ilk. 

The class managed to catch examples from all eight of the common insect orders, plus ones from the biological classes of Arachnids (spiders and harvestmen), Diplopoda (millipedes), Chilopoda (centipedes) and land-based Crustacean, i.e. Isopods or roly-polies.

Ijams gives adults permission to be 10-year-olds playing in the creek again. Ijams naturalists Christie and Stephen Lyn hosted the workshops.

TN Naturalists@Ijams is a series of 12 classes taught from March to November. Next up for the group will be fungi in September.

For information about the class of 2018 call Lauren, 577-4717, ext. 135.

- All photos by class member and commercial photographer Kristy Keel-Blackmon

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ijams Wonder of Hummingbird Festival was a humdinger

Imagine getting to hold a hummingbird in your hand and letting it fly away. Some people—and it is usually the youngest one standing near the banding table—actually got to do that here at the nature center.

The Ijams Wonder of Hummingbirds Festival was held last week. The perfect weather conditions helped the attendance but the draw is always the chance to see ruby-throated hummingbirds banded and released.

Mark Armstrong is a Master Bird Bander and licensed to catch and attach the tiny numbered leg bands to the hummers. They are then promptly released to continue their migration to Central America. 

This is the 7th year of the festival originally created by Billie Cantwell. At the time she was the President of the Knoxville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithology Society (KTOS). The local chapter was formed by H.P. Ijams in January 1924 and he served as its first president. For years the club met here at the Ijams family home. 

Additionally, the festival features speakers on a range of nature topics, kids activities and venders selling plants, crafts and food.

Ijams: Connecting people to nature since 1923.

- Photos by Ijams volunteer Kristy Keel-Blackmon 

Mark Armstrong and his banding partner/wife Jane Kading 

Patty Ford with hummingbird, Tremont's Tiffany Beachy watches

The Zoo Knoxville's Steve McGaffin hands a hummingbird to be released to a young girl

Ijams vet Dr. Louise Conrad spoke about Birding Basics 

Ijams Ashlind Bray shows one of our adopted snakes

Chris Mahoney spoke about hummingbird-loving plants

Ijams naturalist Christie Collins spoke about monarch butterfly loving plants