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

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ijams Homeschool Academy meets for invertebrates

Yesterday, Ijams Homeschool Academy met for the second time for the 2017-18 school year.

Our topic was invertebrates, namely the arthropods, i.e. insects, spiders, centipedes, millipedes and isopodes...well, you know...roly-polies. Our field work was taught at three separate locations around the nature center with Ashlind, Christie and Stephen Lyn hosting different age groups.

Ijams have been connecting kids to nature since the summer of 1923. And it was a perfect day to think about bugs whether they had 6 legs, 8 legs or 734 legs.

Have you ever let a millipede (they are vegetarians, you know) crawl across your hand? It tickles!

For information about Ijams Homeschool Academy call Lauren at 577-4717, ext. 135. It is not too late to join in on the fun.

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