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

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Reptiles? The TN Naturalists @ Ijams class found 'em



The 2016 class of the TN Naturalist @ Ijams met last May for their fourth in a series of 13 classes.

They learned about local Reptiles. Ijams own Dr. Louise Conrad hosted the class outing and several turtles and one lone water snake were found


2016 was the fourth year that Ijams has been involved in this state-wide program. In addition to the 40 hours of classes, students must put in 40 hours of volunteer work at Ijams or elsewhere. After all the classes and volunteer requirements are met, the students become certified Tennessee Naturalists. 

We are currently enrolling the TN Naturalists @ Ijams class for 2017. It's open to any adult over the age of 18. For information call, Lauren at (865) 577-4717, ext. 135.

Our first meeting in March, click: Introduction.

All photos by Rex McDaniel 






What about me? I maintain a constant body temperature. No reptile can do that!
 


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cabin fever? It's a good day for a visit.



It's a raw day: cold rain, sleet, a bit of snow. Nature has turned her chilly shoulder to us not revealing her rather cloak-and-dagger intent.

But you got cabin fever and what else are you going to do? Stop by for a visit. Charlie and I are both here and there's a hermit thrushWhitman's bird with the "song of the bleeding throat"—foraging on the ground by the staff entrance. So what more encouragement do you need?

And we will be showing an animal or two inside.

- Stephen Lyn

Friday, January 27, 2017

Whooooo-dat? Ijams is home to owls and owl-ologists alike

StayPuff provided the owl pellets!


Thank you to all who came to our Owl-ology 101 class at Ijams last Sunday. We learned all about the five owl species that call East Tennessee home plus one that occasionally comes in winter, enjoyed some owl-licious snacks made by staff and guests and dissected owl pellets provided by StayPuff our adopted barred owl. And yes, some mouse skulls were found!

Barred owls are the most common species found at Ijams, generally in the wetland down slope from the Visitor Center. Their preferred habitat is woods near water. 

Young naturalists have been coming here to learn about the natural world since the 1920s. 









Sunday, January 22, 2017

Local Girl Scouts earn drawing badges at Ijams



A group of local young Girl Scouts finished the requirements for their Drawing badge at Ijams yesterday. We didn't let the rain interfere with our activities.

Ijams has been hosting local Girl Scouts for over 90 years, since the days of H.P. and Alice Ijams and their daughters: Elizabeth, Jo, Mary and Martha. All four were Girl Scouts.










Monday, January 9, 2017

TN Naturalists @ Ijams April class covered Tennessee trees


American beech (Fagus grandifolia)


It's time for some housekeeping. We need to catch up on some of the fun things we did in 2016, but didn't have time to report. You know—busy, busy, busy. Nature has its pulses and winter is a time to rest and reflect.
 
The 2016 class of the TN Naturalist @ Ijams met in April for their third in a series of 13 classes.

With the trees leafing out, and the lush green canopy returning to the nature center it was a good time to discuss Tennessee trees including the ever present American beech seen above.


We walked the Ijams Arboretum Trail in search of the 30-plus species found along the way. 

This was the fourth year that Ijams has been involved in this state-wide program. In addition to the 40 hours of classes, students must put in 40 hours of volunteer work at Ijams or elsewhere. After all the classes and volunteer requirements are met, the students become certified Tennessee Naturalists. 

Our first meeting in March, click: Introduction.

All photos by Rex McDaniel



The pawpaws were blooming





 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The snow is melting and we are open. Come on down!



Cabin fever? 

Well come on by and pay us a visit this afternoon. The trails are snowy but walkable, there's ice sculptures everywhere and our gonzo naturalist works Sundays. Today, he will be hosting Chat-Abouts with some of our education animals.


Photo by Chuck Cooper
Speaking of that, what kind of snake is this? What does it eat? Where does it live? Why is it so pale?

Stop by the Visitor Center and find out. We are open until 5 o'clock.
















Friday, January 6, 2017

Ijams Family Nature Club meets to talk rocks & rolls (folds)

The boardwalk on the River Trail is mounted into the exposed cliff of the 
Chapman Ridge formation of sandstone. 


It's time for some housekeeping. We need to catch up on some of the fun things we did in 2016, but didn't have time to report. You know—busy, busy, busy. Nature has its pulses and winter is a time to rest and reflect.


The geologic fold towers over us on the River Trail.
Photo by Sara McNally (Lucy and Josie's mom)
On a chilly day in November, the Ijams Family Nature Club met to talk about geology, namely Tennessee rocks and the geological formations found at the nature center. It was the last meeting of the 2016 season and the dreary conditions kept our numbers down. But rocks are not as capricious as birds, they are there no matter the weather.

We bundled up and walked from the west end to the east end, from the Ijams Homesite along the boardwalk on the River Trail to Ross Marble Quarry and the Keyhole. Along the way we passed over four sedimentary rock* formations—all Ordovician** in origin—that make up the bedrock of our 300 acres: Ottosee shale, Chapman Ridge sandstone, Holston limestone and finally to the edge of the Lenior formation of crumbly, silty limestone visible above ground as outcroppings along the old railroad track at Mead's.

Family Nature Club is designed for kids and their parents to experience various natural science topics together. For information about the FNC classes for 2017, contact Lauren at 577-4717, ext. 135.

For a look back on other 2016 Family Nature Club classes, click:

          Aquatics class

          • Birding class


          • Invertebrates class


* "Sedimentary rocks are types of rock that are formed by the deposition and subsequent cementation of that material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water."

** "The Ordovician Period lasted almost 45 million years, beginning 488.3 million years ago and ending 443.7 million years ago. During this period, the area north of the tropics was almost entirely ocean, and most of the world's land was collected into the southern supercontinent Gondwana."

- Stephen Lyn Bales, naturalist



The Lenior Formation is only above ground at Ijams along the old quarry railroad track. 
Huge chunks of quarried limestone from the Holston Formation at Ross Marble Quarry