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Tennessee State Natural Areas Spring Celebration Week

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has proclaimed April 9-17 as Tennessee State Natural Areas Spring Celebration Week. Guests are invited to attend any of the 30 naturalist-led activities of these ecologically significant areas.

What a great way to get out and explorer the creation of God with a hike.

Gov. Haslam Proclaims Tennessee State Natural Areas Spring Celebration Week in April

“April is a great time of year to explore and enjoy the native wildflowers and other species protected within our state natural areas,” said Roger McCoy, director of Tennessee’s Natural Areas Program. “With so many different events, there is sure to be an outing for all interest and fitness levels. The botanists, zoologists and park rangers who will be leading these excursions look forward to sharing these special places with participants.”

Tennessee State Natural Areas Spring Celebration Week

Tennessee State Natural Areas Spring Celebration Week

The list of family-friendly events includes guided hikes, canoe floats, bird watching, a butterfly count and more as we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Tennessee Natural Areas Preservation Act.

Tennessee is fortunate to have 85 state natural areas comprised of more than 122,000 acres that the Act now protects. The Natural Areas Program seeks to include sites that adequately represent all of the natural communities that make up Tennessee’s landscape, including rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal life. Spanning east to west, the state’s natural areas represent some of Tennessee’s best examples of intact ecosystems.

TDEC celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, honoring the merging of the Department of Health and Environment with the Department of Conservation in 1991. This unification marked an important milestone in state government, as TDEC employees have been working since then to enhance the quality of life for citizens in Tennessee, to be stewards of our natural environment, and to provide the best managed park system in the nation.

Below are a couple of the trips that are local to me.

As part of the Tennessee State Natural Areas Spring Celebration Week, there some activities that you can partake in. These two are local to me, so I am sharing them with you.

For most events, space is limited and reservations are required. Trips may be canceled in the event of inclement weather.

Both of the events below are led by Lisa Huff, the regional ecologist responsible for managing state natural areas in East Tennessee. Lisa’s background is in wildlife and fisheries science and ecology. She’s been working in her field since 1981.

Good Fire, Bad Fire? A Workshop on the Effects of an Arson Fire at House Mountain SNA and How to use Prescribed Fire to Achieve Your Land Management Objectives

Date: Saturday April 9, 2016 Time: 10:00 AM EST
Fee: Free RSVP Deadline: 4/7/2016
Location: Meet at the Spicebush Flats overflow parking area at House Mountain (36.104775, -83.762740)
Hike Leader(s): Lisa Huff, East Regional Ecologist, Division of Natural Areas RSVP
Contact: Lisa Huff phone: 865-594-5601
E-mail: [email protected]
More Info: http://www.tn.gov/environment/article/na-na-house-mountain
Overnight Accommodations: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/big-ridge
About: This is an opportunity to learn about the lost effects of fire in our landscape by joining ecologist Lisa Huff at House Mountain in a brief field study of the effects of an arson fire that occurred there in 2014. Fire and the oak-pine forest go together like a hand and glove, but what happens when fire is excluded from the landscape for too long? What happenes when a fire burns really hot due to a buildup of excess fuels? What causes a buildup of excess fuels? Why do we need periodic fires in our forests? We’ll talk about research done by UT geographer, Henri Grissino-Mayer, who has studied the dendrochronology of House Mountain. We’ll see fire adapted species like pitch pine and shortleaf pine and learn about the effects of fuel loads, fire return intervals, the effects caused by the time of year a fire burns, and the responses of invasive exotic species to fires. This is a good outing for any landowner interested in using prescribed (controlled) fire to manage his/her property for specific, desired forest conditions. It’s also a great outing for students studying forestry, wildlife, botany, etc. The arson fire stand is about 7 acres in size and is easy access. The outing should last about 2 hours. If the overflow parking area is full, you can park at the regular parking lot and hike over from the Right Sawmill Loop Trail. Stay after the workshop and hike the mountain if you like!

House Mountain Mimosa Pull

Date: Monday April 11, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM EST
Fee: Free RSVP
Deadline: 4/8/2016
Location: Meet at the Spicebush Flats overflow parking area at House Mountain (36.104775, -83.762740)
Hike Leader(s): Lisa Huff, East Regional Ecologist, Division of Natural Areas RSVP
Contact: Lisa Huff phone: 865-594-5601
E-mail: [email protected]
More Info: http://www.tn.gov/environment/article/na-na-house-mountain
Overnight Accommodations: http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/big-ridge
About: After a hot arson fire at House Mountain two years ago, seedlings of the invasive exotic mimosa tree exploded in a carpet of young plants inside the burned area near Hogskin Road, where mother trees had deposited their seeds. Apparently the fire was just the jolt they needed to germinate! In an effort to reduce the use of pesticides and the damage to non-targeted species, we are calling all volunteers during this annual celebration of state natural areas to come out and help pull up these little seedlings. It is recommended you wear gloves just to keep your hands from getting sore and stained. If we are lucky and the ground is moist, the seedlings should slip out of the ground fairly easily. However, it’s a good idea to bring a gardening trowel in addition to work gloves. We’ll pull and bag all the mimosa seedlings. The terrain is not steep, but difficult in the sense that there is a lot of downed timber in the area. The activity is considered relatively moderate in exertion, nonetheless. We’ll pull for two hours and see how far we get! So, come on out and help House Mountain get rid of this invader before it becomes a problem.

More locations!

To see the full schedule and to  RSVP to any of the Tennessee State Natural Areas Spring Celebration Week events, visit https://tn.gov/assets/entities/environment/attachments/na_springCele2016.pdf.

Press Release compliments of the State of Tennessee via the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

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About

My name is Steve Patterson and I am saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. I have been blogging at Courageous Christian Father since 2012, however, I have been blogging since around 2004. At church I help with the youth, van ministry, ushering or wherever else needed. Currently, I am working on my bachelors of theology. I am a father of an adult child. I work as a graphic designer. I also love listening to nothing but Christian Music. I am an Eagle Scout class of 1994. Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle.

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