Thursday, March 30, 2017

new year for naturalists

The 2017 edition of TN Naturalists@Ijams held their introductory meeting last Saturday. This is the fifth year the statewide program has been taught at Ijams and the fifth year for me to be apart of it as well. 

In all, it's 12 classes held once or twice a month until November. The natural science topics cover such subjects as geology, reptiles, amphibians, birds, trees, fungi, mammals and ferns.

After students finish the 40 hours of classes and the required 40 hours of volunteer work, they become certified Tennessee Naturalists.

My book Natural Histories: Stories of Nature from the Tennessee Valley published by the University of Tennessee Press is one of the outside-of-class readings recommended by some of the other state chapters, although I, blush blush, can't bring myself to do that. Would Aldo Leopold recommend A Sand County Almanac to a class he was teaching? .

Last Saturday, this class discovered that Virginia bluebells, bloodroot and trout lily were blooming and all the ponds were newt friendly, or filled with newts being friendly. We also found chorus frog eggs and learned that both redbud and red buckeye were beginning to bloom. The latter is an indication that hummingbirds are almost back into the valley.

Welcome new naturalists! If you make nature a lifelong passion, you'll never be bored.

April's class will be on Ferns & Flowers.

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

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