View this email in your browser

TNP 1st Quarter News, 2017

Happy New Year TNPers!

A letter from our chapter coordinator
A very Happy New Year to everyone involved in the Tennessee Naturalist Program!  The past year was, for me, a time of meeting interesting and dedicated people in the Naturalist chapters across Tennessee while visiting wonderful sites with committed staff sharing the love of nature.  I am looking forward to all that 2017 will bring to the TNP.  A new database, a possible new chapter - what other wonderful things are in store for us?  I hope to see many of you this year, as the knowledge and expertise the program is building throughout the state expand and become valuable assets for addressing the many environmental issues that will continue to be addressed.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance to you or your chapter.  I don’t have all the answers, but I “know people who know people”!

Again, best wishes for a prosperous 2017, and may you all have a Happy Groundhog Day! (Yes, a favorite holiday of this naturalist!)
Nancy M. Garden
State Chapter Coordinator
Tennessee Naturalist Program


Class Make-ups
Just a reminder that receiving a certification requires that you participate in both classroom and field portions of ALL of the 10 topics covered in the basic course. 

The best way to make up a missed class is to attend the same course at a different chapter.  Please take a look at our calendar to find out which chapters have upcoming classes.  Or you can look at each individual chapter's schedule here.
Cedars of Lebanon Invertebrates class takes on insect identification!
Chapter Volunter Needs
All of our chapters need experienced and knowledgeable volunteers to help fulfill each chapters' mission.  Below are some of the posted needs of each chapter:
Bay's Mountain, Kingsport
Exhibit Construction
Nature Center
Raptor Center
School Programs
Special Events
Trail Maintenance

Contact the Volunteer Coordinator’s office at (423) 229-9449 or send e-mail to

Audubon Acres, Chattanooga
Visitor Center Host
Trail Building & Maintenance
Grounds Maintenance
Building Maintenance
Educational Programming
Special Events

Complete this form

Ijam's Nature Center, Knoxville
Park Maintenance
Special Events
Office Work

Contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Lauren Bird, at (865) 577-4717 ex 135 or email

Owl's Hill, Brentwood
Trail Maintenance
Garden Clean-up
Special Events

Upcoming Volunteer Training Dates:
Saturday, Feb. 11; 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Contact Julie at (615) 370-4672 or email

South Cumberland, Monteagle
Denny Cove Trail Work
Visitor Center Help
Trail Assessments

Contact info here.

Memphis Botanic Garden, Memphis
Garden Tours/Docent
Youth Education and Activities
Office Work
Holiday Lighting and Design

Fill out this form.

Cedars of Lebanon, Lebanon
Trail maintenance
Grounds keeping
Trash removal
Construction of simple structures
Removal of invasive species

Contact Ranger Zach Tinkle by email at or by phone at 615-443-2769.

Upcoming TNP Courses

Ijams Nature Center: 2017 program begins in March.  Click here for details.

Cumberland Mountain State Park: 2017 program begins in April.  Click
here for details
Interested in starting the next chapter of the Tennessee Naturalist Program? Contact the TNP State Coordinator, Nancy Garden, at

Volunteer Spotlight: John Kell

John Kell graduated from the TNP Owl's Hill Chapter in 2015. Since then he has logged over 900 hours of volunteer service and over 100 hours of continuing education. Recently, John has undertaken the arduous task of revitalizing the TWRA's 15 bluebird boxes at the Ellington Ag Center, exemplifying what it means to be a Tennessee naturalist. He has relocated, plotted, and repaired the boxes and has committed the time to monitoring these boxes. John has also recently received his bird banding sub-permit under Cyndi Routledge.

In addition to his banding and monitoring projects at Ellington Ag Center, John also helps teach bird programs at Warner Park and helps monitor boxes at Warner Park and Shelby Bottoms, not to mention volunteering at other parks across the state at bird counts and banding projects.

Why is this important? A few decades ago, bluebird populations were declining.  This was largely due to habitat loss caused by both human activities and invasive bird species, such as European Starlings, taking over many of the available nesting sites. Thanks to conservation efforts in the 60's and 70's that established bluebird box trails and monitoring programs across the nation, bluebird populations have seen a remarkable comeback.  Bird banding also helps researchers answer questions about birds such as: How many of that type of bird are there? Where does it live? How old is it and how long might it live? Does it fly far away from here?

We want to thank John for his continued stewardship and commitment to improving our knowledge of Tennessee's birds.  Thanks John!  Keep up the good work!
Left: John Kell bands baby birds. photo by Sue Lanier; Right: Map of revamped bluebird trail at Ellington Ag Center
photo by John Kell
We love pictures!  Send us photos of what TNPers are up to around the state. Contact Kristin at

Volunteers Needed

Contribute to Monarch Research
Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project: 
A nationwide coordinated effort to document Monarch butterfly larva populations as they develop through their lifecycle.  This is an opportunity for naturalists to
monitor a population of Monarch larvae as they develop on common milkweed near the Croft House at the Nashville Zoo in SE Nashville.  After an initial one-day training requirement of all Nashville Zoo volunteers, the project requires a single two hour visit to the site each week (mid-March through late October) documenting quantitative changes in the population of the Monarchs (eggs, larvae, chrysalis and adults) and changes in the population of the milkweed plants.  Reports are then compiled and transmitted weekly to the project headquarters at the University of Minnesota.  This can be a shared effort project – e.g. if there are four naturalists on this project at the Zoo, the weekly 2-hour time requirement would be about once-a-month. Contact Denis Lovell to participate or with any questions at
Other Volunteer Opportunities
100K Tree Day
Saturday, Feb. 25; All Day

Tennessee Environmental Council encourages all Tennessee Residents to help plant 100,000 trees in one day!  This 100K Tree Day will take place at various sites across the state or in your own back yard.  Check with your local TNP chapter to see if help is needed.  Register for your free trees here.

Weed Wrangle
Saturday, March 4; Times Vary

Tennessee Invasive Plant Control and Chapters of  The Garden Club of America invite Tennessee Citizens to once again participate in the annual Weed Wrangle invasive plant removal event.  This is your opportunity to help free Tennessee's green spaces of unwanted invasive plants.  Many TNP chapter locations are participating.  Click here for locations and registration details.

Help Staff Booth at Nashville Lawn & Garden Show
Nashville Fair Grounds
Thurs. - Sun., March 2 - 5
Thurs. - Sat.: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Sun.: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Did you ever want to spend a lot of time with people who think native plants are the best things ever?  This is your opportunity!  We need help staffing the Tennessee Native Plant Society, Tennessee Invasive Plant Control, and Tennessee Naturalist Program super booth at the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show.  Help all day or at least 3 hours of the day.  Contact Margie Hunter here.

Winter Garden Maintenance & Free the Trees
Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary, Brentwood
Garden work: Sat., Jan. 21; 7 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Free the Trees: Sat., Feb. 25; 9 a.m. - Noon

Join your favorite Owl's Hill staff member, Kristin Hopkins, to help do some winter gardening in the Owl's Hill Teaching Gardens.  No need to sign up, just show up!  Don't know about plants?  We'll talk about them!

Join your other favorite Owl's Hill staff member, Randy Cromer, to help do some invasive plant control. We'll be pulling some honeysuckle and privet for our tree friends!  Sign up here.

Help Maintain Fish & Mussel Tanks at Rare Species Propagation Facility
TWRA's Cumberland River Aquatic Center, Gallatin

This is a unique opportunity to help facility scientists and researchers maintain tanks that are supporting the propagation of rare aquatic species.  Plus you get to spend time with the best TNP Board Chair ever: Pandy English!

Contact Pandy English at

Improve Your Parks

Jan. 20
Panther Creek Stream Clean-up
Jan. 21
Volunteer Day at Rocky Fork
Rock Island State Park Downstream Trail Project
Jan. 27
Frozen Head State Park Trail Work Day
Jan. 28
Volunteer Day at Radnor Lake State Park
Feb. 4
Cedars of Lebanon State Park Volunteer Day
Feb. 5
South Cumberland State Park Trail Work

For details on these volunteer opportunities, visit the Tennessee State Parks website.


Tennessee Naturalist Program is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the desire to learn and share Tennessee's nature.  We do not receive funding from any state or federal sources.  All donations are appreciated and can be sent to:

Tennessee Naturalist Program, Inc.
P.O. Box 682924
Franklin, TN 37068-2924

Or Donate online by clicking the button below:

Educate Yourself

Winter Waterfall Tour
Fall Creek Falls State Park
Jan. 20 - 22

Join State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath and Ranger Cara Alexander on a three-day, two-night exploration of some of our most beautiful state waterfalls. This outdoor adventure features the waterfalls at Fall Creek Falls State Park and the breathtaking beauty of Ozone Falls State Natural Area, Piney Falls State Natural Area, and Devil Step Hollow located on the Cumberland Trail. Focusing on the beauty and history of these majestic falls, the tours also include educational and interpretive programs unique to each location. 
More details here

Water Education for Teachers: Professional Development
Long Hunter State Park
Sat., Jan. 21; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

With fun, hands-on Tennessee Standard Correlated K – 12 activities, you will learn about Tennessee’s water resources, stormwater, water quality, and explore your grade level curriculum through the world of water.
More details here.

Grundy Forest Ecology
South Cumberland State Park
Sat., Jan. 29; 1 p.m.

Join Ranger Park for a walk around the Grundy Day Loop to investigate the winter ecology of the region.

More details here.

Wild Edibles Class
Cheatham Wildlife Management Area
Sat., March 18; 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Polly Rooker, Pandy English and Windy Hunter are 3 experienced foragers of woods, fields and streams.  Everything from breads, preserves, teas, tonics, poultices, dyes, greens, roots, dried fruits, nuts and natural medicinals will be shared.  Participants will learn the skills of wild foraging as well as how to prepare the harvest.  Safe identification will also be stressed. 

More details here.

Wild Ones Native Plant Symposium
University Center Auditorium, UT Chattanooga
Sat., March 18; 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The 6th Annual Native Plant Symposium was created with both casual and experienced gardeners and landscapers in mind. You will leave with practical tips on natural landscaping and plant selection. After this symposium, you will know how to put what you’ve learned into practice.

More details here.

Certificate in Native Plants
Various Locations
Various Dates and Times

The Certificate in Native Plants program is designed to expand students’ knowledge of botany, ecology, conservation, and uses of native flora in the southeastern United States. Students will get both classroom education and hands-on application to increase knowledge and skills that can be applied at home, in the community, and at work.

More details here.
TNP Graduate releases new book
Michael Doochin, TNP graduate, has just released his new book The Mystical Naturalist: How the Natural World Informs Our Lives.  Check out a sample and purchase your copy here.
Environmental  Consulting
Thank you to our generous TNP Sponsor: LEAPS Environmental Consulting
The Tennessee Naturalist Program receives 0.5% of your purchase price when you shop AmazonSmile
TNP AmazonSmile Page
Get Your TNP Merch!
Support the Tennessee Naturalist Program and look good while you're doing it!  Custom merchandise is available for purchase. Visit to see our selection.
Attention Chapter Coordinators
Please send chapter news to Kristin Hopkins at

We are also looking for suggestions in your area for continuing education opportunities.  Please contact your chapter mentor with any and all possibilities
Copyright © 2017 Tennessee Naturalist Program, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp