Archive for June, 2018

2018 SUNFLOWER ANNOUNCEMENT

Friday, June 15th, 2018

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Hundreds of folks visit Ijams Nature Center every summer asking about the sunflower fields. The sunflowers are actually planted by TWRA at the Forks of the River WMA, a property located just down the greenway from Ijams.

TWRA and Legacy Parks hosted a sunflower festival in 2017, and it was announced that there would not be sunflowers again until 2019. It appears that the fields previously aglow with the deep yellow blooms are being allowed to lay fallow this season. This process allows the soil to regain nutrients that can be lost to overplanting.

While we wait for potential sunflowers in 2019, let’s enjoy this beautiful photo that was taken by our very own naturalist-storyteller-journalist-photographer-extraordinaire Stephen Lyn Bales.


Saturday is Moving Day for Pond Residents at the Ijams Visitor Center Plaza

Friday, June 8th, 2018

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Work is under way to repair possible cracks in the pond on Ijams Nature Center’s Visitor Center Plaza, and the first step is to relocate the residents of this popular aquatic habitat.

One of Ijams’ most visible water features, this pond serves as a critical part of Ijams’ aquatic educational programs as well as a peaceful place for visitors to view the creatures that call it home. The more than 20-year-old pond boasts native animals and insects such as water snakes, salamanders, frogs, toads, turtles and dragonflies, and is a showcase for native plants.

When water levels began to drop during early fall 2017, staff researched possible reasons. They first discovered that the pipes that transfer water to the pond after being used in the Visitor Center’s geothermal heating and cooling system had become blocked with tree roots, which prevented the water from reaching the pond. Work was done to dig up and clear the pipes, but it did not resolve the problem. While these pipes ultimately will need to be replaced, the staff and several consultants who evaluated the pond determined there was most likely a crack in its foundation.

Once the animals have been captured, categorized and relocated to a nearby pond on the Ijams grounds, staff will empty the pond to find and patch any cracks, and then replant and restore the pond. The restoration also is an opportunity to remove any nonnative, invasive plant species, which will encourage native plants to thrive and provide a healthy habitat for East Tennessee animals and insects.

Please excuse our mess while we work to make the Visitor Center Plaza pond a happier, healthier place for wildlife!