Ijams Recent News

2018 SUNFLOWER ANNOUNCEMENT

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

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!


Ijams Nature Center and Central Cinema Kick Off 2018 Movies Under the Stars June 2 with E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

May 17th, 2018

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Grab your blankets and lawn chairs – it’s time for the 2018 Movies Under the Stars presented by Ijams Nature Center and Central Cinema!

The five-month series features beloved fantasy films and horror flicks. This annual tradition brings thousands of people to the nature center to enjoy outdoor screenings of beloved movies, food trucks, a beer garden and more.

Events kick off Saturday, June 2, with E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (PG), Stephen Spielberg’s beloved science fiction blockbuster about a boy who helps his new alien friend find his way home.

Saturday, July 14, marks the return of Terror in the Woods, an evening of chills, thrills and a haunted trail from FrightWorks. Co-presented by the Knoxville Horror Film Fest, this event boasts a double feature of  Cabin Fever (R), the tale of a group of friends who develop a mysterious skin virus while out in the woods, and Severance (R), a comedy horror film about co-workers who fight for their lives in a remote mountain forest.

Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s high fantasy adventure film, The Dark Crystal (PG), shows on Saturday, Aug. 18. With groundbreaking animatronics, this 1982 classic holds a special place in the hearts of fans.

Another Spielberg classic, Hook (PG), screens on Saturday, Sept. 1. Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman lead this fantasy adventure film that finds Peter Pan living as a corporate lawyer in London with no memory of his amazing childhood. When Captain Hook kidnaps Peter’s children, he returns to Neverland to save them.

The series concludes on Friday, Oct. 5, with Stephen King’s Pet Sematary (R), the frightening tale of a burial ground with the power to revive the dead. This event is co-presented with the Knoxville Horror Film Fest.

Doors open at 6 p.m.; movies start at dark. Coolers and outside alcohol are prohibited.

Tickets are $8 per person for regular movies, $15 per person for Terror in the Woods and $25 for a family four-pack of tickets (regular movies only). Summer Movies Passes are $35 per person and include entrance to all five movie nights. The deadline to purchase Summer Movies Passes is June 2. More information is available at www.Ijams.org.

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 315-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities and walks of life. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams offers hundreds of education programs annually and features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking and more. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8:00 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.

Slated to open in June 2018, Central Cinema is a neighborhood moviehouse featuring a single screen at 1205 N. Central Ave. A DIY-startup from the creators of the Knoxville Horror Film Fest, Central Cinema will offer regular programming including classic audience favorites, weekly family matinees, cult cinema showcases and first-run bookings of under-the-radar indies and documentaries. Specialty screenings will reach out to niche audiences and underserved local communities. Central Cinema is open to any group, business, or lone film fanatic that has big ideas for a one-off film screening or event. For more information, visit www.centralcinemaknox.com.

Tickets and Details for Summer Movie Passes and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Series Details


Claussen Family Helps Ijams Nature Center Add New Land

May 16th, 2018

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Pete and Linda Claussen, long-time supporters of Ijams Nature Center, have funded the nonprofit nature center’s purchase of a one-acre inholding property on Dunn Street adjacent to Mead’s Quarry.

The land, which was privately owned and offered to Ijams as a first right of refusal, is an important addition because it connects Ijams Nature Center properties and protects the inholding from future commercial development.

“The gift of land is eternal,” Ijams Executive Director Amber Parker said. “We are so grateful that Linda and Pete recognized the importance of bringing this property under the stewardship of Ijams. Their immense generosity has created a lasting legacy for Ijams and this community, and we appreciate this and all of the other ways they have supported Ijams over the years.”

Parker said plans are to remove a derelict house that sits on the land and replace it with an outdoor education pavilion that will be used for programs as well as a rental space.

“This space allows Ijams to add a much-needed outdoor classroom without disturbing any of the natural areas within the Ijams 315-acre footprint,” she said. “The property is in a shady hollow between Tharp Trace Trail and Island Home Avenue. It’s a central but quiet location, and will be the perfect setting for an outdoor shelter for summer camps, classes and family picnics.”

The Claussens became members of Ijams Nature Center in 1999. Since that time, they have been continuous supporters of the nature center. Mrs. Claussen served two terms on the Ijams board of directors and the couple has supported to the Ijams Endowment Fund and several Ijams capital campaigns.

Nature and education are central themes of the Claussens’ philanthropic endeavors. Mr. Claussen established Gulf & Ohio Railways (G&O) in 1985 and serves as chairman. G&O owns and operates four railroads in the Southeastern United States. Mr. Claussen is the founder and chairman of the Seven Islands Foundation, which donated land to help create Seven Islands State Birding Park, Tennessee’s 56th state park. He also serves on the boards of the Legacy Parks Foundation and Zoo Knoxville.

Mrs. Claussen’s love of quilting led her to take leadership roles in her local quilt guild, the Smoky Mountain Quilters of Tennessee. She was president of the American Quilt Study Group in 1999. She founded the American Quilt Defense Fund to address the 1991 Smithsonian Quilt controversy, when the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution licensed the reproduction rights of antique quilts housed in the museum, including the iconic Harriet Powers Bible Quilt, to China. In 1993, an agreement was reached that eventually ended the Smithsonian’s plan to reproduce quilts in its collection. Instead, it entered into a contract with Cabin Creek Quilters in West Virginia to design and make quilts that were sold temporarily through the Lands’ End catalog.

Through his involvement with Mrs. Claussen’s work with the American Quilt Defense Fund, Mr. Claussen later served as a member of the Smithsonian National Board, co-chairman of the Alumni Board and member and past chairman of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 315-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities and walks of life. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams offers hundreds of education programs annually and features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking and more. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8:00 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.

 


Ijams Sunday Summer Concert Series Kicks Off May 20

May 4th, 2018

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Looking for a way to end the weekend on a high note? Join Ijams Nature Center for the Sunday Summer Concert Series, which kicks off on the nonprofit nature center’s lawn Sunday, May 20, with the Appalachian cowboy music of Guy Marshall.

Presented by Blank Newspaper, the three-concert series is produced by Ijams and Grammy-nominated writer and journalist Wayne Bledsoe.

The lineup of Americana and rock artists also includes The Pinklets on June 17 and Mic Harrison and the High Score on July 15. The Pinklets, a trio of sisters, describe themselves as “a pop rock kinda thing.” Mic Harrison and the High Score will bring a rock/country/indie vibe to the series.

Doors open at 3 p.m.; concerts run from 4-6 p.m. Lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged. Each event will feature food trucks and a beer garden. No coolers are allowed.

In addition to Blank Newspaper, the series is sponsored by WDVX 89.9 FM. Alliance Brewing Company is the beer sponsor for the July 15 concert.

Tickets are $8; kids ages five and under get in free.

Tickets and details are available at http://ijams.org/sunday-summer-concert-series/.

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 315-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities, and walks of life. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking, and more. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8:00 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.


2018 Ijams River Rescue Marks Second Highest Trash Yield Since 1995, Breaks Record for Total Debris Collected from One Site

April 24th, 2018

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The 625 volunteers of the 29th annual Ijams River Rescue presented by TVA and Dow Chemical Company collected 39.7 tons of trash from East Tennessee’s waterways on April 7, making it the second highest amount collected since Ijams started tracking data from the cleanups.

The last time the numbers were this high was during the first three years Ijams tracked the event’s results. Amounts totaled 36 tons in 1995, 48 tons in 1996 and 35 tons in 1997.

What makes this year’s total even more interesting is that most of the trash—an estimated 30 tons—came from one location: An illegal dumping ground on Loves Creek. The City of Knoxville hauled away eight truckloads full of debris from that site alone, making it the dirtiest location in the annual cleanup’s history.

Even with this record-breaking site, the news is more good than bad: The remaining 41 sites together only yielded 9.7 tons of trash, which is on the low end of what has been collected since the mid ‘90s.

“After almost 30 years of holding this event, people seem to be more aware of the harm litter does to the environment,” said Ijams Executive Director Amber Parker. “We’re seeing a reduction in the amounts collected at sites we’ve been targeting for years, and it demonstrates that our community is making progress. However, we’re also finding dump sites that have been there for years at some of the new locations we added this year.”

In addition to the Loves Creek area, one of those old dump sites is on a former family homesite that Ijams recently purchased and plans to name the Grayson Subaru Preserve after the local car retailer that is donating funds to cover the cost of the site as well as additional funds to develop it into a protected nature play area for children.

Grayson Subaru, which also sponsored the Ijams River Rescue, had a team of volunteers who removed about 1,332 pounds of trash, most of it glass, and 112 tires—almost half of the 240 total collected—from the property on April 7.

Presenting Sponsors TVA and Dow also had teams that day. TVA’s 29 volunteers collected about 3,550 pounds of trash and 12 tires from Watts Bar. Dow had about 20 volunteers at its site, a location on Williams Creek in East Knoxville that had not been addressed for several years. The Dow team removed 1,100 pounds of trash and 27 tires from the location and the roadways around it.

In addition to the typical trash one expects to find during a cleanup such as aluminum cans, fast food wrappers, tires, Styrofoam and plastic bottles, this year’s cleanup also retrieved unusual items such as brass knuckles, two full gallons of milk, a toilet, a bathing suit, Elsa (Frozen) dolls, a car fuel tank, a child’s 2009 diary, a child’s wading pool, a television, a “rubber” duck from a River Race scull boat, a pair of shoes, a cell phone, a baker’s rack, two purses, several shopping carts, a toy skeleton, a Tonka toy truck, a diaper bag, a vacuum, a lamp, a car battery, two mattresses, a duck decoy, a football, an orange and white construction barrel and almost 10 overgrown home foundations with full plumbing and electrical.

Special thanks to everyone who participated in the cleanup, and to the event’s sponsors: Dow Chemical Company, TVA, City of Knoxville Stormwater Management, First Tennessee Foundation, Knoxville Open Water Swimmers, Grayson Subaru, Keurig Green Mountain, Lowe’s, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, American Rivers, Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, Thompson Engineering, Wood Realtors, AmeriCorps and Water Quality Forum.

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 315-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities, and walks of life. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking, and more. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8:00 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.

 


Ijams Hosts Nature Preschool Open Houses April 25 and 30

April 18th, 2018

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Ijams Nature Center will host open houses for families interested in learning more about the new Nature Preschool at Ijams Wednesday, April 25, at 6 p.m. and Monday, April 30, at 6 p.m. at the Ijams Miller Education Building, 2915 Island Home Ave.

Registration is open for the Nature Preschool, which will focus on child-led, age-appropriate, experiential learning for children ages 3-5. The fall semester starts August 20 and features four sessions:

– Monday/Wednesday 9 a.m.-noon
– Monday/Wednesday 1-4 p.m.
– Tuesday/Thursday 9 a.m.-noon
– Tuesday/Thursday 1-4 p.m.

The Nature Preschool at Ijams will blend traditional education standards with the opportunity to learn about and explore the natural world. Children will spend the majority of their time outdoors, where they will learn through play, discovery and inquiry.

“Ijams’ Nature Preschool will align with Waldorf Education principles, which focus on developing the whole child,” Education Director Jennifer Roder said. “Activities will focus on sensory experiences with live animals, natural objects, artifacts and art materials.”

Roder said the Nature Preschool’s curricula will encourage curiosity, cognitive growth and motor skills through unstructured, child-led outdoor adventures. Children will build problem-solving, math and engineering skills through hands-on experiences, and cultivate social skills through group play and opportunities for cooperative learning.

Ijams Nature Center also is offering eight consecutive weeks of Nature Preschool Day Camp in morning and afternoon sessions starting June 4. The morning session runs from 9 a.m. to noon; the afternoon session runs from 1-4 p.m. To register for Nature Preschool Day Camp, call 865-577-4717, ext. 114.

For more information about the Nature Preschool at Ijams Nature Center and the upcoming open houses, visit www.ijams.org/naturepreschool.

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 315-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities and walks of life. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking and more. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.


Celebrate ‘Subaru Share the Love’ Success with Grayson Subaru at Ijams April 16 at 10A

April 13th, 2018

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The public is invited to join Ijams Nature Center and Grayson Subaru to celebrate the success of the 2017 Subaru Share the Love event on Monday, April 16, at 10 a.m. at a check presentation at the Ijams Nature Center Visitor Center, 2915 Island Home Ave. in Knoxville.

Grayson Subaru officials will present Ijams Executive Director Amber Parker with the donation, which is the largest amount to-date presented by Grayson Subaru to a local hometown charity.

“We’d like to thank our loyal Grayson Subaru customers for making this donation possible,” said Randy Carter, Grayson Subaru sales manager. “Together with Subaru of America, we’re making a difference in our community.”

The Subaru Share the Love event ran Nov. 16, 2017, through Jan. 2, 2018. Subaru of America, Inc., donated $250 for each new Subaru purchased or leased to the customer’s choice of several charities. Grayson Subaru customers could choose to designate donations to Ijams or one of the following charities: ASPCA, Make-A-Wish, Meals on Wheels America and National Park Foundation.

Subaru of America, Inc. recently announced its donation of $21.8 million to national and local charities as part of the 2017 Share the Love event. In celebration of the campaign’s 10th anniversary and the automaker’s 50th anniversary in the United States, Subaru did not place a cap on total contributions to its Share the Love charitable partners for the second consecutive year.

This year’s donations, along with a match of more than $2 million from Subaru retailers, including Grayson Subaru, brings the grand total amount donated throughout the life of the program to more than $118 million, exceeding the $115 million total estimate predicted at the launch of the 2017 Subaru Share the Love event.

Ijams plans to use the donation to assist in cleaning up and restoring a 13.46-acre site recently purchased by the nonprofit. After restoration, the site will feature footpaths and natural play elements for children. The site also will be a place for citizen science and other Ijams education programs.

A team of Grayson Subaru volunteers was the first to tackle the site at the 29th annual Ijams River Rescue April 7, removing an estimated 1,332 pounds of trash and 112 tires.

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Ijams River Rescue Needs Site Captains for April 7!

February 9th, 2018

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Picking up trash might not sound like a good time, but hundreds of volunteers join forces each year to clean up the Tennessee River during Ijams River Rescue, and it’s clear from their smiles that they enjoy it.

This year celebrates the 29th annual Ijams River Rescue, presented by Dow Chemical Company and TVA. The event, which draws between 600-1000 volunteers each year and removes between 10-14 tons of trash from the river’s shorelines and its tributary creeks, is scheduled for Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Ijams Nature Center would like to add more cleanup sites this year to have an even bigger impact, but to do that, Ijams needs to add about 40 more volunteer site captains to its roster.

“The more site captains we have, the more areas we can target,” said Ijams Volunteer Coordinator Lauren Bird. “Site captains keep each site running smoothly and help us address any issues that may arise.”

A site captain’s duties range from checking in volunteers and going over safety procedures to handing out snacks and completing a brief cleanup report. There are at least two site captains at each location. These volunteers are required to attend a brief training session prior to the event. Training will be offered on a few different dates to ensure everyone can participate.

“In 2017, about 700 volunteers removed 11.5 tons of garbage from 35 sites starting above the river’s headwaters and ending at Fort Loudoun Dam in Loudon County,” she said. “When River Rescue started, some of these locations were in terrible shape. Waste had been collecting for years and volunteers were finding couches, televisions and other large items.”

As cleanups have continued, Bird said they have seen fewer big items at these locations, and while volunteers still find plenty of trash and debris, these areas take less time to clean so they need fewer volunteers.

“Adding site captains will allow us to address sites we haven’t been able to get to in a couple of years and focus on new areas,” Bird said. “A site captain’s work isn’t terribly strenuous or hard, but they determine how many sites we can care for. If you have a friend, spouse or partner, you can volunteer as co-captains, which will make it more fun.”

For details about Ijams River Rescue or to volunteer to be a site captain, contact Lauren Bird at lbird@ijams.org or 865-577-4717, ext. 135. A general call for volunteers will be issued at a later date.

Ijams Nature Center is a nonprofit, 315-acre educational nature center for all ages, abilities, and walks of life. Located just three miles from downtown Knoxville, Ijams features 12 miles of hiking and mixed-use trails, a public access river dock, swimming, boating, biking, and more. The Ijams grounds and trails are open every day from 8:00 a.m. until dusk. The Visitor Center is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.Ijams.org or call 865-577-4717.

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Ijams Hosts Open House This Saturday, 1-3P

January 16th, 2018

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What do you think Ijams Nature Center should be?

If you have some great ideas about the future of Ijams or want to know more about the nonprofit’s new Nature Preschool and other programs, please join us for an open houses Saturday, Jan. 20, from 1-3 p.m. at the Visitor Center.

The event is part of the public information-gathering stage of the nature center’s new strategic planning process, will help Ijams develop comprehensive goals and objectives for the next five to seven years.

“Getting public input is critical to Ijams’ future growth,” Executive Director Amber Parker said. “This strategic plan will be a roadmap for Ijams Nature Center as it plans new educational efforts and determines how Ijams will meet the needs of the growing East Tennessee community.”

People who attend will be able to talk about all aspects of Ijams, including plans to open a new nature preschool in 2018, trail use, volunteering, membership, family and adult programs, events, recreation and rentals.

If you can’t attend, but would like to share your thoughts about Ijams, please fill out this brief survey. Thank you!