Four more nature walks are planned this spring on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation beginning with a wildflower walk at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, April 10.
Participants will see many native spring wildflowers in the woods along the bluffs of Watts Bar Lake during the 3.5-hour walk. Limited to 25, walking will be off trail in moderately rough terrain of one to two miles. Participants need to have good balance and stamina, dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring bug spray and water.
Reservations must be made no later than Thursday, April 7, by contacting Tracy Clem at (865) 574-5151 or [email protected]. If bad weather forces postponement of an event, it will be announced on ORNL’s Information Line at (865) 574-9836 at least two hours before the scheduled start of the walk.
Frog calls and bat monitoring will be the focus of a walk along Heritage Center Greenway Powerhouse trail from 7 until 9 p.m. Friday, April 15. Participants will visit beaver-impounded wetlands and ponds to learn how ORNL staff are monitoring local bat populations and how to identify local frog populations based on calls. Visitors may hear pickerel frogs, spring peepers, and southern chorus frogs as well as others. An Anabat detector will be used to record ultrasonic bat calls.
Walking will be on level dirt and gravel roads of about a mile. Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring bug spray and water. A reliable flashlight or headlamp is recommended since the walk will continue after sunset. Walkers will meet at 7 p.m. at the East Tennessee Technology Park Visitors Overlook along Oak Ridge Turnpike (Highway 58).
A bird nature walk is scheduled from 8 until 11 a.m. Saturday, April 23 in Freels Bend. Organizers hope to see northern harriers or Lincoln’s sparrows in the extensive native grass fields, as well as many migrating warblers in the early successional and mature forested areas that border the Clinch River. Walking will be over dirt and gravel roads up to two miles. Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring bug spray, a field guide to birds, binoculars, and water. The one- to two-mile walk will be over dirt and gravel roads.
The group will meet at the parking lot behind the ORISE building at the corner of Bethel Valley and Pumphouse Road.
The final event of the spring will be a reptiles and amphibians inventory in Solway Bend from 1:30 until 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 5. Limited to 20, there will be a collection of turtle species and discussion of local snake identification and management of local herpetological populations. Walking will be through fields and over level dirt and gravel roads of limited distances. Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring sunscreen, bug spray and water.
Children are welcome to participate in each of the walks. Pets are not permitted except for service animals. More information about these walks is available by contacting Trent Jett at (865) 574-9188 or [email protected].
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