Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Oak Ridge Reservation Spring Public &"Eco-Walks"/Talk Offered

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 25, 1998 — Building on a two-year successful nature walk program designed for the public, the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) are co-sponsoring six spring public "Eco-Walks" and a historic talk during April and May. All events will be held on DOE's Oak Ridge Reservation.

"Opportunities to see parts of the reservation not typically open to the public play an important role in increasing community and regional awareness of the reservation's rich natural heritage," said Pat Parr, ORNL area manager. "Participants in past walks have highly recommended continuing these activities, and we are enthusiastic about offering this year's program," she added.

Wildflower "Eco-Walks" are planned from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on two Sundays, April 5 and May 3. They will be led by Shirley Scarborough, wildflower enthusiast in ORNL's Life Sciences and Environmental Sciences divisions. Two additional walks on Sundays, April 19 and April 26, from 2:30 to 5 p.m., will be conducted by botanist Larry Pounds, ORNL and TVA consultant. All four walks will be held at Walker Branch Watershed, one of the top five areas in the world used for long-term intensive ecosystem research. Walk participants are expected to see more than 60 different species of spring wildflowers, including yellow trillium, painted buckeye, pinkster bush and crested dwarf iris.

The two bird-watching "Eco-Walks" are planned from 7 to 10 a.m. Sunday, May 2, and Saturday, May 23. The first will be led by Jim Evans, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency manager for the reservation, and the second by Dev Joslin, TVA consultant to ORNL and Tennessee Ornithological Society member. Both events will be held at the Freels Bend Cabin, an outdoor education center on the reservation. Last year's walk participants saw about 50 different bird species. The reservation has more than 120 species of terrestrial birds and 32 species of waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds. Sixteen state or federally protected birds also have been spotted, and surveys of songbird populations that began in 1994 have revealed nearly 200 species.

The Freels Bend Cabin site also will host the historic talk from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 18, by Mick Wiest, cultural resource contact for the Reservation Management Organization and environmental engineer with the Lockheed Martin Energy Systems Environmental Compliance Organization. He will describe "Life in the Oak Ridge Area Before 1942" and will give a brief prehistoric and historic account of this area. Several long-time residents will give first-hand accounts of life before the Manhattan Project.

Each event is limited to 20 participants, and preregistration is required. Participants should meet at the scheduled times at the Scarboro facility for the bird walks, and in the AMSE parking lot, 300 S. Tulane Ave., for the wildflower walks and historic talk. In the event of inclement weather, a message will be posted on a telephone information line, 865-574-9836, one hour prior to the scheduled event. To register, call Scarborough, 865-574-7385, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. An interpreter for the hearing impaired can be arranged with advance notice when preregistering.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.

AMSE is operated by Enterprise Advisory Services Inc. for DOE.