Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

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


Nature walks and research area tours planned for spring 2007

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 20, 2007 — Five opportunities for the public to explore parts of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Reservation are planned this spring.

The schedule includes one wildflower walk (April 21), two bird walks (April 28 and May 5), one tour of a plant research site on Freels Bend (May 12) and one tour of a global climate change field (May 19).

DOE began offering spring walks 11 years ago so individuals in the community could have an opportunity to see parts of the reservation that are not typically open to the public, said Pat Parr of ORNL's Facilities and Operations Directorate, who is responsible for ORNL's natural resources management

"Spring is a great time to experience some of the amazing biological diversity of the Oak Ridge Reservation," Parr said. "They have been well received and have helped increase awareness of the reservation as a biologically special resource. This year, expanding the program to include visits to two different types of field research areas helps demonstrate how the biological diversity of the reservation provides an important foundation for environmental research."

Participants should plan to dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring a container of water. Four of the walks are limited to 25 participants, and children are permitted. The fifth tour is limited to 10 people, and no children or pets are permitted

The wildflower walk lasts from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday, April 21, covering a distance of almost two miles with about half of the trip off the trail in some steep-sloped areas of the East Fork Ridge Old Growth Forest. Larry Pounds, who has conducted many of the wildflower walks over the years in Oak Ridge, will be the guide.

The first bird walk is from 7 until 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 28 in the Freels Bend area on the eastern end of the reservation. Conducted by Jim Evans of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the walk will cover about two miles. It is recommended participants bring along a field guide about birds and binoculars.

Evans will conduct the season's second bird walk from 7 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 5 in the northwest area of the reservation along Poplar Creek and vicinity. This will involve another approximate two-mile walk.

A tour of plant studies being conducted at Freels Bend by the University of Tennessee will take place from 10 a.m. until noon Saturday, May 12. Dr. Nathan Sanders, assistant professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology for the University of Tennessee, will conduct the tour.

A tour of a global climate change research facility (Free Air CO2 Enrichment Experiment or FACE) will take place from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 19. Richard Norby, ORNL Environmental Sciences Division, will conduct the tour.

Reservations must be made in advance by noon the day prior to each walk by calling Lana McDonald, 865-574-7323 (mcdonaldlk@ornl.gov). If inclement weather forces postponement, it will be announced on ORNL's Information Line at 865-574-9836 two hours before the scheduled walk.

More information is available by calling Neil Giffen at 865-241-9421 (giffennr1@ornl.gov).

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.