Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Bill Cabage (cabagewh@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Nature walks and research area tours planned for spring 2008

A jack-in-the-pulpit, a wildflower found on the Oak Ridge Reservation.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., March 28, 2008 — Four different areas of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) are featured in this spring's series of five nature walks.

The schedule includes one wildflower walk (April 20), two bird walks (April 19 and May 3), one tour of an animal inventory research site (May 17) and one tour of invasive plant sites (June 14). Preregistration is necessary; participation in the tours is limited.

The April 19 bird walk has been canceled.

"The Oak Ridge Reservation is a particularly rich area in terms of biological diversity," said Pat Parr of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Facilities and Operations Directorate, who is responsible for ORNL's natural resources management. "These walks are an opportunity to see the different bird species that are drawn to the undisturbed areas of the reservation. We can also see the native plant species that thrive in these areas and learn more about some of the non-native species that threaten them."

DOE began offering the spring walks 12 years ago to give the community an opportunity to see parts of the ORR that are not usually open to the public.

"They have been well received and have helped increase awareness of the reservation as a biologically special resource," Parr said.

"This year we've added a visit to a field research area to help demonstrate how the biological diversity of the reservation provides an important foundation for environmental research. Also, the invasive species sites tour will highlight the impact of non-native species on native species and how those impacts can be reduced."

Participants should plan to dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring a container of water. Children may attend all but one of the walks (the invasive species site tour); no pets are allowed on any the tours.

The first bird walk is from 7 until 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 19, 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 that participants bring along a field guide about birds and binoculars. The participation limit is 25.

The Sunday, April 20, wildflower walk will last from 1:30 until 4:30 p.m., 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 guide. This tour is limited to 20 participants.

Evans will conduct the season's second bird walk from 7 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 3, in the northwest area of the reservation along Poplar Creek and vicinity. This will involve another approximately two-mile walk. Participation is limited to 25.

A tour of trapping sites for aquatic turtles, snakes, and lizards in the Three Bend area, which includes Solway and Freels bends, will take place from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, May 17. John Byrd, coordinator for the Clinch River Environmental Studies Organization, will conduct the tour. The participation limit is 15.

A tour of invasive plant sites will take place from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, June 14. ORNL Environmental Sciences Division staff member Harry Quarles will lead the tour. The group size limit is 20; no children under age 10 may participate.

Reservations must be made in advance by noon the Friday before each walk by contacting Lana McDonald, (865) 574-7323, e-mail mcdonaldlk@ornl.gov. Postponements caused by inclement weather will be announced on ORNL's Information Line at 865-574-9836 two hours before the scheduled walk.

More information is available by calling Marti Salk at 865-574-7315 (salkms@ornl.gov).

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