Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

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


Five spring nature walks planned in Oak Ridge

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 11, 2010 — Five nature walks are planned this spring in the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park.

One walk each during March, May and June, along with two in April, will focus on such diverse topics as identifying plants without their leaves, forest growth, wildflowers, birds and animal inventories.

There is no cost to the public to participate in these walks, but reservations must be made no later than noon the Thursday before the respective walk by contacting Lana McDonald at 865-574-7323 (mcdonaldlk@ornl.gov). Pets are not permitted on any of the walks.

Participants should plan to dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water, bug spray and binoculars. A bird field guide is recommended for the two bird walks.

If inclement weather forces postponement of a walk, a message will be available on ORNL's Work and Weather Information Line at 865-574-9836 two hours before the event.

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

The spring nature walk schedule for spring 2010 includes:

• Saturday, March 6: Identifying woody plants in winter. Scheduled from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Freels Bend area, this field-oriented event is designed for those interested in learning basic skills in identifying common trees and shrubs without their leaves. The walk is limited to 15 people of at least high school age. The event will begin with an introduction to woody twigs at the Scarboro Road guardhouse north of the Bear Creek Road entrance to the Oak Ridge Y-12 plant. This will be followed by a walk about two miles long mainly over relatively level dirt roads, but with some short off-trail hiking. Field manuals and hand-held magnifiers will be provided. Plan to dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and bug spray. Paul Durr, chief wetland scientist at Water Resources LLC of Knoxville, will conduct the tour.

• Sunday, April 18 wildflower walk: Scheduled from 1:30 until 4:30 p.m., this walk focuses on the East Fork Ridge old growth forest portion of the Oak Ridge reservation. The trail runs one to two miles with some steep slopes. The tour is limited to 20 people, and children are permitted with an accompanying adult. Meet at the guardhouse along Oak Ridge Turnpike at the far western end of Oak Ridge. The walk will be led by area botanist Larry Pounds.

• Saturday, April 24 bird walk: This event from 7 until 10:30 a.m. will cover one to two miles along level dirt roads in the Freels Bend area. The walk is limited to 25 participants, and children are permitted. Meet in the south parking lot of Oak Ridge Associated Universities' Scarboro Operations at the intersection of Bethel Valley and Scarboro roads. Jim Evans of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will conduct the tour. If possible, bring a field guide to birds.

• Saturday, May 1 bird walk: Scheduled between 7 and 10:30 a.m., this walk covers one to two miles of level dirt roads in the Poplar Creek area near the East Tennessee Technology Park beaver dam. Jim Evans (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency) is conducting this walk, which will commence at the West End guardhouse along Oak Ridge Turnpike. The walk is limited to 25, with children permitted. If possible, bring a field guide to birds.

• Sunday, June 6 animal inventory: Scheduled from 1:30 until 4:30 p.m., this is a limited-distance walk through fields and along level dirt and gravel roads. The event is limited to 15 with children encouraged to attend. John Byrd of the Clinch River Environmental Studies Organization will conduct the tour. Meet at the south end of ORAU's Scarboro Operations.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science.