TVA Hosts BioBlitz Events

Monday, October 23, 2017

To be outdoors in the Tennessee Valley in nearly any season is to be surrounded by a riot of color, sound and movement. There is life, everywhere, even in the fallow months—for this is one of the most biologically diverse regions of the United States, if not the entire world.

From wildflowers and trees to birds and bees and everything in between, there is much flora and fauna to observe in our region of plenty, and TVA public lands are great places to go and do it.

Indeed, in partnership with Discover Life in America, TVA has hosted six BioBlitz events in which the public was invited to participate along with scientists and specialists in daylong biological inventories at locations along its water resources, including Norris, Tellico, Melton Hill, Nickajack, Watts Barr and Foster Falls.

“The BioBlitzes were a great way for us to get a realistic catalog of what’s on our lands to help us better manage and protect them,” said Tiffany Foster, partnership and educational outreach specialist for TVA Natural Resources. “At the same time, they engaged the public in citizen science and ecology in a really fun way.”

During the BioBlitzes, participants collected and documented as many different plant and animal species as possible using rudimentary collection equipment (such as simple nets) and one high-tech device: a smart phone equipped with the iNaturalist app, which allows one to snap a picture of any organism and upload it for identification.

The results are in, and they are stunning in breadth and depth, yielding a surprisingly beautiful bounty. See photos of the species encountered at the links below:

And yet, the BioBlitzes aren’t over; nor will they ever be, Ms. Foster said. “You can still download the iNaturalist app and go out on the trail at any time and take a picture of a leaf or bug or fish and upload it,” she says. “The very active iNaturalist community will review your picture and identify it, and within a half-hour or so you’ll have an answer, and—in many cases—scientific grade data.”

If it’s a new species to one of the areas that’s been BioBlitzed, it will be added to the compendium; in that way, you can contribute to the wealth of data on each of TVA’s properties. Conversely, you can review the store of information that’s already been found, and set off on a treasure hunt to find each species, as one East Tennessee middle school recently did.

Either way, you can relish the connection to nature—and count yourself in as a partner in TVA’s stewardship mission. “Our lives depend on biodiversity, and part of TVA’s mission is to connect people with their public lands,” said Bucky Edmondson, TVA director of Natural Resources. “This gives people a chance to be a part of something bigger, learn about the area they live in and hopefully grow a passion for protecting these resources for future generations.”



Youth Fishing Event And Pier Dedication Set For Saturday At Wolftever Creek Boat Ramp

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) invites the public to the Wolftever Creek Boat Ramp in Harrison, Tennessee, for a free youth fishing event and dedication of a new courtesy pier constructed by union volunteers.   The event will be on Saturday, from 9:30 a.m.-noon, with fishing and lunch provided. The dedication will follow.   The Wolftever Creek ... (click for more)

Bell, Reedy Join In National Hunting And Fishing Day

State Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and Rep. Jay Reedy (R-Erin) will join millions of hunters and anglers across the nation on Saturday in celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day.  The lawmakers are co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Sportsmen’s Caucus which works to protect Tennessee’s long-held tradition of hunting and fishing.     ... (click for more)

Government Says Former Pilot Travel Centers President Hazelwood Should Be Sentenced To 168-210 Months; Hearing Projected To Take 11 Hours Over 2 Days

The government is asking that former Pilot Travel Centers president Mark Hazelwood be sentenced to between 168-210 months for his part in a fraud against truckers. The government is also asking that Hazelwood be ordered to pay a $750,000 fine. It was noted that all restitution has been made by Pilot to the tune of some $100 million. Attorney Brad Henry, of Knoxville and New ... (click for more)

Mother Of 15-Year-Old Killed By His Father Said McElrath Had Been Acting "Manic"

The mother of a 15-year-old boy who was killed by his father said Michael McElrath had been acting "manic" in the days leading up to the tragic incident in Hixson on Aug. 18. Judge Alex McVeigh bound a charge of criminal homicide against McElrath, a former jail officer, to the Grand Jury. He is charged in the death of Dylan McElrath, who was a sophomore at Hixson High School. ... (click for more)

Arming Teachers With Guns Will Be Too Dangerous - And Response (3)

Arming teachers with guns in the classroom, as Bill Lee proposes, would be the single most dangerous thing to happen to students in Tennessee history. Students and teachers in close proximity to loaded firearms daily? Across this state, in middle schools alone, there are probably hundreds of student/teacher conflicts a day. What if a student got hold of gun in a struggle with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Who Is This ‘New Voice’?

It’s easy for me to say that I either know, or know about, almost every person running in November for the state legislature. Yet when I describe Lemon Williams as the most exciting of the bunch, that’s because he's the only guy I had never heard of when he picked up his qualifying papers. He just turned out the best political aspirant I have had a conversation with in the last ... (click for more)