Prepare for the Xtreme – Friends of Roan Mountain to host outdoor nature rally

Published 8:17 am Monday, July 21, 2014

Frank Read, from the Raptor Center at Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, introduces Bobo, a Great Horned Owl, to children attending the 2012 Xtreme Roan Adventures

Frank Read, from the Raptor Center at Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport, introduces Bobo, a Great Horned Owl, to children attending the 2012 Xtreme Roan Adventures

Get ready for some “Xtreme” fun as part of the Xtreme Roan Adventures, which kicks off next weekend.
This hands-on outdoor nature rally is hosted by Friends of Roan Mountain at Roan Mountain State Park and will feature a variety of activities on July 25 and 26.
“The purpose of the Xtreme Roan Adventures is to get families comfortable with outdoor education and foster an appreciation of the natural world,” said Ken Turner, one of the organizers for the event. “We have a much greater chance at developing an appreciation for nature when we start involving children. By involving the whole family, we can help to make it easy to make nature study a part of every day life.”
On Friday night, starting at dusk, the event will include a program on skulls by Jeremy Stout, director of the Nature Center at Steele Creek Park in Bristol. After the presentation by Stout, adventurers will have a choice of programs to participate in: a Nature at Night walk, a study of the Bats of Tennessee or a Moth Party as part of International Moth Week.
“Friday night really just started out as an ad lib and it really took off from there,” Turner said. “Last year we had about 100 there.”
The event on Friday night is free and no registration is required, however the adventures on Saturday require registration to attend and also a $5 fee per person.
The Big Adventures start on Saturday morning at 9 a.m.
“The most popular adventures are the Salamander Adventures,” Turner said. “This year we are offering two of these, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 10:30 a.m.”
Connie Deegan, naturalists program coordinator for the Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department, will present the first of these adventures, called “Salamander and Snakes Adventure.” The second Salamander Adventure will be presented by Seasonal Interpretive Ranger Amanda Smithson of Roan Mountain State Park.
Turner said a Wet & Wild Adventure, the Creepy Crawlies Adventure, an Animal Tracking Adventure and a second Junior Ranger Adventure will also be held at 10:30 a.m. All of the morning adventures will be within easy walking distance of the amphitheater.
Following the morning adventures, a lunch break will be held at the Park’s Conference Center and Turner said there will be a variety of presentations going on during lunch time. Turner said if participants register before July 21 a free lunch will be provided as part of the event. Those registering after the deadline should bring a lunch with them, he said.
“On the porch of the Conference Center will be the live Birds of Prey show from Bays Mountain Park, live reptiles from Roan Mountain State Park, wildlife rehabilitation, Fossil Casting from the Gray Fossil Site, nature crafts and a trail mix tent from EarthFare,” Turner said.
The fun continues after lunch with the Butterfly Adventure and the Baatany Goat Project Adventure and Appalachian Trail Hike. Both of these afternoon adventures will be held in other areas of the park and will require driving. Adventurers can choose to stay at the Conference Center to continue to participate in other activities.
For the Butterfly Adventure, Nancy Barrigar and Aubrie Abernathy will discuss various kinds of butterflies, where to find them and what to look for to help identify them.
The Baatany Goat Project Adventure and Appalachian Trail Hike will take attendees on an adventure up to Carver’s Gap where they will hike the Appalachian Trail for about a mile and a half to Jane Bald, the site of the Baatany Goat Project, and learn about the scientific research being conducted on the effects of the goats on the balds and local plant life.
“Roan Mountain is such a very special place environmentally and ecologically. All of us need to appreciate and preserve it,” Turner said. “We are helping the next generation understand the uniqueness so that they will continue to protect and preserve their environment for future generations.”
For more information on the event or to register, visit or call Ken Turner at 538-3419 or e-mail him at

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