53d fall naturalists’ rally set

Published 8:54 am Monday, September 7, 2015

Contributed Photo Bird watching will be just one of a number of observational activities at the Natualists' Rally.

Contributed Photo Bird watching will be just one of a number of observational activities at the Natualists’ Rally.

A “moth party” and “spider walk” are only two of many featured events for this year’s Fall Roan Mountain Naturalists’ Rally, set for Friday through Sept. 13.
The rally, in its 53rd year, will also host two decorated speakers ­­— retired Cornell naturalist and educator Charles R. Smith on Friday, and ETSU Behavioral ecology, neuroethology and science educator Thomas Jones on Saturday.
Smith, a Carter County native, is a master of many trades, having received his undergraduate degree at East Tennessee State University, with a double major in botany and zoology and minor studies in geology, meteorology, physical geography, and photography. He served as Executive Director of the Laboratory of Ornithology for almost 40 years at Cornell University after receiving his Ph.D in wildlife ecology. Though he focused the majority of his career in ornithology, his current interests include dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, vascular plants and nature photography. With a former student, he is currently compiling a field guide to butterflies of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the southern Appalachians.
His presentation, beginning at 7:30 p.m., will explore the ideology and implementation of naturalism. It will focus on the importance of identification of species in order to further the cause of conservation. He will also touch on his disappointment with the disappearance of a formal educational focus on identification in an age in which conservation is most timely and data is readily available. Some of his photography will be featured and the end of his presentation will explain its title, “This View of Life.”
“We have a lot of young people coming to the rallies now, and I think he can be an inspiration because he has devoted his life to it, and he got his start coming to rallies right here on Roan Mountain,” said Gary Barrigar, director of Friends of Roan Mountain.
Jones has dedicated his life studies to observation of the behavior of spiders, one of the world’s oldest and most diverse groups of predators. He earned his BS and MS at Cleveland State University on the morphology of ciliated protists and physiological ecology of garter snakes. From Ohio State University, he received his PhD studying the evolution of social behavior in spider, which he continued in a post-doc at hte University of Tennessee. He is now on the faculty of East Tennessee State University studying aggression-related behavior in spiders as well as the effects of circulating hormones and brain chemistry on their behavior.
His program, “Elegance and Efficiency: Spiders of Southern Appalachia” will give insight into the expert biology and ecology of spiders and how they use silk and venom. He will also give an overview of common southern Appalachian spiders and some species that are exclusive to this region. He hopes that with this information, photos, live specimens and two guided spider walks, he will help to foster an appreciation for these unique creatures. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the RMSP Conference Center.
“Each year we try to add new trips that add variety,” said Barrigar, noting the 8:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. spider hikes led by Jones.
Throughout the day Saturday, naturalists and park rangers will lead topic-specific treks observing birds, trees, wildflowers, mushrooms, useful plants, butterflies, geology and more. Special hikes for children will also be offered. All field trips will leave from the field on the left before the cabins unless otherwise noted.
Guests are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and durable shoes and to bring binoculars, cameras and any other materials that may assist in observation.
Friday night events will take place at the Conference Center beginning with event registration at 5:30 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner 6:30 p.m. Smith’s program will begin at 7:30 followed by an easy, kid-friendly “moth party” at 9 p.m.
Attendees may pre-register for meals by Tues., Sep. 8 for a 6:30 p.m. buffet dinner Friday, bag lunches Saturday at noon–to be picked up at the Conference Center– and a 6:30 p.m. dinner Saturday night. The registration form is available via friendsofroanmtn.org.
The Rally is organized annually by the Friends of Roan Mountain which supports research and restoration projects on Roan.
See the full Saturday and Sunday morning schedule below.

Saturday, Sept. 12
6:15 a.m. Nature Photography (Mod) Jerry Greer (meet at Carvers Gap; bring camera)
7 a.m. Early Bird Trip (Ea) Lee & Lois Herndon Chapter, Tenn. Ornithological Society
8:30 a.m.
1. Birds (Ea) Lee & Lois Herndon Chapter, Tenn. Ornithological Society
2. Trees (Ea) Frosty Levy
3. Wildflowers (Ea) Guy Mauldin
4. Mushrooms (Ea) Cindy Fowler & Ken Crouse
5. Nature Hike for Kids (Ea, Kf) Meg Guy
6. Hughes Gap to Carver’s Gap (Str) Tim McDowell (4.6 mi. hike, bring lunch, water, rain gear)
7. Useful Plants (Ea) Marty Silver
8. Nature Photography II (Mod) Jerry Greer (bring camera)
9. Spiders (Ea) T. J Jones
10 a.m. Butterflies & Other Insects (Ea, Kf) Don Holt
Noon Lunch
Lunchtime Workshops (at Conference Center)
Fossil Casting for All Ages (Kf) Mick Whitelaw & the ETSU Geosciences Club
Flint Knapping Demonstration (Kf) Bob Estep
noon Lunchtime Program (at Conference Center) Nature Images (Kf) Marty Silver
2 p.m.
1.Stream Ecology (Ea, W, Kf) Bart Carter, Gary Barrigar
2. Salamanders (Ea, Kf) Marquette Crockett
3. Wildflowers (Ea) Joe Taft
4. Geology of Roan Mountain (Mod) Mick Whitelaw
5. Wildflowers & Trees of the Shell Hollow Trail (Mod) David Hall
6. Nature Hike for Kids (Ea, Kf) Marty Silver
7. Butterflies and Other Insects (Ea, Kf) Larry McDaniel
8. Conservation Through Photography (at Conference Center) (Ea) David Ramsey
5:45 p.m. Meeting of Friends of Roan Mountain
6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. PROGRAM — Elegance and Efficiency: Spiders of Southern Appalachia by Thomas Jones
9 p.m. (Leaving from the Conference Center)
Moth Party (Ea, Kf) Larry McDaniel
Spider Hike (Ea) T. J Jones

Sunday, Sept.13
8:30 a.m.
1. Birds (Ea) Lee & Lois Herndon Chapter, Tenn. Ornithological Society
2. Mushrooms (Ea) Gabrielle Zeiger

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Ea – Easy
Mod – Moderate
Str – Strenuous
W – Wear clothes you can get wet
Kf – Kid Friendly