54th annual Fall Naturalists Rally on tap for Roan Mountain

Published 8:43 am Monday, September 5, 2016

Contributed Photo/Gary Barrigar Mick Whitelaw leads a fossil casting workshop during a previous Fall Naturalists Rally.

Contributed Photo/Gary Barrigar
Mick Whitelaw leads a fossil casting workshop during a previous Fall Naturalists Rally.

Next weekend Roan Mountain State Park will play host to the 54th annual Fall Roan Mountain Naturalists Rally.
The three-day event, which is sponsored by The Friends of Roan Mountain group, features a wide variety of activities that promise learning fun for all ages.
There are so many different programs and activities to choose from, Fall Rally Director Gary Barrigar said he can’t choose a single favorite.
“We have so many different events,” he said.
While he can’t pick a favorite thing to do during the Fall Rally, Barrigar said he believes the overall event is something very beneficial for everyone involved.
“I think it’s a real asset to the community,” Barrigar said. “I think it makes a real contribution tot he knowledge people have about their natural world here.”
For 54 years, the Fall Naturalists Rally has drawn enthusiasts from far and wide to witness the beauty of Roan Mountains plants and wildlife. The event’s popularity remains strong and has grown over the years.
“It really makes me feel good that we have so many people who come to this every year,” Barrigar said. “We are also adding more young people every year, which I think is a good thing.”
This year the fun will kick off Friday, Sept. 9, at 5:30 p.m. with registration, followed by a buffet dinner at 6:30. The buffet dinner requires advance reservations and pre-payment. The deadline to register for the dinner is Tuesday, Sept. 6.
The featured speakers for the Fall Rally this year are Larry McDaniel and Steven Hopp.
McDaniel is a naturalist with nearby Steele Creek Park in Bristol. On Friday at 7:30 p.m. join in as McDaniel gives a presentation on “Moths of Roan Mountain and Northeast Tennessee.” Following McDaniel’s talk, participants can take their new-found knowledge on an adventure with a Moth Party beginning at 9 p.m.
Hopp previously taught Ornithology courses at the University of Arizona and currently teaches courses in wildlife management and sustainable agriculture in the Environmental Studies program at Emory & Henry College in Virginia. On Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m., join Hopp for a program entitled “Beyond Birding: A Look at the Life History of Local Songbirds.”
Saturday is full of different program and activities covering everything from birds and snakes to mosses and mushrooms. Events begin at 7 a.m. Saturday morning and continue throughout the day with the final event beginning at 9 p.m. Both lunch and dinner are available on Saturday by advance reservation and prepayment.
On Sunday, programs begin at 8:30 a.m. and the last program of the day will start at 2 p.m. No meals are on the schedule for Sunday.
For more information on the specific programs on the schedule visit the Friends of Roan Mountain website at www.friendsofroanmtn.org. The downloadable brochure featured on the website includes a full schedule of events as well as a registration form that includes options for reserving the various meals during the event.

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