Preparation underway for 59th annual Spring Naturalists’ Rally

Published 4:43 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2017

An annual tradition is preparing to hit Roan Mountain once again.
The Friends of Roan Mountain announced the upcoming slate of activities for the 59th annual Roan Mountain Spring Naturalists’ Rally scheduled for April 28-30 at Roan Mountain State Park.
“We’re excited for this year’s Rally,” Larry McDaniel, co-director for this year’s Spring Rally, said. “Each year, we’ve looked at growing the events and we feel like we’ve got a great lineup of speakers and trips.”
This year’s featured speakers include Sam Droege and David Ramsey.
Droege, a native of Maryland, will have his special program at 7:30 p.m. Friday titled “Bees for Birders: Discovering Native Bee Watching Through Binoculars.”
Droege has coordinated with the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program, developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the Bioblitz, Cricket Crawl, and Frogwatch USA programs and works on the design and evaluation of the monitoring programs.
Currently, according to information provided by the Friends group, Droege is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees along with online identification guides for North American bees.
Saturday’s special program, spearheaded by Ramsey, will also begin at 7:30 p.m. and is titled “Wild Times: Conservation Through Mountain Sports and Recreation.”
Ramsey, a native of Unicoi County, is an outdoor photographer, writer and conversationalist that shares his love of the Appalachian Mountains through photography with thousands, with art being published at local, regional and national levels. Earning the title of national conversationalist of the year by two different outlets over the years,  Ramsey continues to highlight the area in various ways. Ramsey will be discussing efforts underway at Rocky Fork State Park, the state’s newest park in the Flag Pond Community of Erwin, while also talking about his work of conservation and helping Northeast Tennessee be recognized as a major outdoor recreation destination.
Along with the featured guests, a multitude of others will be assisting throughout the three-day affair providing a variety of trips and learning experiences for attendees.
Interested individuals will also have the opportunity to view the Miller Farmstead in its full splendor during the event following the recent renovations that took place.
Members looking to register can do so up until the day of the event. City Market will also be providing meals during the event. Attendees looking to reserve a meal need to be registered no later than April 25.
Proceeds raised through the registration go directly to the Friends group, which helps with maintenance at the park with a variety of projects that involves scientific studies along with conservation and restoration projects.
McDaniels added this year the group is offering registration through PayPal online to help make the process easier for people.
Visit for more information and to register for the event.

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