Registration underway for 11th annual Winter Naturalists’ Rally

Published 8:32 pm Sunday, January 14, 2018

No matter the season, it is hard to contain the beauty of Roan Mountain.
In the spirit of the winter season, the Friends of Roan Mountain are putting the final touches on the 11th annual Winter Roan Naturalists’ Rally — set to take place Saturday, Feb. 17, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Roan Mountain State Park to celebrate the Roan Highlands.
“Each year we’ve seen tremendous support,” said Richard Broadwell, Winter Rally program director. “We’ve got a loaded schedule of different speakers. We’re excited about seeing the growth for this year’s event.”
Rallies are hosted throughout each season to bring out nature enthusiasts and share information about different progress being made within the region, from economic to research perspectives.
Broadwell added this year’s event will feature speakers from the American Chestnut Foundation, Southeastern Grasslands Initiative, East Tennessee State University and Austin Peay.
According to information provided by Broadwell, the southeastern U.S. grasslands (savannas, prairies, glades, barrens, balds, bogs, fens and meadows) are imminently threatened and one speaker will discuss Southeastern Grasslands Initiative (SGI), which aims to focus on grassland conservation efforts across a 21-state region.
Hikes will also be available from the RMSP Center, including Hampton Creek Cove, Doe River, Winter Tree ID and the ridgeline of Roan Mountain.
Working alongside the staff of the park has been a treat, according to Broadwell.
“Each year, they’ve been a joy,” he said. “They’re always helpful in the events.”
Each Rally also provides some support to the park. Along with drawing in enthusiasts from across the year, any additional funds raised through registration will go to the park to help with infrastructure, Broadwell said.
For more information on the Rally, contact Broadwell at (828) 989-8010 or visit the Friends of Roan Mountain Facebook or website.

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