Roan Mountain Spring Naturalist Rally planned next weekend

Published 8:05 am Monday, April 22, 2019

The 61st Annual Roan Mountain Spring Naturalist Rally will be held the weekend of April 26-28 at the Roan Mountain State Park.

This year’s featured speakers are Jeremy Stout and Scott Honeycutt. Stout, manager of the Nature Center at Steele Creek Park in Bristol, will have the Friday night program. His presentation is titled “Dynamic Roan: A Prehistoric Perspective on Today’s Ecology.”

Scott, who teaches literature at ETSU in Johnson City, will present the program “Crossing the Hills — The Literature of the Appalachian Trail.”

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Both programs will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday following dinner at the conference centers. Meals will be catered by City Market of Elizabethton.

Sponsored by the Friends of Roan Mountain, the weekend activities will also include a number of field trips. Following the Friday evening program, there will be presentations on Astronomy and Night Critters and Moth Viewing, both beginning at 9 p.m.

Saturday field trips include:

— 6:30 a.m. Early Birds start at Visitors Center

— 7:30 a.m. Porchlight Insects at Conference Center

— 8:30 a.m. field trips begin at the field adjacent to the cabins entrance and include: Birds of Roan Mountain; Jones Falls Hike; Twin Springs Trifecta; Nature Retreat Hike to Raven’s Rock; Birding for Beginners; Reptiles and Amphibians; Geology/Paleoecology Hike; Centipedes and Millipedes

Participants will meet back at the Conference Center at 11 a.m. for programs on fossil casting and flint knapping.

Following lunch, there will be a presentation on the history of Roan Mountain State Park at 1 p.m. at the Conference Center.

Afternoon field trips which begin at 2 p.m. include: Mindful Walking; Aquatic Insects as Water Quality Indicators; Mosses and Liverworts; Riverside Wildflower Hike; Raven Rocks Hike; Habitats Stroll; Spruce Fir Hike and Photography; and Butterflies.

Following Friday night’s program, there will be programs on Night Sky Viewing and Moth Viewing.

Sunday includes a program at 7:30 a.m. at the Conference Center on porchlight insects.

Field trips begin at 8:30 a.m. and include Birds of Hampton Creek Cove and the Ed Schell Memorial Hike to Doe River Gorge.

Field trips are also scheduled at 2 p.m. and include salamanders and creepy crawlies.

Those who wish to attend the spring rally can register online at: or onsite at the rally. Reservations for meals must be made by Tuesday, April 23.

Jennifer Bauer, Manager of Sycamore Shoals State Park, and long-time participant in the Roan Mountain Naturalist Rallies, noted Roan Mountain is a very special place. “Rising up to 6,285 feet in elevation, it is one of the highest peaks in the eastern United States. As a part of the Southern Appalachians, it is located in northeastern Tennessee and northwestern North Carolina. Spruce and fir forests can be found at the higher elevations which contain a number of rare and endemic species of flora and fauna. Another special feature of ‘The Roan’ are the high mountain balds, rare and mostly treeless areas have a unique variety of plants and animals. In the lower elevations Northern Hardwood Cove Forests can be found that have some of the richest species diversity throughout most of the temperate regions of the planet,” said Bauer.

She encourages outdoor enthusiasts, who want to learn more about their surroundings, to participate in the weekend of activities. “It is great for both students and seniors,” she shared.