• 72°

Roan Mountain Naturalist Rally scheduled Sept. 10-12

The 59th Annual Roan Mountain Naturalist Rally is scheduled for Sept. 10-12 and this year will feature programs by Dr. Fred J. Alsop III and Cade Campbell.
The Friday evening program, “Vanishing Birds and Live-Streaming Bald Eagles,” at 7:30 p.m. will feature Alsop, who is faculty emeritus at East Tennessee State University where he served as Chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences.
Alsop currently serves as director of the George L. Carter Railroad Museum.
He has had years of experience as an ornithologist, with research, field studies, and birding expeditions all over the U.S. and numerous countries. His “Life List” includes almost 5,000 species seen worldwide. Alsop is an avid field biologist and naturalist, lecturer and teacher, traveler, international natural history tour leader, wildlife photographer, and author.
Dr. Alsop has written 18 books on birds, including Birds of the Smokies and All About Tennessee Birds.
He is founder and direction of Biological Sciences/ETSU EagleCam Project since 2015, live-streaming the nesting lives of two pairs of local Bald Eagles globally.
At Friday night’s program, Alsop will preview an article published in Science in the fall of 2019 which documented the long-held feeling by many ornithologists and birders that North America was steadily losing birds of many species. Long-time birders often reflected that there were not as many birds as there used to be, and the report proved they were right. Alsop will discuss the causes for avian decline and what may be done to slow it or even reverse the trend. He will also look at the local live-streaming project focused on nesting Bald Eagles and how it was achieved.
Prior to the program there will be a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m., which requires prepaid reservations by Tuesday, Sept. 7.
The Saturday program will include field trips, beginning with an Early Birds Trips at 6:30 a.m. by the Lee & Lois Herndon Chapter TOS.
Field trips at 8:30 a.m. include Birds, Wildflowers, Useful Plants, Mushrooms, Spiders, and Snakes.
From 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. conference center activity will include Fossil Casting for All Ages led by Mick Whitelaw of the ETSU Dept. of Geology and Geoscience Club.
Bag lunches will be available at 12 noon by pre-paid reservation only, or you may bring your own lunch.
During lunch there will be a Nature Images Slide Show by Marty Silver.
Afternoon field trips at 2 p.m. will feature Field Ecology, Geology of Roan Mountain Birds, Butterflies and Wildflowers of Twin Springs, Wildlife Tracking, Mosses & Liverworts, Salamanders, and Singing Insects of Roan Mountain.
A buffet dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. with a prepaid reservation by Tuesday, Sept. 7.
At 7:30 p.m., Cade Campbell will present a program on the Singing Insects of Roan Mountain.
Campbell is an undergraduate student at East Tennessee State University. A Roan scholar, he is studying biology. He has been attending these rallies since he was nine years old and now leads trips and serves as a speaker at these rallies. 
Cade has honed his skills doing research funded with a Coleopterists Society Youth Incentive Award grant, where he studied dung beetle biodiversity in high-elevation peat bogs, and work as a field technician tor the 2nd Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas through Virginia Tech, among other organizations with which he has volunteered.
Last summer he worked as a naturalist/educator intern at the Blue Ridge Discovery Center and has written articles for the Friends of Roan Mountain Newsletter, Tennessee Conservationist, and Tennes-Sierran.
He is also an Eagle Scout and spends as much time possible exploring the region’s wilderness through wildlife photography, fishing, kayaking, etc.
At the evening program, Cade will be sharing about the sounds of insects heard in the crisp, cool fall evenings. He will be sharing the results and natural history stories from his Friends of Roan Mountain grant-funded study to record singing insect diversity of the Roan Mountain massif by physically recording and compiling the songs of katydids, crickets, cicadas, and even a few rogue species of other insects living right here on Roan Mountain.
The Sunday program will include field trips at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The morning field trips will include birds, rare plants of the Roan Highlands, and mushrooms. The afternoon field trips will include butterflies and other insects, and birds of prey.
For registration information, go to: www.friendsofroanmtn.org or www.facebook.com/Friends of Roan Mountain.