63rd annual Naturalist Rally takes place in Roan Mountain after COVID-19 absence

Published 4:19 pm Monday, April 25, 2022

Over the weekend, The Friends of Roan Mountain hosted its 63rd annual Naturalist Rally.
The rallies are organized for anyone interested in the local nature and wildlife. The events began on Friday evening with Kris Light, a guest speaker from Nashville, who presented about monarch butterflies.
The events continued through Saturday and Sunday morning. “We like to provide a variety of events so there is always something for everyone. We want as many people to come out as possible,” says Gary Barrigar, the president of The Friends of Roan Mountain.
Many of the events were led by volunteers or rangers from local state parks.
Marty Silver of Warrior’s Path and Cory Franklin of Sycamore Shoals led different activities. The rally has become famous locally and even state-wide. “I’ve been traveling here from Georgia for the past few years just for this event. I love the community and how involved everyone is,” said Shirley Andrews.
There are rallies held during all seasons of the year. These quarterly events are intended to promote the education of nature and raise funding for The Friends of Roan Mountain.
The event is open for all ages and welcomes everyone of all skill levels.
“It was upsetting to not have a rally in 2020 but I’m very glad to see it back,” said George Kemp of Kingsport.
Although many events were nature-based, there were also other historical speakers and presenters. Some examples included “Flint Knapping” by Bob Estep and “Leonardo da Vinci: Artist and Engineer” by Kenny Light.
Both presentations educated participants on historical techniques and figures. “I’m thankful to be able to show the community the rich cultural history of something just as simple as weapon making,” said Estep.

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