24th Sandhill Crane Festival Set For Jan. 17-18

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be among the organizations set to host the 2015 Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival to be held on Jan. 17-18, at the Hiwassee Refuge and at the Birchwood Community Center. This will be the 24th anniversary for the event.

The Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival is a celebration of the thousands of sandhill cranes that migrate through or spend the winter on and around the Hiwassee Refuge in Birchwood. It is also an opportunity to focus attention on the rich wildlife heritage of the state and the Native American history of the area.

“If you enjoy National Geographic magazine's photos and educational TV programs, then you can experience the wonder of Tennessee wildlife by watching not only thousands of sandhill cranes, but also see endangered whooping cranes, bald and golden eagles, and a variety of other native wildlife species at the Hiwassee Refuge," said Kirk Miles, Wildlife manager, Region 3 and festival committee chairman. “In addition to the wildlife viewing, there are also craft vendors, food, free shuttle buses, and activities for the entire family.”

The festival will run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. (EST) each day. Free bus shuttle service will be available from the Birchwood Community Center to the Hiwassee Refuge and Cherokee Removal Memorial Park each day.  No public parking is available at the refuge.

The American Eagle Foundation will present a live raptor show each day at 2 p.m. at the community center. In addition, TWRA Ornithologist Scott Somershoe will present an update on the status and research concerning Tennessee’s golden eagle population on Saturday.

Various vendors will be at the community center selling a wide-range of items. Music, special programs, and children’s activities will be ongoing throughout each day. In addition, breakfast will be available for purchase at the community center each day from 7-8 a.m. and lunch will be available from 11:30-a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

The nearby Cherokee Removal Memorial will feature Native American folklore specialists. They present performances, artifacts and objects used in everyday life by Native American inhabitants in the Hiwassee River area.

Along with the wildlife viewing at the refuge, wildlife and birding experts will be on hand. They will provide visitors with a unique educational experience by sharing viewing scopes and information.

Beginning in the early 1990s, the recovering population of eastern sandhill cranes began stopping at the Hiwassee Refuge on their way to and from their wintering grounds in Georgia and Florida. TWRA has been managing this refuge for over 60 years for waterfowl, and the cranes found a perfect combination of feeding and shallow water roosting habitat. Now as many as 12,000 of these birds spend the entire winter at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Tennessee rivers.

The Hiwassee Refuge comprises about 6,000 acres. The Birchwood Community Center is only three miles from the wildlife-viewing site at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge.  The Cherokee Removal Memorial is found just to the side of the refuge near the Tennessee River.


TWRA Leasing Fields For 2016 Dove Season

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking fields to lease for the upcoming 2016 dove season. The first segment of dove season opens at noon on Thursday, Sept. 1. According to officials, mourning doves are a popular game bird and one of the most widely distributed and abundant birds in North America. More mourning doves are harvested than all other migratory bird species ... (click for more)

5th Permit For 2016 Elk Hunt To Be Auctioned On eBay, July 28-Aug.7

The fifth permit for participation in Tennessee’s eighth managed elk hunt will be awarded to the successful bidder in an eBay auction to be held from July 28-Aug 7. Proceeds from the auction benefit the state’s elk restoration program. Since the elk hunt was implemented in 2009, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has donated a permit to a Non-Governmental Organization ... (click for more)

Man, 28, Shot And Killed In East Chattanooga

A 28-year-old man was shot and killed in East Chattanooga early Friday morning. The victim was identified as Jeremy Clark, a brother of House candidate Dennis Clark. Dennis Clark said, "Jeremy, a beloved son, my younger brother and dear friend to many, was taken from us too soon. The pain from our sudden and tragic loss is Indescribable. He was a compassionate and fun-loving ... (click for more)

Michael Ford Sentenced To More Than 13 Years In Prison On Drug Charges

Michael Shawn Ford has been sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison on drug charges. On April 20, 2105, Ford was arrested at his house in East Ridge. Police found him hiding in the closet with a laundry bag which contained a loaded pistol and 7.9 grams of crystal meth. Officers said that two backpacks were found in the same bedroom, one with 257.3 grams of crystal meth ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Don’t Kick A Man’s Neck

From the minute my brothers and I each became cognizant, my dad started teaching us the rules of becoming a man. Dad was from deep in Mississippi and he’d been taught a lot of life’s secrets from his father. These lessons have been passed for generations and, the older I have become, I’m convinced a lot of them were borne from The Sermon on the Mount. Our favorite, back in the ... (click for more)