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.


Segment Of Yellow Trail Closed At Chickamauga Battlefield

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park is advising the public that a .73 mile segment of the Yellow Trail in Chickamauga Battlefield will be closed effective March 27, and will remain closed until further notice.  The section of trail that is closed runs parallel to Reed’s Bridge Road, in between the parking pull-off areas for the Blue Trail and the Green Trail. ... (click for more)

3 New Members Join TFWC; Largemouth Bass Record Holder Visits Meeting

The man who broke the state record for a largemouth bass was recognized at the March meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission on Thursday. In addition, the TFWC welcomed three new members. Gabe Keen was a guest at the meeting and was presented a certificate for his state record catch of 15 pounds, 3 ounces which came Friday, Feb. 13 on Chickamauga Reservoir. ... (click for more)

Hard Freeze Predicted In The Area For Saturday Night

Temperatures are expected to drop Saturday night to 28 degrees or less. Here is the latest report from the National Weather Service:  HARD FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT EDT /11 PM CDT/ TONIGHT TO 11 AM EDT /10 AM CDT/ SUNDAY... * EVENT... A HARD FREEZE EXPECTED WITH LOWS FROM THE TEENS NORTH TO THE UPPER 20S SOUTH LATE TONIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING. ... (click for more)

Man Charged In Shooting On Sixth Avenue Had Been Shot Himself Last Week; Police Say Incident "Part Of Gang War"

A man charged with attempted first-degree murder on Sixth Avenue Court on Thursday afternoon was shot himself earlier this month. O'Shae Kadaris Smith, 20, of 2114 E. 12th St., is also charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was one of two people shot on Rawlings Street on March 16. Kendre Allen, ... (click for more)

Finley Stadium Needs To Grow Up - And Response

RE:  Finley Stadium Financial Picture Rosy; Beer And Alcohol Sales Approved; AstroTurf Almost Ready and City, County Pitching In $250,000 Each For New Finley Stadium AstroTurf I read a story here five days ago about a rosy future for Finley stadium. It lead me to believe that the stadium was making money and even improvements with donations.  Then we get a short ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Mom’s Parting Instructions

My mother, Helen Exum, went to be with the Lord in late August of last year and, in the way folks do, I was going through some of her files last week when I ran across an envelope with my name on it. Inside was a story and written in her hand were the words, “This is a wonderful story for you to tell!” Not being one to disobey my mother and not about to waylay the wishes of the ... (click for more)