April 1-9 marks Tennessee State Natural Areas Spring Celebration Week. Guests are invited to attend statewide naturalist-led activities at these ecologically significant areas, many of which are free for participants.
“Tennessee is fortunate to have 85 natural areas across the state,” said Roger McCoy, director of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Natural Areas. “Spring is a prime time to see these areas in their full glory, which include rare plant habitats, breathtaking views and incredible geologic features.”
The list of family-friendly events includes canoe excursions, birds of prey programs, wildflower hikes and more. TDEC will also be celebrating the public grand opening of the state’s newest natural area at noon on Friday, April 7. Window Cliffs State Natural Area, located near Burgess Falls State Park in Putnam County, boasts a 5.4-mile roundtrip hiking trail with a total of 20 bridgeless stream crossings.
Tennessee is comprised of more than 122,000 acres of Natural Areas that the Tennessee Natural Areas Preservation Act protects. TDEC’s Natural Areas Program seeks to include sites that adequately represent all of the natural communities that make up Tennessee’s landscape, including rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal life. Spanning east to west, the state’s natural areas represent some of Tennessee’s best examples of intact ecosystems.
For most events, space is limited and reservations are required. Trips may be canceled in the event of inclement weather. To see the full schedule and RSVP, visit http://tn.gov/assets/entities/environment/attachments/na_natural-areas-celebration-events.pdf. More information about TDEC’s Division of Natural Areas can be found here: http://tn.gov/environment/section/na-natural-areas.