Science at Sugarlands - Pollinators

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(presentation leader still being determined)
Pollinators are essential to our environment. The ecological service they provide is necessary for the reproduction of over 85% of the world’s flowering plants, including more than twothirds of the world’s crop species. The United States alone grows more than 100 crops that either need or benefit from pollinators, and the economic value of these native pollinators is estimated at $3 billion per year in the U.S. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems.
Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately 25% of all birds, and of mammals ranging from red-backed voles to black bears. In many places, the essential service of pollination is at risk from habitat loss, pesticide use, and introduced diseases.

Join us to learn more about what’s happening to pollinators in and out of the park. You will also learn about the new “Pollinator Garden” being installed at Sugarlands Visitor Center.


TVA Bioblitz at Little Cedar Mountain - 2016

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Location: Little Cedar Mountain Small Wild Area
Time: 9 AM to 4 PM
Leaders: Staff of Discover Life in America and Attending Scientists

* Click Here to Register

Directions: Take exit 158 on I-24 (turning left if westbound, right if eastbound). Immediately, you’ll see a sign on the right with an arrow pointing across the road to the Little Cedar Mountain Trail (a 4-mile loop). Take the gravel drive down to a parking area, which is adjacent to the interstate right-of-way fence.

More Little Cedar Details:

The Little Cedar Mountain Small Wild Area, just West of Chattanooga, is a gem in the TVA System of Public lands and lies along the shore of Nickajack Lake. In addition to the diversity of plant life, the mountain supports an abundance of wildlife. Deer and turkey are commonly spotted, and though the secretive animal is typically hard to catch sight of, coyote signs are also common. From one of the overlooks, it’s not unusual to catch sight of an osprey or even an occasional bald eagle.

Event Details: No experience is necessary. Participants will survey birds, butterflies and plants using nets and provided collection and preservation equipment. Experts will be on hand to train participants and identify species.

For the event, participants should:

  • Bring food and water for the day (we will be in a place where there are no stores or restaurants).
  • Dress for being outside and for whatever weather might arise.
  • Download the iNaturalist application on your phone or smart device. This app will be used to document species, information and locations.
  • Wear and bring sunscreen.

Join a BioBlitz, help inventory TVA public lands.

TVA and Discover Life in America are partnering to engage people in a biological inventory of TVA’s public lands with a bioblitz format.

These ‘BioBlitzes’ will be open to the public and will highlight field collection, specimen identification and education sessions on birds, butterflies and plants.

“These biological inventory events offer an opportunity to learn more about the biodiversity that surrounds us in our backyards and on public lands,” said Todd Witcher, Executive Director of Discover Life in America. “By collecting species occurrence data, these BioBlitzes will help TVA better manage natural areas while raising awareness of the wonderful biodiversity that exists all around.”

BioBlitzes are family friendly and offer opportunities for the public to have hands-on experiences and interactions with scientists, wildlife and the community at large. Anyone interested in Wildlife, Biology, Citizen Science, Biodiversity and getting outside are encouraged to participate.


Click to see a YouTube video for more info on bioblitzes!


Advance registration is required. Please click on the registration link above to let us know you will be there!


Myxomycete Blitz and Symposium

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The Myxomycete Blitz and Symposium will take place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from July 25-27, 2016. The symposium will take place on July 25 and the field collecting trips will occur on July 26 & 27.

** More Information? ... click Here **

Registration for this event has opened and can be completed by visiting the following site . The registration deadline is June 24, 2016. There are two registration categories (1) Regular $60.00 USD and (2) Student/Post-doc $45.00 USD. The cost of registration covers two boxed-lunches, transportation for the two field trips, and the use of the conference room.

Discounted lodging has been arranged at the River Terrace Resort and Convention Center in Gatlinburg, TN. There are two options (1) double queen, traditional view - $71.00/night and (2) double queen, river view - $93.00/night. The group code (61-166) along with additional information can be found in the attached document. Anyone interested in sharing a room in order to cut down on costs should let us know so that we can look at possible options.

If flying, you will book your flights through McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS). Plan to arrive on July 24 and depart on July 28. We will run two shuttles (1pm and 7pm) on July 24 to pick up arriving guests.

If you indicate on your registration form that you would like to give a presentation during the symposium someone will contact you with additional information.

If you have any questions contact Adam Rollins ( ) of Lincoln Memorial University or Steve Stephenson ( ) of the University of Arkansas.

Please be sure to share with anyone you think might be interested. We hope to see you in Gatlinburg this July.

Biodiversity Hike to Mt LeConte Lodge for 2016

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Our annual fund-raiser: the Biodiversity Hike to Mount LeConte Lodge will take place on the first weekend in August.

The trip begins with a guided hike up Alum Cave Bluff Trail with an experienced guide providing natural history, local human history, biodiversity lessons and much more along the way. We’ll be having a picnic lunch on the way up, an evening sunset program about the ATBI at Clifftops, and a chance to meet some new friends while learning a thing or two. You’ll be presented with handmade note cards from DLIA, and lodging with dinner and breakfast. All this for the price of $275 per person – and you will be supporting both DLIA and the Smokies ATBI program.

Reserve your reservation now while spots are still open! For reservations or more information, e-mail Todd at or call (865) 430-4757. The lodge will house two guests to a bed, so bring or friend or share a bed with another program participant.

Note: the Alum Cave Trail is being worked on this year so we may change the hike to Mount LeConte to another trail.  Stay tuned for more details to come.

Science at Sugarlands - Biodiversity

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Presentation: by Todd Witcher

Place: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Sugarlands Visitors Center, Gatlinburg, TN
Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Biological diversity is the resource upon which families, communities, nations and future generations depend. It is the link between all organisms on earth, binding each into an interdependent ecosystem, in which all species have their role. It is the web of life.

The Earth’s natural assets are made up of plants, animals, land, water, the atmosphere AND humans! Together we all form part of the planet’s ecosystems, which means if there is a biodiversity crisis, our health and livelihoods are at risk too.

But consider this: we are currently using 25% more natural resources than the planet can sustain! As a result species, habitats and local communities are under pressure and/or are directly threatened (for example from loss of access to fresh, clean water).

Speaking of Biodiversity ... here is one example ...

So far in the park, scientist have discovered over 1,800 species of butterflies and moths! And the above images are just a few adults. You should see the immatures (caterpillars)!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for the biological diversity found within the boundaries. What does this biodiversity do for all of us, and how is it changing?

Biodiversity underpins the health of the planet and has a direct impact on all our lives. Put simply, reduced biodiversity means millions of people face a future where food supplies are more vulnerable to pests and disease, and where fresh water is in irregular or short supply.

Learn about the Park’s biodiversity and an organization (Discover Life in America) focused on documenting and preserving biodiversity in the Park and around the world.


--- Headquarters for Discover Life in America

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We are excited to announce that our 2016 annual Salamander Ball fundraising event is on the calendar again for this year!  Thanks again to our friends at Zoo Knoxville for being the hosting site.

The following are some of the features of this Masquerade Ball and Fundraiser for DLIA.

  • Live music with The Vibraslaps
  • The Smokies Critter Parade - come dressed as your favorite Smokies critter!
  • Silent Auction
  • Local Beer, Wine, and Pollywog Punch
  • hors d'oeuvres by Holly's Eventful Catering
  • Free Zoo Admission with the Purchase of a Salamander Ball Ticket
  • The Chance to Get Together with Other Supporters of DLIA and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Other Details:

  • Date: Sunday, September 18, 2016
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Place: Zoo Knoxville in Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Tickets: $75 for adults and kids 12 and under free!
  • Info and Ticket Purchases: click here, or call 865-430-4756.

I have an idea!

Why not bring your kids and/or grand kids to the Zoo's Kid's Cove, and then finish the day off with some fun at the Salamander Ball!? There will be music, food, and fun for all!

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