RMR-013: Rhododendron Bloom update, Baatany Goat Project update and Birdbanding with Mark Hopey

The Rhododendron Festivals in Bakersville NC and Roan Mountain TN had great weather last weekend. Some Catawaba rhododendron blooms were open, but you had to search for them. As of June 19, the blooms were coming in at Carver’s Gap and in the gardens. The next week or so will be well worth the trip to see the display that helps to make Roan Mountain the Jewel of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Todd_Eastin_as_goats_march_byThe 6th summer of the Baatany Goat Project got off to a great start on Wednesday. Thirty-two goats were unloaded and all reported for duty on top of Jane Bald.  Great weather and a great group of volunteer goatherds made for an “uneventful” march up to their first paddock on Jane Bald. The new dog (rightly named Big Dog) was easy to get along with and quickly took up his patrol of the perimeter.  I can’t wait for the eleven month-old kids to get settled and begin acting like . . . . kids.

The Southern Appalachian Raptor Research’s Vacation Bird School is July 5-8Hark Hopey demonstrates birdbanding at the Xtreme Roan Adventures. Mark Hopey is the director of the Southern Appalachian Raptor Research and is based out of his perch on Big Bald Mountain just over the North Carolina line from Erwin TN. Mark is also an expert at calling owls. That talent will be on display on Friday evening, July 26, at the Roan Mountain State Park amphitheater as a part of the Xtreme Roan Adventures.



Big Bald Banding and the Vacation Bird School


Goat Adoption Forms

Xtreme Roan Adventures .org

Xtreme Roan Adventures registration form

Author’s Google+
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RMR-012: Rhododendron Bloom Report and Baatany Goat Project update with Jamey Donaldson

rhododendron-blooms-in-mistRhododendron Bloom Report as of June 4 with Jamey Donaldson

Jamey Donaldson is my “go to” botanist and best source for scientific answers on the Roan. He not only lives near the top of the mountain, but he is a meticulous observer of all of the changes that occur on the mountain.

Jamey will teaching the Smoky Mountain Field School session on Roan Mountain on Saturday June 8.

Goats-on-Jane-BaldBaatany Goat Project update with Jamey Donaldson

This will be the sixth year of the Baatany Goat Project. It is a scientific study using Angora goats to restore and preserve some of the grassy balds of the Roan Mountain highlands. There is a limited season due to severe weather conditions. The goats will be up on the mountain June 20 until mid-September.

The project is funded with grants and your donations. You can “Adopt-a-Goat” for a month, a summer, or for the year. This is your chance to be an important part of helping to restore and preserve the grassy balds.



Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival June 15-16


Goat adoption form:  http://www.baatany.org/documents/goat_brochure.pdf

Tennessee State Parks Online Campsite Reservations

RMR-011: “Eye of the Newt and Toe of the Frog” – Lisa Powers’ topic Tennessee’s Spellbinding Amphibians

Spellbinding Amphibians

The Friends of Roan Mountain’s 55th annual Spring Naturalists Rally is a full weekend of outdoor education and fun for the whole family. The after-dinner speaker on Saturday, May 4, is Lisa Powers. She is a well-published nature writer and photographer and herpetologist.
Her topic and slide presentation is titled “Eye of the Newt and Toe of the Frog”. How cool is that?salamander
Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians. In Tennessee there are a lot of frogs and salamanders to study. There are at least twenty-one species of frogs and over fifty-six species of salamanders. (Newts are part of the family of salamanders.)

Roan Mountain is a great place for salamanders.

Lisa Powers' unique chandelier

Lisa Powers’ unique chandelier

See more of her photography at Froghaven Farm.
Be sure to read her very interesting article “Frog Watch USA” in the Friends of Roan Mountain Spring Newsletter.

This will be a great evening of outdoor entertainment. The perfect way to finish off your jam-packed day on the mountain.

Be sure to get your dinner reservations in by Tuesday, April 30.

You can still register at the door for the hikes and programs, but dinner is on your own.
Get your registration and schedule here: FriendsofRoanMtn.org.


Froghaven Farm

Salamander poster (.PDF) (Be patient.This is a very large file.)

Frog Watch USA

Center for Snake Conservation

Project Noah.org

Spring Rally brochure, registration, and schedule

Friends of Roan Mountain Spring Newsletter

RMR-010: “Flora-Lore” – Tavia Cathcart – much more than just flowers

Tavia Cathcart is a master story teller and a wildflower fanatic. So of course when she combines these two talents she calls it “Flora-Lore”.bloodroot-flower
Her presentation at the Friends of Roan Mountain’s 55th annual Spring Naturalists’ Rally is titled: The Wonders of Wildflower.

After hearing her enthusiasm about wildflowers you will be caught up in her excitement too.

The Rally starts on Friday evening May 3, at the Roan Mountain State Park conference center.  Tavia’s presentation will follow the dinner Friday evening, May 3.

Here is a special treat: the 2013 Friends of Roan Mountain Spring Newsletter.
Nancy Barrigar has done an excellent job with this publication. (Even if she did put my picture in it.)


Spring Naturalists Rally brochure,registration and schedule

Friends of Roan Mountain Spring 2013 Newsletter

Creasy Mahan Nature Preserve, Goshen KY

Tavia’s books:

Wildflower of Tennessee, Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians       Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

RMR-009: Friends of Roan Mountain 55th Annual Spring Naturalists’ Rally preview

This week’s podcast is an overview of the 55th Annual Spring Naturalists’ Rally coming to Roan Mountain on May 3-4-5. I received my Friends of Roan Mountain Spring Naturalists’ Rally brochure and schedule. What a great line-up of hikes! Nineteen hikes and activities plus two  really exciting evening programs.


Check out the schedule for yourself. You’ll have a hard time deciding which activities to include in your day on the mountain.

Many “Kid Friendly” hikes are included so the whole family can enjoy the Roan Mountain weekend.



55th Annual Spring Naturalists Rally schedule and registration

Roan Mountain State Park online campground reservation