August 27th , 2012 9:30 am Leave a comment

Fall Roan Mountain Naturalists’ Rally will observe golden anniversary Sept. 7

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Fall Roan Mountain Naturalists’ Rally

will observe golden anniversary Sept. 7

The Fall Roan Mountain Naturalists’ Rally will celebrate a major milestone this September when the annual three-day event celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The rally originated 50 years ago from the vision of the late Freddie Behrend, a German immigrant to Carter County as well as a former editor at the Elizabethton STAR. Behrend helped make the vision into a reality with the establishment of the first Roan Mountain Naturalists Rally. Nature enthusiasts have been coming to Roan Mountain on the weekend after Labor Day ever since to celebrate the natural beauty of the Roan.

The 2012 fall rally will be held Sept. 7-9. The event will continue to celebrate the natural world with three days of nature hikes, workshops and programs. The rally will also feature two top speakers — Roan Mountain authority Jennifer Bauer and Pisgah National Forest botanist David Danley — on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 7-8.

Retired Elizabethton High School teacher Gary Barrigar will be celebrating his 18th year as the director in charge of organizing the fall rally.

“This celebration of Roan Mountain has endured and grown since its beginning,” Barrigar said. “It is personally gratifying to me to be a part of this 50-year adventure.”

Barrigar added that the number and scope of rally events and attendance have greatly increased through the years.

This year’s rally will offer more trips than ever for participants, including two for handicapped folks. Because of the continued support of the Friends of Roan Mountain, all the rallies have the resources they need to prosper and grow.

Barrigar pointed out that FORM provides support for research and restoration projects on the Roan and encourages people to consider joining the organization. FORM members get free admission to all Naturalists’ Rally events and a subscription to the newsletter, “Friends of Roan Mountain.”

Barrigar also expressed thanks to Roan Mountain State Park for a record of long-time support of the Naturalists’ Rallies.

Evening and lunch programs will take place in Roan Mountain State Park’s Conference Center, and field trips will leave from the field located on the left before reaching the entrance to the rental cabins in the park.

Jennifer Bauer, the current park manager at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park and a former naturalist with Roan Mountain State Park, is the featured Friday evening speaker. She will discuss her latest book, Roan Mountain, History of an Appalachian Treasure.

Although a native of Maryland, the upper East Tennessee mountains have long been home for Bauer. She is a three-time graduate of East Tennessee State University with degrees in biology, art, teaching and science education. Employed as a park manager at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area in Elizabethton, she began her career in the role of park interpretive specialist at Roan Mountain State Park, serving for 21 years prior to promotion.

Of utmost importance in her professional and personal life is becoming a good environmental and cultural educator, coupled with a strong belief in the importance of conservation and preservation.

In 2007, she wrote Wildlife, Wildflowers and Wild Activities: Exploring Southern Appalachia, a collection of creative ways friends and families can explore the outdoors. She is also the author of Roan Mountain: A Passage of Time and the recently released Roan Mountain, History of an Appalachian Treasure.

Bauer noted that she has two beautiful daughters and two granddaughters who are the joy of her life. Hiking, nature study, clogging, weaving, natural dyeing, spinning, watercolor painting and music are but a few pastimes of interest to her. Bauer, one of the founders of the FORM, serves as co-director of the Spring Roan Mountain Naturalists’ Rally.

Her program will delve into the way Roan Mountain’s remarkable ecosystem has enchanted people for centuries, beginning with the first native inhabitants. Later came pioneering settlers and celebrated naturalists such as John Muir. Hard-working miners and loggers, eager to make a living from the land, claimed a stake to the mountain’s resources. Ambitious businessmen such as John T. Wilder, whose Cloudland Hotel helped make Roan a tourist destination in the late 1870s, saw the potential in the Roan as a way to draw visitors to the mountain.

Today, conservationists, researchers and nature lovers of all kinds flock here to experience the flora and fauna unique to this region of the Appalachians. Preserving Roan’s ecological heritage has proven both a challenge and a triumph for the mountain’s dedicated supporters. Bauer will base her program on her recently-released book, Roan Mountain, History of an Appalachian Treasure, which features previously unpublished color photographs to recount the fascinating natural and social history of this marvelous highland landscape.

As she does each year, Bauer is looking forward to this year’s rally.

“Fifty years certainly is quite a milestone for the Fall Roan Mountain Naturalists’ Rally,” she said. “Many thoughts come to mind when I reflect on that accomplishment and the untold numbers of people who have volunteered their time to keep the event on track! What especially impresses me is the commitment of folks who have selflessly shared their time and expertise to make this family, educational venue a reality from day one — and now in 2012.”

Bauer became involved in the late 1980s working to organize the annual spring rally. Before then, the rallies had been organized by Edna Potter, Roan Mountain, and the

The 2012 Fall Roan Mountain Naturalists’ Rally will kick off Friday, Sept. 7, at the Roan Mountain State Park Conference Center.

Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. Cost of meal is $9 for adults and $4.50 for children 12 and under. Deadline for reservations for the buffet meal is Tuesday, Sept. 4.

On Saturday, Sept. 8, a selection of sandwiches — turkey and swiss, ham and cheese, chicken salad and pimento cheese — are available for $5.50. They can be picked up at noon at the Conference Center. These bag lunches must also be reserved in advance.

A dinner will also precede the Saturday evening program. Cost is the same as for the Friday meal and advance payment and reservations are required.

In addition, there is a $5 charge for programs and hikes. Members of the Friends of Roan Mountain can enjoy the programs and hikes at no cost.

Annual dues for FORM are $15 for individuals, $20 for a family membership and $10 for students. A corporate membership is available for $45. Lifetime individual and family memberships are also available.

To register for this year’s rally, go to the Friends Of Roan Mountain website at www. friendsofroanmtn.org.

Mail prepaid reservations to: Nancy Barrigar, Treasurer, 708 Allen Ave., Elizabethton, TN 37643.

Photo by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 

A variety of migrating birds, such as this Nashville Warbler, attract participants each year for the Fall Roan Mountain Fall Naturalists’ Rally.

For more information, call Gary Barrigar at 543-7576 or email him at gbarrigar@friendsofroanmtn. org.

Unless otherwise noted, Saturday field trips will leave from the field located on the left before the entrance to the RMSP rental cabins.

A workshop on nature photography will be conducted by Jerry Greer at 6:15 a.m.

An “Early Bird” walk will be conducted by members of the Lee and Lois Herndon Chapter of Tennessee Ornithological Society at 7 a.m.

Other walks will commence at 8:30 a.m. on the following topics:

• Birds with members of the Lee and Lois Herndon Chapter of TOS.

• Trees with Foster Levy.

• Wildflowers with Guy Mauldin.

• Mushrooms with Ken Crouse.

• Nature Hike for Kids with Meg Guy.

• A strenuous hike from Hughes Gap to Carver’s Gap with Tim McDowell.

• Medicinal and Edible Plants with Marty Silver.

• Nature walk along a handicapped-accessible trail along a stream and through a wetland with Pat Gagan.

• Nature photography with Jerry Greer. Participants should bring their cameras.

In addition, Kris Light will offer a 10 a.m. hike focusing on wildlife pollinators.

Reserved bagged lunches can be picked up at noon at the Conference Center. A lunchtime workshop on fossil casting will be offered by Mick Whitelaw and the East Tennessee State University Geosciences Club.

Afternoon hikes commence at 2 p.m. and include the following topics:

• Stream Ecology with Bart Carter and Gary Barrigar.

• Reptiles with Jacob Young.

• Wildflowers with Joe Taft.

• Roan Mountain geology with Mick Whitelaw.

• The wildflowers and trees of Shell Hollow Trail with David Hall.

• A Southern Stroll through the North Country with Jerry Nagel. This hike is handicapped accessible.

• Animal tracks and signs with Marty Silver.

• Butterflies and insects with Larry McDaniel.

A meeting of the Friends of Roan Mountain will be held at 5:45 p.m. prior to the meal and evening program. After the program, a “Moth Party” will celebrate these nocturnal winged insects at 9 p.m.

Sunday hikes will commence at 8 a.m. with a bird walk with members of the Lee and Lois Herndon Chapter of TOS, rare plants with Dave Danley and mushrooms with Gabrielle Zeiger.

Two activities will also be offered at 10 a.m. These activities include a hike on butterflies and other insects with Don Holt and a workshop on outdoor photography with David Ramsey.

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