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Five more spring nature walks scheduled on Oak Ridge Reservation

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 12, 2017 – Five more nature walks are scheduled this spring on the Department of Energy ‘s Oak Ridge Reservation.

They include a wildflower walk Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 23, a bird walk Saturday, April 29, frog calls and bat monitoring Friday, May 19 and a reptiles and amphibians inventory Sunday, June 4.

The April 15 wildflower walk from 9 until 11 a.m. will be highlighted by a viewing of the pink lady’s slipper, which is a native orchid with a showy pink flower. ORNL’s Jamie Herold will be the guide.

Participants should meet at the west entrance to the North Boundary Greenway along Highway 95 just east of the intersection with Highway 58. Reservations must be made by noon Thursday, April 13 by calling Tracy Clem, 865-574-5151, Walkers should have good balance and stamina as the hike includes some rough terrain of about two miles.

The April 23 wildflower walk will take place from 1:30 until 5 p.m. in the Gallaher Bend Greenway and led by Herold and Larry Pounds. Walkers will see many native spring wildflowers along the trail, which will provide a great learning opportunity. Walking will be off trail in moderately rough terrain between two and three miles.

The group will meet at 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education building at the corner of Bethel Valley and Pumphouse roads. The walk is limited to 25 and children are allowed.

The April 29 bird walk runs from 8 until 11 a.m. along Freels Bend and will focus on observing birds of prey and many sparrows in the extensive native grass fields, migrating warblers in the early successional and mature forested areas and wading birds in the waters along the Clinch River. Leaders are ORNL’s Kelly Roy and Trent Jett. A field guide to birds and binoculars are recommended. The group will meet at 8 a.m. at ORISE.

The May 19 frog calls and bat monitoring event runs from 8 until 10 p.m. as participants will visit some small impounded waterbodies along the Freels Bend causeway to learn how ORNL personnel are monitoring local bat populations and how to identify local frog populations based on calls. Nikki Jones and Kitty McCracken will lead the group along a one-mile level dirt and gravel road. A reliable flashlight is recommended as the walk will occur after sunset. The walk is limited to 25 and children are allowed.

The June 4 reptiles and amphibians inventory will take place from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Solway Bend and will be led by John Byrd and Kathy Strunk . Several turtle species will be collected and there will be a presentation about local snake identification and management of local herpetological populations. The walk is over dirt and gravel roads and through fields of limited distance. The event is limited to 20. Children are allowed and there will be opportunities for children to get involved and learn about the animals. Participants should have good balance. The group will meet at 1:30 p.m. at ORISE.

Reservations must be made in advance of each walk and the deadline is noon each Thursday prior to a particular walk. To make reservations, contact Tracy Clem, 865-574-5151,

Participants to each walk should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, bring bug spray and water. Most walks are along dirt and gravel trails of about two miles. Service animals are permitted, but must remain under the control of the owner at all times.

More information is available by calling Trent Jett of ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division at 865-574-9188,

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit