TNP Spring Newsletter March 20, 2023

Spring begins with the Vernal Equinox, Monday, March 20, 2023, 5:24 p.m. (ET)

The spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, also called the March equinox or vernal equinox, occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator going south to north.

Plan Ahead for wonderful

Tennessee Naturalist Program Continuing Education Workshops

April 2023
Middle Tennessee
TN2 - The Amphibians and Reptiles of Cedar Glades and Forests – Lebanon, TN
April 29, 2023                                    10:00AM - 2:00PM                CEU Credits - 4
Registration Limited to 20 students      Registration Fee -TBA      
Instructors:    Pandy Upchurch, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (Retired), Tennessee Healthy Habitats
                        Lisa Powers, Froghaven Farm, Tennessee Snake ID Website
Meet at the West Richmond Shop Road parking lot for Cedars of Lebanon State Natural Area. This is at the intersection of Cedar Forest Road and West Richmond Shop Road, Lebanon, TN at Coordinates – N36.093281, W-86.371605
Program Description:
Join Master Herpetologists Pandy Upchurch, Retired TWRA, and Lisa Powers, Froghaven Farm, on a field trip to explore the amphibians and reptiles of the cedar forests and glades.  Six-lined Racerunners and Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toads are examples of the unique herpetofauna of these habitats.  Bring a pack with water, sunscreen, snacks, insect repellent and a hat.  These environs can be hot and bright, but they produce cool herps and beautiful wildflowers. 
June 2023
Middle Tennessee
TN2 - Cumberland Bicentennial Trail Amphibians and Reptiles After Dark – Ashland City, TN
June 17, 2023                                     6:00PM - 10:00PM                   CEU Credits – 4
Registration limited to 15 students            Registration Fee -  TBA                     
Instructors:    Pandy Upchurch, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (Retired), Tennessee Healthy Habitats
                         Lisa Powers, Froghaven Farm, Tennessee Snake ID Website
 Meet at the Mark’s Creek Trailhead of the Cumberland Bicentennial Trail, 177 Chapmansboro Road, Ashland City, TN 37015
Program Description:
Cheatham County is a wonderful herpetology destination.  It has amphibians and reptiles typically associated with the Coastal Plain such as Bird-voiced Treefrogs, Green Treefrogs and Western Cottonmouths as well as northern clime species such as Woodfrogs.  On this late spring nocturnal stroll (paved trail), the group should hear the bird-voiced, green and grey treefrogs alongside toads, peepers and cricket frogs.  Ranids such as green, bull and leopard frogs should also be calling.  Western Cottonmouths are possible.  So, wear boots.  Bring insect repellent, and headlamps if you have them.  This event will occur rain or clear unless weather is severe. 
July 2023
West Tennessee
TN2 Fungi — Mushrooms and Toadstools: An Introduction – Pinecrest Camp and Retreat Center, Moscow, TN
July 1, 2023,                            9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.                                 CEU Credits - 6
Registration limited to 15 students            Registration Fee $90.00            Registration Opens 5/15/23
Instructors:  Pat Miller and Margie Hunter
Meet at:  Pinecrest Camp and Retreat Center, 21430 Hwy 57, Moscow, TN 38057
Program Description: 
Ubiquitous, unassuming, and unusual, fungi play critical - typically overlooked - roles in our environment.  This 6-hour workshop explores their life histories, infinite variety, and ecological impact.  Students will explore local habitat, collect specimens, and learn readily observable physical characteristics for basic identification.
September 2023
Middle Tennessee
TN2 - Wild Edibles at the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Wilderness Station
September 30, 2023                10:00AM - 2:00PM                                   CEU Credits – 4
Registration limited to 20 students            Registration Fee – TBA                     
Instructor:     Pandy Upchurch, Tennessee Healthy Habitats, LLC
Meet at Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Barfield Crescent Park Wilderness Station
Program Description:
Join longtime forager Pandy Upchurch on a wild edible foray.  Examples of wild greens, fruits, roots, shoots and mushrooms will be shared.  Identification, preparation and ethical collection will be covered.  A hike will teach how to get started and the dos and don’ts of wild foraging.  Bring water, snacks, good walking shoes and a notebook. This event will occur rain or shine unless the weather is severe.


Your dedication is making a difference.

For year 2022

Volunteer Hours — 7,648.30

Continuing Education Hours — 1061.15 

Welcome New TNP Board Members!

TNP Goals for 2023 - 2025

Executive Director by 2025

Increase chapters to 15

Increase TN2 offerings

Thank a student, volunteer, instructor, chapter coordinator, staff ...

Submit the name of an individual or group to be acknowledged and thanked in the next newsletter.



First Statewide Trails & Trilliums /TNP Naturalist Rally April 21-23 

We are excited about plans for our first state TNP gathering, which will be held as part of the Trails & Trilliums naturalist rally, hosted by the Friends of South Cumberland State Park, which is one of eleven TNP chapters. The event is April 21-23 at the Beersheba Springs Conference Center in Beersheba TN. All current and past TNP participants are invited, and a number of the TNP founders and board members are taking part. Part of the fun of Trails & Trillium is meeting and hiking with naturalists from across TN. Please share this news with other people or groups who might want to attend. The event website is

Tennessee Invasive Plant Council 

Doug Tallamy to Speak at Discover Life in America’s Earth Day Event, April 22, 2023
Discover Life in America celebrates its 25th Anniversary with a reception hosting renowned entomologist, ecologist, and author Doug Tallamy as keynote speaker Saturday, April 22, 2023.  The evening program begins at 6:00 p.m. EST at the Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg, TN.  Tickets to the event are $10.  Register here.

Cumberland River Compact

April 6 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm @ (location information sent upon registration)
Teacher Kayak with the Cumberland River Compact
April 30 - May 7 Franklin, TN
Franklin Water Week 2023
Franklin Water Week returns April 30th to May 7th 2023. Join the Cumberland River Compact
June 2 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm @ Fort Donelson National Battlefield 120 Lock D Rd, Dover, TN
e-STEM for Tennessee’s Teachers Training Fort Donelson National Battlefield
June 16 @ 9:00 am - 2:00 pm @ Pellissippi State Community College
Life Support: Tennessee’s Water Resources and Careers Teacher Training

MTSU Center for Cedar Glade Studies

Please join us in 2023 for the Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival, the evening of May 5 and  all day May 6, 2023 at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. All events will take place outside, weather permitting. There is not a food concession at the park, so bring snacks/food if you are planning to spend the day. Keep in mind extreme weather or excessive rain will cancel most activities.

It's that time of year again!  Spring Wildflower Hikes are happening all over the state.  Be sure and check your local chapter and state natural areas and parks for a wildflower hike near you!

If you have an event you would like posted TNP's Newsletter and Website please use the form at:


Job Opportunity

Stoney Creek Farm in Franklin, TN.
Now Hiring - Summer Camp Instructors
Junior Naturalist camp
June 12th-23rd, 8:30am - 3:30pm. 

This is a part-time position for the two week camp, with the potential to lead to additional opportunities. 

  • Background check, first aid and CPR certification required. 
  • Must have experience working with children.

Preference given to Tennessee Naturalist students and/or a background in

environmental education.  TNP Volunteers are welcome!
Contact Cori Williams at (615) 542-3311 or

Camp is located at Stoney Creek Farm in Franklin, TN.


Tennessee Environmental Organizations

Cumberland River Compact           
Cumberland Trail Conference         
Foothills Land Conservancy           
Sierra Club Chapters in Tennessee           https://www.sierraclub.orgchapters/tn
Tennessee Clean Water Network    
Tennessee Environmental Council  
Tennessee Native Plant Society     
Tennessee Ornithological Society                 
Tennessee Pks and Greenways      
Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association
Tennessee Trails Association         
Tennessee Wild                           
The Nature Conservancy              
Wild Ones Middle Tennessee Chapter

Tennessee State Parks            

National Parks & Forests in Tennessee
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Cherokee National Forest                                 
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park          
Great Smoky Mountains National Park              
Obed Wild and Scenic River                             


Tennessee Naturalist Program Chapters

Chapter Volunteer Contacts
All of our chapters need experienced and knowledgeable volunteers to help fulfill each chapters' mission.  Contact your chapter's volunteer coordinator to reach out:

Audubon Acres, Chattanooga
Bay's Mountain, Kingsport    
Cumberland Mountain SP     
Discovery Park                         
Ijam's Nature Center, Knoxville
Long Hunter State Park         
Memphis Chapter @ Pinecrest
Murfreesboro Parks @ Barfield
Owl's Hill, Brentwood             
Paris Landing SP/TNWRA     
South Cumberland, Monteagle

Visit the TNP Website:

Interested in starting the next chapter of the Tennessee Naturalist Program? 

Send email to State Chapter Coordinator Nancy Garden at

Gear Up!


Tennessee Naturalist Program is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring the desire to learn and share Tennessee's nature.  We do not receive funding from any state or federal sources.  All donations are appreciated and can be sent to:

Tennessee Naturalist Program, Inc.
P.O. Box 682924
Franklin, TN 37068-2924

Or Donate online by clicking the link below: