South Cumberland State Park is located within four different Tennessee counties: Grundy, Franklin, Marion and Sequatchie. The park is composed of approximately 30,845 acres in nine separate areas and boasts some of the best hiking and backcountry camping in the region.
The Friends of South Cumberland is proud to offer the Tennessee Naturalist Program to its members. In a series of ten four-hour classes designed to introduce adult learners to the natural history of Tennessee. Graduates join a critical corps of volunteers providing nature education, outreach, and service to the Park. Classes are scheduled in two semesters, from September to November and February to May, and are usually held on Saturday mornings. The classwork is divided between lectures, hands-on activities and many hours of outdoor immersion. Topics include geology, forests, plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, aquatic ecosystems, trail building and interpretation. The fieldwork portion of the course can be physically demanding, with off-trail hikes on steep hills and rough terrain, and some night activities. Among those who have served as volunteer instructors are Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath; Sewanee professors Bran Potter, Ken Smith and Kirk Zigler; Sewanee Herbarium Curators Mary Priestley and Yolande Gottfried; TWRA rehabilitator Margaret Matens; and State Park Rangers Jessie McNeel, Jason Reynolds, Philip Hylen and Mark Taylor, and former St. Andrews-Sewanee instructor Ron Ramsey. This outstanding group of educators and naturalists makes each session lively and memorable.