TNP Autumn Newsletter September 23, 2023

Fall begins with the Autumnal Equinox

Saturday, September 23, 2023, 02:50 A.M. EDT

The autumnal equinox begins when the sun crosses the equator going from north to south.

Tennessee Naturalist Program Courses:

Currently all core courses are either in progress or have recently completed a term. (TNP core courses are taken as a whole and are not offered individually).

Congratulations to all who have achieved TNP certification. 

 “I am excited the journey is not over.  I loved my experience with the Tennessee Naturalist Program, and I look forward to supporting TNP.  I am moving forward this month with the TN2 programs and discovering more wonderful volunteer opportunities.
Long Hunter is my home park, and I was thrilled when the program became available there.  This is really a special achievement for me and only possible due to the efforts of the TNP board members and their hard work over the last 14 years.   
Thank you TNP Program family!
... Jan”

Thank you for your kind words!  Jan achieved TNP certification September 2023.

All Core Courses are taken as a whole. Core course classes are not offered individually. Check with the local Chapter of your choice to find when their TNP class registration opens.

For information about other TNP Chapters and their schedules click

Cumberland Mountain State Park TNP chapter is relocating down the plateau and into Cummins Falls State Park!

While Cumberland Mountain will always be treasured in our hearts for its rich CCC history, Cummins Falls will better accommodate our core class structure and allow Assistant State Naturalist Holly Taylor to continue as Chapter Coordinator. We are also excited to partner with Friends of Cummins Falls State Park

Look for registration openings later this year!

TN2 - Tennessee Naturalist Program Continuing Education

Continuing Education - TN2 – Waterfowl Biology and Wetlands Ecology

(Wait-list Available)

Saturday, October 28, 2023   9:00AM - 3:00PM  CDT

Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge

550 Refuge Lane

New Johnsonville, TN 37134

Follow the paved road to the refuge office, the class meets in the back room. (From the gate, follow the paved road to the refuge office. If you get on gravel, you have made a wrong turn.)

Location (google maps): 35.97552306184885, -87.95436683542285


Dr. Eric Pelren ,UT Martin

Clayton Ferrell, USFWS Waterfowl Biologist

Joan Howe, USFWS Refuge Ranger

6 Continuing Education Units

Price – $80.00        

We invite you to come to the heart of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge for a study of wetland ecology and waterfowl biology! The class consists of 2 hours classroom instruction, followed by an exploration of the 5,000-acre wetland area of the refuge called the Duck River Bottoms. The field portion of the class will travel via hayride to discuss wetland habitat, waterfowl identification, and conservation management for the system and species.

Specific topics will include:

  • Wetland ecology, conservation, and management
  • Waterfowl identification, conservation, and management
  • Moist soil assessment
  • Radio transmitter triangulation

Bring water, lunch, knee boots, and clothing suitable for weather, hayride, and wet soil.

Rain or shine.  Contact Joan Howe 731-333-1036

Visit the TNP website page to register:  (then scroll down).

Continuing Education - TN2 - Wild Edibles

(Wait-list Available)

September 30, 2023   10:00AM - 2:00PM  CDT

Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Wilderness Station at Barfield

401 Volunteer Rd, Murfreesboro, TN 37128


Pandy Upchurch, Tennessee Healthy Habitats, LLC

4 continuing education Units

Price – $70.00                    

Meet at Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Barfield Crescent Park Wilderness Station

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.

Visit the TNP website page to register:  (then scroll down).

Continuing Education - TN2 – Interpretation

(Wait-list Available)

Two day workshop

Saturday, September 30, 2023   9:00AM - 5:00PM  CDT 

Sunday, October 1, 2023   8:00AM – 3:00PM CDT

Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

1371 Wildlife Drive, Springville, TN 38256

Instructor: Dr. Philip Smartt, Professor of Park Management and Heritage Interpretation at UT Martin 

14 Continuing Education Units

Price – $160.00                    

This workshop is taught by Dr. Philip Smartt, the Professor of Park Management and Heritage Interpretation at UT Martin. Dr. Smartt was the first Certified Interpretive Trainer in Tennessee.

The purpose of interpretation is to help people see the natural world in new and exciting ways. Interpretation is an approach to communication that helps people add meaning to their outdoor experiences. This two-day immersive workshop will teach you the important elements that will make your hikes, programs, classes, and presentations more exciting, engaging, relevant, and meaningful to all the people who attend.

Be prepared to be outside. Handouts will be provided. You may wish to bring notebook.

Visit the TNP website page to register:  (then scroll down).

Thank you for volunteering your time and expertise!

Meet TNP’s social media editors, Melody Holt and Krista Allen.

Melody Holt – TNP Certification through Cumberland Mountain State Park Chapter in 2021

After finishing school and starting a career that was far and away from natural sciences and conservation, Melody was drawn to the ongoing learning environment that TNP offers. "I really enjoy getting to step outside of my comfort zone and be a student again, while working towards a real change in our state and sharing its wonder with others."  Melody holds a BS in Mass Communication from Middle Tennessee State University and works in the television industry in Nashville.

Krista Allen – TNP Certification through Cedars of Lebanon Chapter in 2020

Krista holds a B.S. in Education from UT Martin. In 2021 she transitioned from her role as an educator to becoming a naturalist with Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation – where she still gets to teach all the time. Growing up in Stewart Co., a region enveloped by Land Between the Lakes and Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge, greatly influenced her love for the natural world. Krista enjoys all the opportunities presented by the Tennessee Naturalist Program, especially the TN2 courses!


(Answers will be posted on the TNP Facebook page the evening of 9/24/23)

LET’S STAY CONNECTED (“Likes” are always great)!

The Tennessee Naturalist Program’s public Facebook page can be found at

Two TNP students, Aprele Griffin and Leslie W-h, recently started a members Facebook page for Tennessee Naturalist Program: Students, Instructors, and Alumni.

Thank you to all TNPers for your volunteer service!

Congratulations to:

Bob Goodwin who recently achieved the 400-Hour Milestone

Thank you for being part of the Tennessee Naturalist Program family and for your generous support.

Dianne Arvin

Erica Colmenares

Esther Davenport

Michael Doochin

Tammy Gross

Jon Harr

Anne Hoos

Robert McLaren

Jennifer Pack

Sarah Roberts-Niemi

Andrea Sanders

Susan Woods

Ray Zimmerman

Your support will help TNP develop a new operational structure that includes hiring an executive director and a part-time development/marketing coordinator within the next two years.

To advance this mission, TNP is also offering more TN2 programs, raising tuition incrementally and adding new chapters across Tennessee.
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.

Please click the link below to donate.


Pinecrest BioBlitz

Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7


Calling all observers! Everyone is invited to drop-in to the Pinecrest BioBlitz, a two-day event to catalog as many life forms around Pinecrest as possible.  Come anytime between 10am-2pm to receive a quick briefing on using iNaturalist and photography to document our nature observations before heading out to snap lots of photos!  Unfamiliar with identification?  Not to worry!  We’ll have professionals and naturalist volunteers onsite to help.  No experience necessary and no requirement to do any serious hiking.  Prefer plants?  You can focus on plants!  Prefer insects… we need you!  More of a mushroom “fun” guy?  Come one out.  Every form of life is important for our biodiversity project.  How many different species will we find?  Kids want to join?  Absolutely bring them! 

Feel free to picnic and play while out.

Call 901-878-1247 or email

Tennessee Naturalists Invited to Trails & Trilliums 2024 for Second Statewide Tennessee Naturalist Program Rally

After a highly successful gathering of Tennessee Naturalists last April, we are hoping to attract even more current and past TNP participants to the second statewide TNP rally, which will be held in conjunction with Trails & Trilliums, April 19-21 in Beersheba Springs, TN. Sponsored by the Friends of South Cumberland State Parks, this beloved naturalist rally will celebrate its 20th anniversary this spring. 

Last year over 60 TNP-ers from ten different chapters joined in the weekend-long event, which was highlighted by guided hikes on the Cumberland Plateau, workshop and talks by top naturalists. Event details to follow. Save the date! Contact Margaret Matens, for more information.  

Cumberland River Compact:

Leave No Trace: Exploring an Urban Wetland Youth Educator Workshop

September 30 @ 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The Cumberland River Compact is excited to partner with Leave No Trace to offer a FREE 3-hour workshop designed for local teachers, guides, camp staff and other full-time/seasonal youth educators interested in teaching kids how to enjoy Nashville and all outdoor spaces responsibly.

Join us for an optional litter pick-up afterwards at the wetland from 1pm – 4pm!

Register here for the training.

Register here for the litter pick-up.

Sustainable Agriculture Teacher Training

October 28 @ 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Will farms be able to provide food for Earth’s growing population?  How do agricultural practices impact water quality? How do the economics of small-scale and large-scale farms compare? Is soil health the answer to climate change? How do cows affect the environment? Equip yourself to engage students with these real-world questions with this FREE e-STEM for Tennessee’s Teachers training, offered in conjunction with a new Sustainable Agriculture Project Based Learning Guide.

Join the Cumberland River Compact at a certified River Friendly Farm, where we will see first-hand the connection between healthy agricultural land, healthy people, and a healthy environment. You will come away from this training with knowledge about sustainable agriculture practices, awareness of agriculture’s impact on local ecosystems, and resources to integrate new content into the classroom.

Phone: 6158371151   Email:

Register Here

Tennessee Environmental Council:

Click the link for ongoing opportunities and projects

Tennessee Native Plant Society:

September 30 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Fall Master Gardeners of Hamilton County

The Master Gardeners of Hamilton County will hold their fall event of September 30th from 10 to 4 at the Hamilton County Agricultural Extension grounds, 6183 Adamson Circle, Chattanooga 37416. TNPS will have a table at this event where books and memberships may be purchased.  

October 17 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Seminar: Jaimie Matzko, Biodiversity in your Landscape: Why it Matters

Speakers Jaimie Matzko is currently Biodiversity Program Specialist at Discover Life in America. She has been a naturalist and educator in the Smoky Mountains for over 20 years. She is a University of TN graduate with a degree in Environmental Studies, with a focus on Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her hobbies include gardening, nature photography, […]

October 21 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Fall Native Plant Sale

Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary 545 Beech Creek Road S, Nashville, Tennessee

Wild Ones Middle Tennessee Chapter will hold their next native plant sale jointly with Owl's Hill Nature Sanctuary on Saturday, October 21, from 10 AM to 12:30 PM.

November 21 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Seminar: Dennis Horn, Tennessee Orchids

Speaker Dennis Horn was a  charter member of TNPS when the society was established in 1978, Dennis was also lead author and primary mover of our book, Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians.  Dennis enjoyed a distinguished career as an engineer at Arnold Engineering and Development Corporation, culminating with being bestowed […]

Tennessee Ornithological Society (TOS)

September 26 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Birding Kingsport Monthly Meeting & Program

St Christophers Episcopal Church 584 Lebanon Rd, Kingsport, TN, United States

"Birding the Rio Grande Valley" by Chuck Estes. Location is 584 Lebanon Road in Kingsport.

September 27 @ 7:30 am - 10:30 am CDT

MTOS Field Trip to Meeman-Shelby Forest SP

Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park 910 Riddick Rd, Millington, TN, United States

Join us for a mid-week Memphis TOS chapter field trip to Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park. Our trip leaders are Dick Preston and Van Harris. Check out eBird sightings at this hotspot.

Meet at 7:30 am on Wednesday, September 27, at the park office/visitor center parking lot, 910 Riddick Rd., Millington, TN 38053.

You don’t have to be a MTOS member to participate, there is no charge, and be sure to bring binoculars.

For more information, contact Van Harris at / 901-876-3337 or Dick Preston at / 901-837-3360.

September 27 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 am CDT

Second Radnor Lake FALL Migration walks – September 27th

Radnor Lake State Park 1160 Otter Creek Road, Nashville, TN, United States

If you’re in the greater Davidson County/Nashville area join NTOS for our 4 part series of FALL Wednesday morning Radnor Lake migration walks.

Each walk begins at 7:30 from the west parking lot of Radnor Lake State Park – off Otter Creek Rd where a point of contact NTOS volunteer will be waiting to greet you and lead the morning walk.

If you have any questions about these walks please contact Cyndi Routledge –

September 30

NTOS FALL Bird Count – September 30, 2023

The NTOS FALL bird count will take place on Saturday, September 30th, 2023.  If you’re interested in helping the Chapter count that day please contact Barbara Harris for more information or to sign up.

You can also count birds at your feeder if you live within Davidson County.

We invite you to join in on the fun!

October 4 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 am CDT

Third Radnor Lake FALL Migration walk – October 4th

Radnor Lake State Park 1160 Otter Creek Road, Nashville, TN, United States

Each walk begins at 7:30 from the west parking lot of Radnor Lake State Park – off Otter Creek Rd where a point of contact NTOS volunteer will be waiting to greet you and lead the morning walk.

If you have any questions about these walks please contact Cyndi Routledge –

October 6 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm EDT

SPEAKING TOUR – Paco Madrigal of Cotinga Tours

Auditorium of the Kingsport Center for Higher Education 300 W Market St, Kingsport, TN, United States

Paco Madrigal, expert birding guide & co-founder of Cotinga Tours in Costa Rica, is speaking in Kingsport on Friday, October 6, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Kingsport Center for Higher Education located at 300 W Market St.

October 11 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 am CDT

Last NTOS FALL Migration walk at Radnor Lake – October 11th

Radnor Lake State Park 1160 Otter Creek Road, Nashville, TN, United States

Each walk begins at 7:30 from the west parking lot of Radnor Lake State Park – off Otter Creek Rd where a point of contact NTOS volunteer will be waiting to greet you and lead the morning walk.

If you have any questions about these walks please contact Cyndi Routledge –

October 13 - October 15


The TOS Fall Meeting will be held in Chattanooga on October 13-15th, 2023.

Host hotel is the Fairfield Inn and Suites 124/Lookout Mountain.  Friday reception and all field trips will leave from there.  Paper session and Board of Directors meeting will be held at the Baylor School on Saturday afternoon.


2023 Fall Registration Form

We hope you’ll join us in Chattanooga in October!!

Visit the TNP Website





 Proceeds help support the Tennessee Naturalist Program!