The Emmy Award winning show produced through the generosity of the Jackson
Foundation, Tennessee State Parks, and the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

Environment

Every story on Tennessee’s Wild Side promotes the proper enjoyment of outdoor life in Tennessee. But the stories highlighted on this page are more tightly woven into the theme of conserving our environment. These are the stories about endangered species, land management, and people who go out of their way to be good stewards of our habitat. These are the shows that remind us of nature’s call.

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Low Head Dams
Literally hundreds of low-head dams are found on Tennessee's streams and rivers, built to help power gristmills or impound water for farm animals and irrigation. This is their whole story.

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The Obey River
For many years coal has helped feed people living on the Cumberland Plateau. But the very thing that helped them survive was also killing the life they knew.

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Nature Photographer Bill Lea
Bill Lea’s latest coffee table book, “Windows to a Secret World,” is a perfect way to learn about Tennessee treasure called Cades Cove.

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Alabama Lampmussels
It will take years to restore the Alabama Lampmussel population in the Elk River but, as Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker shows us, a little cooperation between states can go a long way in helping the cause.

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Fiery Gizzard
Fiery Gizzard Trail is thought by many to be one of the most iconic and important trail systems in Tennessee. Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker takes us there to see what is being done to protect it.

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Barbi Crayfish
This story is about a mysterious creature that is supposed to be small but actually grows big for its species. Wild Side Guide Alan Griggs takes us to Macon County where one resident of some creeks in the area is described as a small lobster.

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Missing Nature
Nature photographer Byron Jorjorian is working toward enlightenment one photograph at a time. For people across Tennessee, Byron's work is almost like being there.

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The History of Eagles in Tennessee
The history of this remarkable raptor in the lower 48 states is a true conservation success story. Once threatened with extinction because of widespread use of the deadly pesticide D-D-T, today the bald eagle thrives.

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Breeding Hellbenders
Despite its colorful name, the Hellbender doesn't want to bother you, it just wants to survive---and that's the problem. Hellbenders are dying for unknown reasons but pioneering researchers at the Nashville Zoo are trying to change that.

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Bill Miller
Like rivers' flowing currents, life has a way of carrying you places you don't expect. Today Bill Miller is far from the peaceful streams he grew up with but no matter how far he travels, the river is always there.

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A Rare Hopper
Buddy Ingram may not be famous to everyone, but his name will always live in science thanks to a surprising find in our own backyard. Wild Side Guide Alan Griggs shows us this flightless, short lived grasshopper that is new to science.

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Shady Valley Bog Restoration
Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker takes us to Shady Valley, where the Nature Conservancy is restoring one of the most unique natural ecosystems in North America.

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Nashville Clean Water Project
Wild Side Guide Annette Nole Hall takes us to Percy Priest Lake with a team of volunteers who are stepping up where others have stepped out.

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Prowling for a Painting
Wild Side Guide Terry Bulger shows how a bold leap of faith has put the outdoors back in Phillip Crowe's life...through art.

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Saving Rocky Fork
Wild Side Guide Alan Griggs first visited Rocky Fork several years ago when it's future was in doubt; today he tells how this land was saved for future generations.

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Cross Pollination
This Nature at Home segment tells about the dangers in cross-pollination in some plant species, particularly with the Tennessee Coneflower.

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Short Mountain
Property once used for a secret marijuana operation is now the state's 124th Wildlife Management Area.

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Endangered Conasauga Logperch
Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker takes us snorkeling with some teachers, scientists and an instructor to look for the endangered Conasauga Logperch.

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Salamander Survey
Welcome to Bear Hollow Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Franklin County, home to a slew of salamanders.

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Building the Bat Cave
Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker takes us to Montgomery County, where the Nature Conservancy is taking unusual steps to help save our bats.

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Duck River Cleanup
Volunteers in Columbia, Tennessee love the Duck River, and that means sometimes getting down and dirty to help clean it up.

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Hiwassee Land Preservation
How important is it for all of us to protect biologically, historically, and visually significant parts of our state? Wild Side Guide Craig Owensby shows us by visiting a spot along the Tennessee River where numerous entities are working together for a Tennessee treasure.

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The Wigwam Project
When most teenage boys are thinking about anything except living outside, Matt Guenther decided to make a wigwam and live in it for his senior class project.

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Tower of Flower
These days, wildflowers can be found all over — including some of the most unlikely places.

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Tennessee Kids in the Outdoors
Tennessee Kids in the Outdoors is just one of many initiatives by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation and it allows kids to meet these creatures face–to-face.

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Forging the Fiery Gizzard
Making its way through the heart of the South Cumberland Plateau, the Fiery Gizzard is a rugged, special place, filled with impressive beauty and unique history.

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Counting Black Bears
Once plentiful across Tennessee, black bears have been limited to East Tennessee primarily due to overhunting. But the animal is on the comeback trail.

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4-H Field Day
As Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker shows, the lessons learned at 4-H can be useful throughout life, no matter where each student's road goes.

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Bertha’s Environmental Legacy
One of the most valuable tour guides in the state is also one of the oldest to win the Governor's Award for Stewardship, one of the most prestigious recognitions for environmental champions.

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Releasing a River
Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker takes us to Franklin, Tenn., where a key part of a restoration effort starts with removing the last remaining dam on the Harpeth River.

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Timber Rattlesnake Disease
Wild Side Guide Alan Griggs shows how misunderstanding and fear are slowly eliminating one of man’s most important allies — the Timber Rattlesnake.

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The River Inside
One day John Guider put a canoe in the creek on his farm and set out on a life changing journey that took him all the way to New Orleans.

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Nature at Home: Nature Play for Kids
In this Nature at Home segment, we explore turning your backyard into an outdoor adventure center for the benefit of smarter, stronger and healthier kids.

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Tennessee Muskie
Once plentiful in our state, the mighty muskie almost disappeared. Today, thanks to the hard work of the TWRA and others, Tennessee muskie are making a comeback...and attracting anglers from around the world.

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Green Salamander
High on the Cumberland Plateau, deep in the woods, hidden in old rock outcrops lives the tiny green salamander, unseen by most folks. But one biology student is discovering just how fascinating and important this shy amphibian really is.

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Nature at Home: Recycle
We take a look at some common household items and find out what we should — and should not — throw in the recycle bin.

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Nature at Home: Reduce and Reuse
By changing our buying habits can be another way to help Nature at Home.

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Mack Prichard-A Voice for the Wild
Meet a man who has had a hand in creating most of our state parks and natural areas, a voice for the wild we should all be thankful for.

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A Day at the BEECH
Spread out on 680 acres in Warren County, the Bridgestone Environmental Education Classroom and Habitat or BEECH is an extraordinary field trip destination.

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Short Springs Wildflowers
Take a photographic safari to the Short Springs Natural Area to enjoy the many colors, shapes and sizes of spring wildflowers.

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Machine Falls
Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker teamed up with nature photographer Byron Jorjorian for a photographic exploration of one of Short Springs’ main attractions, Machine Falls.

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Anne Goetze’s Outdoor Studio
Fishermen have their honey holes, hunters know the best spots to find turkey and deer...and artist Anne Goetze has found the perfect place to paint.

Radnor Lake Natural Area

Urban Forest Study
Radnor Lake Natural Area is one of the largest wilderness areas in the United States near a major city...a learning laboratory for scientists trying to find out more about how an urban forest can not only survive, but thrive.

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Brook Trout Restoration
The Southern Appalachian Brook Trout is the only trout native to our state and the TWRA and others are trying to make sure it doesn't disappear.

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Nature at Home: Water Conservation
The water we have on this planet is all we'll ever have...we can't make any more. That means it's a natural resource in need of protection.

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Riverwalk Tree Swallows
When Riverwalk Bird Club members started putting bluebird houses up along Chattanooga's Riverwalk, little did they know some southern visitors would move in.

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Wild Hogs
Considered the most destructive animal in Tennessee by biologists, wild hogs are a growing problem with no easy solution.

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Mill Creek Cleanup
While many people don’t even know it exists, Nashville's Mill Creek is an example of how many urban streams fight for survival.

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The Conasauga River
In a state blessed with an abundance of flowing water, the Conasauga River is a rare, precious jewel...and one that is tarnished.

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Assessing the Ash Spill
When a dike failed at the Kingston Steam Plant, it appeared to be an unprecedented disaster. But scientist have some surprising information about its environmental impact.

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Tennessee Sturgeon Come Home
The return of lake sturgeon to the Cumberland River is an example of what can be done when people work together for a common cause.

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The Wonder of Hummingbirds
Hundreds of humans gather to celebrate the tiniest bird in the world at the "Wonder of Hummingbirds Festival" in Knoxville.

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Portrait of a River
The Duck River is rich in biodiversity, but feeling the effects of urban growth...which is what brings "The Chestnut Group," artists who paint in the open air for the cause of conservation, to it's beautiful banks.

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Duane Rice’s Bluebird Trail
Meet a modern day trailblazer whose concern for the bluebird could one day take him to your yard.

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Aquariums in the Classroom
If you have hundreds of native fish living in your state, what's the best way to learn about them? You get out in the river and get your hands wet!

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Sequatchie Caddisfly
The rarely seen Sequatchie Caddisfly is a small animal that is crucial to the future of the entire Sequatchie Valley.

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Green Cabins
It’s a greener way to go and relax...see how Tennessee is staying on the cutting edge of technology by building energy efficient vacation villas at some state parks.

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Nashville’s Old Growth Forest
Visit an ancient forest, hundreds of years old, that lies within the city limits of Nashville, Tennessee.

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The Tennessee Coneflower
Once thought to be extinct, this beautiful flower that makes its home in the shallow soil and limestone of a cedar glade is now thriving, thanks to the help of some caring people.

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Appalachian Bear Rescue
For many years, injured or orphaned black bears had little chance of returning to the wild to live free. But now, thanks to the hard work of caring volunteers, many are getting a second chance at life.

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Embattled Bees
We've all heard the saying "busy as a bee," but how many of us know just how hard bees work to make it possible for us to eat?

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Harpeth River Flooding
While the effect of a flood on people is evident, what happens to the rivers and the wild things that call them home when high water rips through?

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Alligator Snapping Turtles
Watch your fingers…we’ve got a “snappy” turtle that is the Volunteer version of “Jaws!”

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A Process of Preservation
Two unique partners, artist Charles Brindley and The Land Trust for Tennessee team up to preserve historic Glen Leven Farm in Nashville from development...each working through the process in their own way.

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Sandhill Cranes
Once numbering fewer than 100, today more than 75 thousand eastern sandhills can be found. It's an amazing success story written by the hard work of people and the resiliency of these remarkable birds.

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Tennessee’s State Nursery
Hidden away in the shadow of the Chilhowee Mountains are 500 acres set aside for some very special plants that play a crucial role in our ecosystem and are a benefit to us all.

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River Reckoning
Biologists count fish on the Harpeth River and its tributaries to find out how the removal of a low-head dam has affected what lives there.

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Nature at Home: Rain Catchers
In this Nature @ Home segment, we take a look at some simple things you can do in your own back yard to help maintain our water supply.

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Hike ‘Em All
Are you up for the challenge? Then head down the trail and enjoy scenic overlooks, spectacular rock formations, cascading waterfalls, and lush forests at South Cumberland State Park.

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Earth Day at Harrison Bay
The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay is an extraordinary golf course that combines outdoor fun with environmental stewardship...which made it the perfect place to gather for an Earth Day celebration.

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Water Warriors
While members of the Tennessee Aquatic Project like to have fun both above and below the water, they are also very serious about water quality.

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Eagle Emergency
A leisurely Memorial Day kayaking trip turns into an unexpected rescue operation when two brothers discover an injured eagle struggling to survive.

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Blue-Eyed Beauties
The Blue-Eyed Mary is a rare jewel in Tennessee, where established populations of this unique flower are only known to occur in two places.

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Neotropical Migratory Songbirds
There are nearly 400 different species of neotropical migratory songbirds...but many, like the cerulean warbler, are disappearing at an alarming rate.

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Butterfly Bonanza
Members of the North American Butterfly Association visit a beautiful meadow at the Savage Gulf Ranger Station and experience a bonanza of butterflies.

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A Crusader for Conservation
Dr. Elsie Quarterman was the protector of cedar glades, the savior of the Tennessee purple coneflower, and an advocate for the preservation of special places.

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Seven Islands State Birding Park
While most parks are designed to attract people, Seven Islands State Birding Park is specifically managed to attract wildlife...especially birds.

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Trout in Trouble?
Trout stocking in Tennessee, started to replace native fish displaced by dams, is now in jeopardy, putting the state's trout populations in danger.

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Restoring Friar Branch
Witness an extreme stream makeover, as some forward-thinking people implement a modern approach to stream management...by returning to the past.

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Tennessee Tree Project
The Tennessee Environmental Council has a goal of planting or caring for 1 million native trees in Tennessee and these volunteers are helping make that happen.

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Noel Natural Area
Tucked away near the Tennessee town of Bon Aqua are 35 acres filled with some amazing old trees, preserved for all to enjoy thanks to a man who is serious about conservation.

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Nature at Home: Bird Identification
From Carolina chickadees and tufted titmice to dark-eyed juncos and white-breasted nuthaches, learn how to identify the over 400 species of birds found in Tennessee.

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Watershed Ed
Middle school students in Marshall County did more than just learn about the importance of the Duck River...they rolled up their sleeves and got to work protecting it.

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A Walk Among Wildflowers
Join State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath on a spring wildflower hike through Edgar Evins State Park, where at every turn, there's something new and beautiful to behold.

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White Fringeless Orchid
The rare white fringeless orchid is already listed as state-endangered...now the federal government is considering adding it to the endangered species list.

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Tennessee Wall Trail Day
Rock climbers who care enough to give back to the land spend a day at the Tennessee Wall working on a section of trail and...of course...climbing the beautiful sandstone cliffs.

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White Nose Syndrome in Tennessee
A deadly fungus killing bats by the millions has made it's way to Tennessee, where biologists are seeing both high mortality rates and promising signs for the future.

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The Streamside Salamander
Biologists search for the eggs of a rare salamander in the rocky streams of a Tennessee cedar glade, trying to find out just how many live here.

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Preserving the Hill Forest
The Hill Forest State Natural Area is a hidden jewel ringed by urban development...225 acres of pristine forest untouched and unchanged for nearly 100 years.

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Green Alleys
Some volunteers in Nashville are cleaning up an urban creek without even going near the water...by doing to some water-conscious landscaping.

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Pigeon River Recovery Project
Once considered "dead" because of all the pollution dumped in it from a North Carolina paper mill, the Pigeon River is making a remarkable comeback.

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Hatchie BirdFest
Every spring folks gather together at the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge to celebrate and see birds of all kinds.

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Cumberland River Paddling
Once abused and under-appreciated, the Cumberland River is becoming a favorite destination for paddlers in Nashville.

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Return to Shady Valley
Once drained to create farmland, the lush mountain bogs in Shady Valley are slowly being restored, bringing one of our most unique natural ecosystems back to life.

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Banding Bellamy’s Bats
Researchers work in the dark of night at Bellamy Cave to shed some light on White Nose Syndrome, a mysterious disease that is killing millions of bats.

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Grassy Cove
Formed around 250 million years ago, Grassy Cove is special place filled with wild wonders, which is why people are working to protect it from development.

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Cleaning Up Whites Creek
Once so polluted there were signs posted warning people to stay out of the water, Whites Creek is making a remarkable comeback thanks to the hard work of many caring people.

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A Century Celebration
Founded in 1915 by six Nashville men who wanted to study and protect birds, the Tennessee Ornithological Society is one of our oldest conservation organizations.

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Pyne’s Ground Plum
Biologists are working hard to protect some rare plants with beautiful flowers and colorful fruit that can only found in the rocky terrain of Tennessee cedar glades.

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Mussel Mission
For these fourth grade students, a fun paddle down the Duck River is an opportunity to learn about one of our most important river residents...the mussel.

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Reptile Reconnaissance
A team of teenagers are involved in an educational reptile study with an organization called CRESO, which stands for Clinch River Environmental Studies Organization.

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Tellico Wild
Natural waterfalls, medicinal plants and pristine waters give visitors of Tellico Wild some idea of what our native lands must have been like before the arrival of European Settlers.

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From Crops to Conservation
A family near Jackson, Tennessee changed its farming strategies to allow the kind of land management that creates habitat for wildlife.

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Seasonal Rangers Big Adventure
A routine paddle adventure turns a rescue mission for two seasonal ranger interns.

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Trees in Trouble
Foresters are fighting an ongoing battle with invasive insects that are attacking Tennessee trees.

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Paddling Safety
East Nashville Magnet School students step out of the classroom and into a kayak for an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

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The Hemlock War
From north of Maine down through the Appalachian Mountains into the eastern part of Tennessee the Eastern Hemlock tree reigns supreme.

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Conservation Fisheries
Over the years we've encountered some very special people and organizations dedicated to preserving the Wild Side of our great state.

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Virgin Waters (Carrol County Lake)
It's every fisherman's dream: A thousand-acre lake all to yourself. Even better? A lake that's been stocked with fish and YOU are the first one to fish it. You'll have to see this one to believe it.