Read about more 2016 programs below
Healing the earth, one yard at a time

March 2016 Newsletter

In this edition:

Upcoming Programs & Events:
Spring Wildflower Hike - Saturday, April 2 - FULL!
Plant Conservation in Tennessee - Monday, April 11
2016 Program Schedule
Certificate in Native Plants classes

Support the Film "Hometown Habitat"

Partner Organization Updates

NEW Program Registration Process Coming

NEW Facebook Page

Symposium Highlights

Photo Thoughts

In the News:
U.N. Science Report Warns of Fewer Bees
Bird-Friendly Native Plants
Gray Hairstreak: One of the First Spring Butterflies

Become a Wild Ones Member

Spring Wildflower Hike
with Leon Bates

Saturday, April 2, 2016
Depart Chattanooga at 9:00 am EST
Limited number of spaces available

Leon Bates will lead Wild Ones members on the 2016 Spring Wildflower Hike to Shakerag Hollow near Sewanee, TN.  The wildflower display should be spectacular, with trillium, larkspur, phlox and much more.   The Shakerag trail, constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) in the 1930s, has diverse native flora with huge trees and abundant streams and waterfalls.  This hike location is so unique that it merits designation as a personal "bucket list" hike for Wild Ones members.

NOTE: This hike is currently FULL.  
To add your name to the waiting list, email us at

Plant Conservation in Tennessee
with David Lincicome

Monday, April 11, 2016 --  6:00 pm
green|spaces, 63 E. Main St., Chattanooga TN
FREE and open to the public

David Lincicome will provide a brief overview of the State Natural Areas Program, highlight a few of the rare plant recovery projects in progress, and discuss the idea of starting a Plant Conservation Alliance in Tennessee, modeled after efforts in Georgia.  

David Lincicome is the Natural Heritage Manager with the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation, Division of Natural Areas.  He is based in Nashville.  

For info on Tennessee Natural Areas, click HERE.

Click HERE for info on plant conservation efforts in Georgia.

2016 Program Schedule

The Program Committee of the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones, co-chaired by Marti Owensby and Bill Moll, has been busy putting together the schedule for 2016 programs.  Details on some programs are still being finalized.  The latest information will be published on our website as soon as it becomes available.

Monday, April 19                        
NEW Film Night - "Hometown Habitat" 
A Catherine Zimmerman and Doug Tallamy production
FREE and open to the public - Location TBA

Saturday, April 30  -- 10:00 am - 12:00 pm                    
Portable Pollinator Garden Workshop
Trailhead Nursery, 54 Mill Cove Rd., Lone Oak/Signal Mountain, TN
Registration will be open later this month

Monday, May 9  -- 6:00 pm                          
Chestnut Project with Dr. Hill Craddock
green|spaces, 63 E. Main St., Chattanooga TN
FREE and open to the public 

Saturday, May 14                         
Landscapes in Progress
Visits to three Wild Ones members' gardens
Wild Ones members only
Registration will be open later this month

Saturday, May 28                         
May Prairie and AEDC (orchids) Meadow Walk 
with Dennis Horn
Wild Ones Members Only - Manchester TN area
Registration will be open later this month

Saturday, June 11                        
A full day of presentations, exhibits and demonstrations
Grace Episcopal Church
FREE and open to the public

Saturday, June 25                        
Member Picnic and Hike at Reflection Riding
Wild Ones Members only 

Saturday & Sunday, July 9-10                      
Overnight Trip to Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve 
with Leon Bates
Wild Ones Members only
Registration will be open later this month

Saturday, July 23                          
Landscape in Progress, 
visits to three Wild Ones members' gardens
Wild Ones members only
Registration will be open later this spring

Monday, August 8 -- 6:00 pm                    
Coosa Valley Special Plant Communities 
with Dr. Leslie Edwards
green|spaces, 63 E. Main St., Chattanooga TN
FREE and open to the public

September 12 -- 6:00 pm             
Conservation Partnerships: Pollinators & Orchids 
with Dr. Jennifer Cruse-Sanders
green|spaces, 63 E. Main St., Chattanooga TN
FREE and open to the public 

Saturday, September 17             
Fall Landscapes in Progress, 
visits to three Wild Ones members' gardens
Wild Ones members only
Registration will be open during the summer

Monday, October 10  -- 6:00 pm                  
Native Plants of the Cumberland Trail 
with Bobby Fulcher
green|spaces, 63 E. Main St., Chattanooga TN
FREE and open to the public

Saturday, October 22                    
Fall Foliage Hike with Leon Bates
Wild Ones members only
Registration will be open later this summer

Saturday, November 5                  
Annual Meeting
Wild Ones members only

Monday, December 12 - 6:00 pm               
Holiday Social
Wild Ones members only

The CNP Committee, co-chaired by Beverly Inman-Ebel and Sally Wencel, held a planning retreat in late February to work out the details for a new schedule of "Certificate in Native Plants" classes.  Some exciting new learning opportunities will be coming soon!

By the end of April, the class schedule for 2016 will be available, and classes will start again this summer.  There will be several full-day "core" classes offered, as well as a wider variety of half-day "electives."  Classes will be open to the public, and registrants do not have to be working toward the Certificate to attend the classes. Registration discounts will be available to members of the three partner organizations -- Wild Ones, Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, and the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

The CNP began in 2014 at Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center.  The Certificate in Native Plants is awarded to individuals who complete the class and volunteer requirements for the program.   At the March 5 Plant Natives 2016 Symposium, the first five "graduates" of the program were recognized with their Certificates -- Valarie Adams, Louise Gilley, Lena Hall, Clare Hetzler and Lucy Scanlon.  The Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones will assume administrative responsibility for the CNP when it is relaunched this spring.

Support the Film "Hometown Habitat"

Many of you may have seen Catherine Zimmerman when she spoke about "Meadowscaping" in Chattanooga in 2012.  Catherine, along with Doug Tallamy (our symposium keynote speaker last year) is now putting the finishing touches on a film called  Hometown Habitat, Stories of Bringing Nature Home.  It will be  a 90-minute environmental, education documentary focused on showing how and why native plants are critical to the survival and vitality of local ecosystems.

Hometown Habitat will provide a tool to reach out, inform and bring attention to the serious implications of land care practices which result in habitat loss. The film is solution driven, profiling people and projects that excite, motivate and inspire others to use native plants in their landscapes of all sizes.

We plan to show the film here in Chattanooga on April 19th.

This documentary is being made possible by support of individuals like us across the country.  For more info and to provide support, click HERE.

Partner Organization Updates

The Tennessee Native Plant Society has published its 2016 hike schedule. Members of Wild Ones are welcome to attend as guests. Click HERE for schedule.

Mark your calendar for the Reflection Riding Native Plant Sales:
Spring Plant Sale -- April 14-16
Fall Plant Sale -- September 8-10

"LIKE" Our New Public Facebook Page

In addition to our Facebook Group, where there is discussion about native plants and sharing of plant photos, we also have a NEW open and public Facebook page. On this page, we share information about upcoming programs and events, as well as links to interesting information about native plants and related topics.  Please be sure to "Like" our new Facebook page and check it often for updates and news.

NEW Program Registration Process Coming Soon

As our chapter continues to grow, to add more programs, and to relaunch the Certificate in Native Plants classes, we've decided to make our registration process a little easier. By this spring, we will be using EventSpot software for you to register for all paid classes, members-only events, the annual symposium, and other special events and workshops.  Programs that are free and open to the public will continue to NOT require pre-registration.  The new software will make registration and payment simpler, and you'll immediately be emailed a ticket and detailed program information.  You'll also be able to easily see if a program is sold out.

Please be patient with us as we implement and learn this new process.  Since we are an all-volunteer organization without any paid staff, we hope that this new process will be more user-friendly and give you information in a timely manner.

You'll still be able to stay in touch and ask questions by emailing us at tnvalleywildones

Plant Natives 2016! Symposium
in the Rear-View Mirror

Thanks to everyone who was able to join us at the Plant Natives 2016! annual symposium on Saturday, March 5th.  Speakers Larry Mellichamp, Ron Lance and Tony Glover gave very interesting and informative talks, and nearly twenty vendors and exhibitors provided a huge variety of native plants, botanical drawings and other useful connections and resources for the nearly 200 people who attended.   We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from some of the leaders in the native plant field and to share the day with a great group of people interested in native plants.

A big thanks goes to Dennis Bishop, 2016 Symposium Chair, and his amazing Committee members who took care of everything --- from program planning to speaker arrangements, registration, check-in, door prizes, marketing, publicity, vendor coordination and support, greeting and hosting.  

Congratulations to Paola Zannini, Anita Greenwell and Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, who were awarded the second annual Landscaping/Habitat Recognition Award.  This award recognizes individuals and organizations  whose exemplary use of native plants demonstrate the mission of Wild Ones: to promote environmentally sound landscaping practices which preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities.

In the coming weeks, we'll be looking at the symposium evaluation forms and start planning for our SIXTH annual symposium -- Plant Natives 2017!   If you're interesting in being on the 2017 Symposium Committee, please email us and let us know.

for Better Photos
by Wild Ones member, Mike O'Brien

See the Light
Before you take your photo, look to see the direction of the light source, whether it be the sun, reflected light or an artificial light source.  This will determine how the light affects your subject and interacts with it. Light coming from behind the subject will cast shadows on your subject's features  that face the camera, whereas lighting that is falling directly on the subject's front as it faces the camera will highlight the subject.  Neither is inherently undesirable, but the photographer needs to be aware of the light's direction and how to best use it to produce the desired photograph.

Take Lots of Photos, Then Delete, Delete, Delete.
We need to take lots of photos to familiarize ourselves with our camera's controls and its numerous features. Read your entire camera's manual or an aftermarket one that is often clearer than the factory version.  Get out and shoot photos often... BUT... then delete most of your photos, keeping only the very best and clearest copies. I usually delete at least 95% of my photos after editing, and sometimes 100% if they are just simply not what I expect of them.   (One of kind or irreplaceable photos are exempt from this rule -- like the photo of the last surviving Passenger Pigeon photo you took on your Grand Canyon vacation last week!)   Shoot lots of photos, then keep only the best and throw out the rest. 

Photos from the Field

first Yard  butterfly 2016, (02.19.16)
Winter Form of Question Mark butterfly.
First butterfly of 2016 - 2/19/16.
  Note horizontal dash on forewing at base of tip, 
to distinguish from Eastern Comma Butterfly.

Elderberry, young leaves (2/24/16)


U.N. Science Report Warns of Fewer Bees, 
Other Pollinators

WASHINGTON (2/29/16) - Many species of wild bees, butterflies and other critters that pollinate plants are shrinking toward extinction, and the world needs to do something about it before our food supply suffers, a new United Nations scientific mega-report warns. [read more]


Bird-Friendly Native Plants

"It's simple: By gardening with native plants, no matter where you live or how small or large your space is, you can help sustain wildlife." - Doug Tallamy,
Bringing Nature Home

Your yard -- and the kinds of plants in it -- matters more than you may know. Native plants play a very important role in providing the food birds need to survive and thrive in a way that non-native plants cannot do. [read more]

Click HERE for Audubon North Carolina's 
2016 Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year


Gray Hairstreak:
One of the First Spring Butterflies

One of the first butterflies to appear [in the northeast] in the spring is the gray hairstreak. The little guys are not actually gray, showing off a pale blue color on the underwings and a darker indigo in the uppers, but they are a sure sign that warmer days are ahead. [read more]

NOTE: Melody Rose's article above identifies the Gray Hairstreak as one of the first spring butterflies in the northeast.  However, in the Tennessee Valley, we usually do not see Gray Hairstreaks until late spring or early summer.  Early spring butterflies in our area are the over-wintering butterflies emerging from hibernation (Question Mark, Eastern Comma and Mourning Cloak) and newly-emerged species (Spring Azures, Falcate Orange Tips, Henry's Elfin, Pine Elfin and Brown Elfin).

Become a Wild Ones Member!
Join the Tennessee Valley Chapter
See what's happening on our social media sites:

Wild Ones: Native Plants. Natural Landscapes is a national non-profit organization with over 50 chapters in 13 states that promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. Please read more information about Wild Ones at
The Tennessee Valley Chapter presents guest speakers, field trips and other special events throughout the year, as well as an annual native plant and natural landscaping symposium in early spring. 
To contact our chapter, email us at