January - August 2016

A selection of events held at the Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center during the year.

Wanderers Club Hike

East Tennessee Wanderers Walking Club Visits UT Arboretum

Don Williams, UTAS Board Member, led a hike on Saturday August 20th for East Tennessee Wanderers Walking Club from Maryville, TN. The outreach event was co-sponsored by the UT Arboretum Society and the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center. A hot summer day brought out 21 members of the club for an interpretive hike along the Oak-Hickory Trail. The walkers enjoyed their 2+ hour hike before returning to the Arboretum Visitors center for a cool-down break and look at the center's museum and other outreach and educational displays.

Photos courtesy of Erik Larson

Butterfly Festival UT Zoo
Butterfly Festival Draws Large Crowd

UT Arboretum Society/FRREC Hosts “highly successful” Butterfly Festival

Butterfly at the Festival
The UT Arboretum Society and the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center (FRREC) co-hosted the “first annual” Butterfly Festival. The event featured food vendors, kid’s arts & crafts, native plant vendors, educational programs, and the UT Insect Zoo. Over 350 people attended the event which ran from 9 am – 2 pm on July 30th. The event finale culminated with the release of 100 live Monarch Butterflies from the UT Arboretum Auditorium porch area.

Photos courtesy of Charles Samuels, UTAS Member

Arboretum Deck Eagle Scout Building Project
Josh Lennon's Wood Deck Project

Boy Scout Troop 451 Completes Eagle Scout Wood Deck Project

In July, volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 451 finished construction of the UT Arboretum Office/Visitors Center wood deck project. This project included a new wood walkway connecting the building's front side walk to the new 12 ft. by 12 ft. wood deck viewing platform. Josh Lennon, Eagle Scout candidate, provided the project design plan, resource supply budget, leadership, and safety direction for his team during the multi-phase project work day. Josh has been involved in scouting for many years and had previously earned the distinguished "Arrow of Light" award as a Cub Scout. After the project was complete, he commented that "Troop 451 has always been a troop focused on going above and beyond what we were expected to do. We always want something that is going to challenge us and stretch us just a little bit more, and that is what scouting is about, always bettering yourself." A large contingent of over 20 scouts, friends, scout leaders, and parents turned out to help Josh on this much-needed project, which now completes the exterior facelift of the Arboretum Office/Visitors Center.

Top Left: Boy Scout Troop 451 had a long 12+ hour build day in July to complete wood walkway/deck project at the UT Visitors Center/Office. Steven Lennon (Josh's dad) is seen in the top photo (gray t-shirt) working on the deck support frame.

Lower Left: Josh Lennon poses proudly on the new wood deck that he designed and built with his team as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Arboretum Trail Stair Eagle Scout Building Project - Before
Andrew Nagle's Trail Stair Project - Finished
Arboretum Trail Stair Eagle Scout Building Project - Crew

Boy Scout Troop 451 Completes Eagle Scout “Trail Stair” Project

Andrew Nagle's Arboretum Trail Stair Building Project This past June, volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 451 finished construction of the UT Arboretum “Trail Stair” project - near the front of the arboretum parking lot entrance just off of the Old Kerr Hollow trail. This project included a “trail stair” entry way into a yet “to-be-named” trail and two new resting benches that will allow visitors a direct route up to the new auditorium and associated plant gardens. Andrew Nagle, Eagle Scout candidate, provided the project design plan, resource supply budget, leadership, and safety direction for his team during the multi-phase project work schedule. Boy Scout Troop 451 is chartered at the Cumberland Campus of Wallace Memorial Baptist Church on Western Avenue in Knoxville, TN, and the troop has been involved in several excellent Eagle Scout projects at the UT Arboretum over the past five years. Andrew’s Eagle Project involved 28 volunteers with a total of almost 300 hours of work. After completing his Eagle Project, Andrew Nagle earned his Eagle Scout Rank on July 28th, 2016. Andrew stated that “My Project was the creation of a new Trailhead and Trail to the UT Arboretum Auditorium. It will become one of the primary routes used to get from the main entrance to the new Auditorium at the Arboretum.”

Above: Andrew Nagle (orange hat) poses for a shot sitting on his “in progress” Trail Stair Eagle Scout Project.

Top Left: Arboretum Trail Stair Building Project - Before

Middle Left: Arboretum Trail Stair Building Project - Completed.

Lower Left: Arboretum Trail Stair Building Project - Work Crew.

Integrated Biomass Supply System Meeting

FRREC Hosts the 2016 Integrated Biomass Supply System Meeting

Hot summer weather greeted the attendees of the Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS) meeting held at the new UT Arboretum Auditorium on Wednesday July 27th and Thursday July 28th. A group of over 65+ attendees from around the country were in attendance for the annual meeting representing academia, government, and industry. IBSS was developed in 2010 in response to the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Request for Applications for Regional Coordinated Agricultural Projects (CAP). The AFRI Sustainable Bioenergy Program priorities include sustainable agriculture, forestry, renewable energy, and rural communities and entrepreneurship. Dr. Tim Rials, Associate Dean – UT AgResearch, and former Director of the UT Center for Renewable Carbon (top center – green shirt) kicks off the meeting on Wednesday morning with welcoming remarks and an overview of the 2-day program.

Aviary Construction 2016
The Aviary Frame

FRREC Crew Breaks Ground on a New Bird Aviary

The UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center – Oak Ridge Forest crew broke ground in May on the second of two new bird aviaries. The two new aviaries being built are part of long term National Science Foundation (NSF) “call complexity” study grant by Dr. Todd Freeberg, UT Dept. of Psychology, focusing on captive flocks of chickadees and titmice from the Oak Ridge Forest landbase. The two new aviaries will provide additional study replications to the four existing aviaries previously constructed on the Oak Ridge Forest. The NSF funding is paying for expenses related to supplies, resources, and labor to construct the two new aviaries. Read more about Dr. Freeberg's  Comparative Communications Study.

Left: Yvonne Hitchcock (left) and Bo Duncan secure the upright posts with concrete for the foundation of the new bird aviary.

Loading the 'Big Logs'
Hauling the 'Big Logs'

FRREC harvests and hauls "BIG LOGS" from Arboretum storm damage

The UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center (FRREC) - Oak Ridge Forest staff recently utilized the Kubota tractor and International Harvester truck to harvest/haul a load of "BIG LOGS" from several downed trees in the Arboretum. The operation provided a source of revenue for the Center, an opportunity for staff to hone their logging skills, and a chance to deploy our small woodlot logging equipment.

FRREC Bioenergy Tour

UT FRREC Hosts ORNL “Bioenergy in the SE United States” Field Tour

The UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center (FRREC) hosted a large contingent of bioenergy scientists, researchers, and professionals at the Oak Ridge Forest Unit on Monday April 11th, 2016. The field tour, coordinated by ORNL, was focused on potential woody bioenergy feedstock supply opportunities from conventional timber management/harvesting operations. The 60+ attendees were provided a “rolling stock” bus tour of various FRREC research projects, before culminating at a recently completed timber harvest area where the group discussed issues and opportunities of securing woody bioenergy feedstock from both native hardwood forests and pine plantations. The group returned to ORNL for an afternoon symposium on woody bioenergy feedstock production, harvesting, utilization, and public policy related topics.

Left: Dr. Kevin Hoyt, Director (left-black jacket), discusses the details of a recent timber harvest on the FRREC-Oak Ridge Forest, and the potential tie-in with bioenergy woody feedstock production.


Photo courtesy of Carlos Jones.

Virginia Pine Before and After

Photo Above: Before and after pictures of the 60+ year old Virginia pine that was cut down within the UT Arboretum grounds.

60+ Year-old Virginia Pine Taken Down in the Arboretum

Samuel Peyton Climbing Virginia Pine On April 4th, 2016, a 60+ year old Virginia pine was taken down within the UT Arboretum grounds, due to a fatal lightning strike that killed the tree this past fall. Mr. Samuel Peyton, UT Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries - Urban Forestry program senior, donated his services to help safely take the tree down using professional arborist skills and equipment. Dr. Kevin Hoyt, Director, UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, and Mr. Bo Duncan, Equipment Operator, assisted with on-the-ground safety watch and woody debris cleanup operations. The main log of the tree will be sawed into rough cut lumber and used on a future FRREC construction project.

Photo Left: Mr. Samuel Peyton (center – orange) scales the 60+ year old Virginia pine cutting off branches as he works towards the top of the tree crown for final cutting and removal.

Martin Schubert
Martin Schubert and David Clabo

Cumberland Forest Conducts Prescribed Burns

The UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center – Cumberland Forest Unit in Morgan County conducted a series of controlled burns this past March as part of the Shortleaf Pine reforestation project. The objectives of this long-term project are to demonstrate examples of site preparation practices used to establish Shortleaf pine-hardwood mixtures on areas of the Cumberland Plateau that historically supported these forest types. Prescribed burning was one of the treatments used during the study to assess the sprouting ability of Shortleaf pine after the initial establishment of the young seedlings through a commercial tree planting operation conducted during the spring of 2015. The project is being conducted by Dr. Wayne Clatterbuck, Professor – UT Forestry, Wildlife & Fisheries (FWF), and Mr. David Clabo, PhD candidate – UT-FWF. Mr. Martin Schubert, Manager, UT Cumberland Forest, took the lead in securing the project study site, coordinating the timber harvest of the site prior to Shortleaf pine planting, and overseeing the series of prescribed burn treatments.

Photo Top Left: Mr. Martin Schubert, Cumberland Forest Manager, oversees the fire behavior of the prescribed burn on the Shortleaf Pine research/demo project.

Photo Bottom Left: Mr. Martin Schubert, Cumberland Forest Manager (right), applies fire to the project area with a drip torch, as David Clabo, PhD Candidate, tends to the prescribed fire control line.

Father-Daughter Hike 2016

2016 UTAS Father-Daughter Hike

Jeff Holt, Consulting Forester and UTAS Volunteer (far right – blue jacket) led the 7th annual Father-Daughter hike held on Saturday, February 20. The event was co-sponsored by the UT Arboretum Society and the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. A mild winter day brought out the “dads and daughters” in droves for the event. The 80 attendees were split into two groups, one led by Jeff Holt on the South Forest Loop Trail area, and the other led by Kevin Hoyt, FRREC Director, on the Tulip Poplar/Heath Cove trails. The hikers enjoyed their brisk 1+ hour walk before returning to the Auditorium for fellowship, orange juice, coffee and snacks.

Photo courtesy of Janet Bigelow.

New year's Day Hike 2016

Second Annual UTAS New Year's Day Hike

The UT Arboretum Society (UTAS) hosted the second annual “New Year's Day Hike” on Friday January 1st, 2016. The event started out in the new Arboretum Auditorium at 9:30 am for a “meet and greet” with UTAS members and FRREC staff, which included free coffee, hot chocolate and assorted snacks. At about 10 am the attendees left the visitors center for several group hikes that included the Oak-Hickory Trail, the Heath Cove Trail, and the Tulip Poplar Trail. The cold winter day did not decrease the enthusiasm of the 82 people in attendance.

Left: The “New Years Day Hike” attendees getting ready to embark on the Tulip Poplar Trail hike.


Photo courtesy of Janet Bigelow.