EPA Grant Assists in Education
In early 2004, we received word that our grant proposal for $5000 from the Environmental Protection Agency would be funded. Our idea was to purchase an LCD projector and screen, partner with the TN Division of Natural Heritage and TN Native Plant Society, and conduct a series of outings and presentations. The goal was to raise public awareness about rare plants and threatened habitats on the Western Highland Rim of Tennessee, as well as educating landowners about how land trusts can assist with protecting such natural resources into the future.
A hike along Big Swan Creek in June introduced the public to the Big Swan Headwaters Preserve, showcasing Large-Flowered Barbara’s Buttons and Michigan Lily. From there, the group went to Stillhouse Hollow Falls, hiking past a seep where Large-Leaf Grass-of-Parnassus grows and Oak-Leaf Hydrangea adorns the slopes in rare abundance.
Rattlesnake Falls was our destination in July, led by Dwayne Estes who has done a floristic study of the property and has proven himself to be an expert on the plant life there. Attendees became acquainted with Eggert’s Sunflower but were disappointed that the Purple Fringeless Orchids could not be found. Some suspected the numerous whitetail deer to be the culprits. We also visited a roadside site in Giles County where we saw Price’s Potato Bean thriving on a slope.
Dwayne Estes and UT colleague, John Beck, led an outing at Dry Branch in northwest Lewis County in August. The name of the stream is no indication of the botanical richness found there, including the endangered Tennessee Yellow-Eyed Grass (featured in our logo) and countless other species. Later that evening, Dwayne gave a powerpoint presentation on The Flora of Giles County, highlighting the different habitat types and rare plants he has identified in his home county.