Special Activities Across Tennessee Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the State Natural Areas Preservation Act
NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam has proclaimed April 10–16 Tennessee State Natural Areas Week, and Tennesseans are encouraged to join in a weeklong celebration with activities such as wildflower hikes, guided tours and volunteer stewardship efforts.
“Tennessee is home to an abundance of streams and lakes, diverse plant and wildlife and some of the most beautiful landscapes this country has to offer,” said Haslam. “Our natural areas offer Tennesseans an opportunity to get out and explore, and I encourage all citizens to enjoy the outdoors during this special observation.”
The State Natural Areas Program provides long-term protection for rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal life. The program also protects ecologically sensitive areas, areas of geological and archaeological interest and areas of great scenic beauty. First established in 1971 by the Tennessee Natural Areas Preservation Act, there are now 81 state natural areas covering more than 120,000 acres.
“This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Tennessee Natural Areas Preservation Act,” added Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “So much of what Tennessee stands for is grounded in our vast and diverse natural resources and we are appreciative of the many individuals who continue to support these special places.”
The week includes a full schedule of events in many of these 81 natural areas. A wide variety of interesting activities – including a butterfly identification program and several guided wildflower and birding hikes – are planned to engage Tennesseans in appreciating and enjoying these public areas.
For a complete schedule of events and trip details, please visit the Resource Management Division’s state natural areas Web site at www.tn.gov/environment/na/events/seasonal.shtml or call (615) 532-0431. Many activities require reservations, so please call early to ensure an opportunity to participate.