LEBANON - Cedars of Lebanon State Park will host the 36th Annual Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival May 3-4. Held in partnership with the Center for Cedar Glade Studies of Middle Tennessee State University, this event will offer visitors an opportunity to learn more about the area through seminars, guided nature walks, exhibits, guest speakers and naturalist displays. All events are free and open to the public.
"Cedars of Lebanon is excited to once again host this great two-day festival," said Park Manager Kenny Daniel. "We will have an impressive roster of experts and numerous activities and educational opportunities for all ages to enjoy."
Dr. Elsie Quarterman is professor Emeritus of Vanderbilt University and pioneered cedar glade research in the early 1950s. Coupled with her extensive research, Dr. Quarterman has been an advocate for natural area protection throughout her distinguished career. Her efforts helped Tennessee in 1971 become one of the first states in the U.S. to pass legislation to protect natural areas.
"We are also excited to celebrate Dr. Quarterman's 103rd birthday this year," added Daniel. "Her love and support of Cedars and its surrounding glades, along with her experience as a naturalist, scientist and conservationist, are unmatched. We are honored that she has shared her vast knowledge of the area with us over the years."
The festival will kick off on Friday, May 3, beginning at 1 p.m. at the park's Assembly Hall for the Center for Cedar Glade Studies' research roundtable. Friday's evening program will feature guest speakers Cedars of Lebanon Ranger and Naturalist Buddy Ingram and Kim Sadler with the Center for Cedar Glade Studies. There will also be an Identification Program for the flowers that will be seen on Saturday. Cumberland University Professor Danny Bryan will be on hand to discuss reptiles in the Cedar Glades and share his current rattlesnake behavior research. A reception will follow the program and will include light refreshments and music.
On Saturday, May 4, early risers and bird watchers will enjoy a Bird Walk, beginning at 7 a.m. at the park's Huddleston Cedar Forest Lodge. Expert birders, including members of Wilson County's Tennessee Ornithological Society chapter, will lead the walk. Participants are encouraged to bring field glasses and bird books.
Other event highlights on Saturday include several motorcade jaunts to various glades led by NatureServe Senior Ecologist Milo Pyne, Dr. Dwayne Estes with Austin Peay, along with state and park naturalists. Participants are encouraged to contact the park office at (615) 444-4565 or toll free at (800) 713-5180 for reservations and departure times, as transportation is limited.
Also on Saturday, exhibits in the Cedar Forest Lodge will open at 9 a.m. This year's exhibitors include the Edible Natives with Sharon Bracey, Reflections in Wildlife, Millie Buford Flowers, the Tennessee Native Plant Society and the MTSU Center for Cedar Glade Studies.
At the Nature Center, beginning Saturday at 9 a.m., experts will give various talks and lead hikes throughout the day, covering topics such as geology, butterflies of the glades, the "underground" wonders of local caves, gardening with native plants, edible native plants, along with a reptiles program.
Saturday evening, the Birds of the Night program will be held at 6 p.m. Owl Prowl and Frog Frolic activities will be held from 7-9 p.m., led by Ray Pope and Professor Bryan. Participants are asked to meet at the Huddleston Cedar Forest Lodge for these two activities.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park and State Forest are located in the southwestern part of Wilson County within the central basin of Tennessee. Both were established during the 1930s as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's program to resettle people and replant the Cedar trees that had been heavily harvested. The area now contains one of the largest juniper forests in the country. For more information about the park, visit www.tnstateparks.com/Cedars.
The Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade is a 185-acre natural area in Rutherford County. It is a part of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Percy Priest Reservoir and is managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency as a Wildlife Management Area.
For more information about the Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival, please contact the Cedars of Lebanon State Park office at (615) 444-4565 or toll free at (800) 713-5180.