The free event is co-sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation and the Tennessee Ornithological Society and features events at the Birchwood School, Cherokee Memorial and at the Hiwassee Refuge.
On Saturday, Birchwood School will open at 8 a.m., when children’s activities, breakfast, and related displays will start the day. Special presentations are scheduled at the school’s gym starting at 10 a.m. with opening ceremonies.
Lunch will be available in cafeteria after 11 a.m. and free parking will be available at the school with shuttle buses to the Refuge and Cherokee Memorial, provided by Blue Moon Cruises.
At 10:30 a.m., Kirk Miles, TWRA Region III Wildlife program manager, is scheduled to present a special report celebrating the 10th anniversary of the State Wildlife Grants in Tennessee.
The grant program, created in 2000, is designed to provide critical funding in support of fish and wildlife species that are rare or declining.
Miles’ presentation will explain Tennessee’s use of the State Wildlife Grants, the first significant funding to manage and conserve non-game fish and wildlife in our state.
A Native American heritage presenter, Sky Wolf, of the Over Hill Cherokee Nation of Cherokee descendants, will present a program featuring Native American Heritage in the Hiwassee River area at noon.
The American Eagle Foundation is scheduled to present a live raptor show at 1 p.m. featuring some of the many birds of prey rehabilitated by their team after being found injured across the nation.
Some of the birds cannot be released back into the wild and are part of the American Eagle Foundation’s show at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge.
Starting at 2:30 p.m., local traditional music expert Tom Morgan will hold a “hands-on” session for kids allowing them to hold and play various traditional musical instruments.
At 3 p.m., Morgan, Lynne Haas and Ray Branham will play some of the old traditional songs that include Western and bluegrass influences.
The 2nd Nature Band from Nashville will perform at 4 p.m. and end the activities at the school.
On both days of the event, starting at 8 a.m., members of the Cherokee Nation will be on hand to provide visitors with educational information on Native American heritage including numerous artifacts at the Cherokee Removal Memorial. Displays from the TWRA, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, the Tennessee Ornithological Society, and Blue Moon Cruises will be set up at the Hiwassee Refuge’s educational building.
TWRA and TOS bird experts will be on hand to provide wildlife interpretation with spotting scopes for those visitors there to enjoy the thousands of sandhill cranes, reintroduced whooping cranes and various native wildlife species found at the area.
Activities at Birchwood School will only take place on Saturday, but visitors may park and board shuttle buses to the Refuge and Memorial at the school on both days due to limited parking at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge.