The event has been held at the Roan Mountain State Park every year since 2009. The ages of children who have participated have ranged from 12 months through 17 years old. The average age is 10 to 12. Nearly all of them have learned a lot of new things about nature in the beautiful outdoor setting.
The children are accompanied by adults, which makes it an adventure for the whole family.
The event begins at 8:15 p.m. Friday at the Roan Mountain State Park Amphitheater. The program includes:
• Encounters of the Eight-Legged Kind stage show with Dr. “T.J.” Jones from the East Tennessee State University Department of Biology.
• A Spider Hunt with Jones.
• A moth party with Larry McDaniel, naturalist from the Nature Center at Steele Creek Park.
• Salamanders at Night with Roan Mountain Interpretive Ranger Tyler Wicks.
Saturday’s events at the amphiitheater:
8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.: Registration and welcome.
9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.:
• Adventure 1: Nature hike bingo with Ranger Philip Hylen of Roan Mountain State Park.
• Adventure 2: Wet Rocks Geology Adventure with Lance Jesse from the Nature Center at Steele Creek Park (bring creek shoes and a change of socks and shoes).
• Adventure 3: Salamander Adventure with Dale Ledford.
• Adventure 4: Millipedes and Centipedes Safari with master naturalist Cade Campbell.
• Adventure 5: Discover Birds with birders Jean and Brookie Potter.
10:30 to 11:45 a.m.:
• Adventure 6: Snake Adventure with Connie Deegan from the Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department.
• Adventure 7: Spider Adventure with Dr. T.J. Jones from the East Tennessee State University Department of Biology.
• Adventure 8: Wet and Wild Creek Biology with Gary Barrier and Cathy Landry (bring creek shoes and change of socks and shoes).
• Adventure 9: Animal tracking with Joe McGuiness from the U.S. Forest Service.
• Adventure 10: Orienteering and Geocaching with Ingrid Huffman from East Tennessee State University.
At the Conference Center:
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Adventure 11: Nature crafts with Tracy Campbell, Bettye Boone and Sheri Rhudy.
• Adventure 12: Birds of Prey with Frank and Doreen Read from Bays Mountain Park.
• Adventure 13: Reptiles from Roan Mountain State Park with Seasonal Interpretive Ranger Tyler Wicks.
• Adventure 14: Wildlife Helper Adventure with Denise Shadduck and Michael Vaughn from Doe River Gorge Christian Camp.
• Adventure 15: Fossil Casting with Dr. Mick Whitelaw from East Tennessee State University Department of GeoSciences.
• Adventure 16: Know Your Knots with Seasonal Interpretive Ranger Shane McConnell.
• Adventure 17: Owls at the Aviary with Roan Mountain State Park Ranger Philip Hylen.
Participants may eat their lunch in the Conference Center.
Afternoon adventures start at 1:30 p.m. and participants can stop anytime they want, but the adventures usually end around 4:30 p.m.
The afternoon program:
• Adventure 18: Owl Pellet Dissection with Janet Brown.
• Adventure 19: Butterflies with Nancy Barrigar and Aubrie Abernathy.
• Adventure 20: Blueberry Hike Adventure over the grassy balds with Jamey Donaldson, Travis Bordley from Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and Ken Turner (1-3 miles round trip).
• Adventure 21: Underwater adventure — limited to kids 12 years old and limited to 12 participants with Chris Stoehrel from the U.S. Forest Service.
Registration may be done on line at https://formsmarts.com/form/1vch?mode=h5. Registration can also be done at the event on Friday or Saturday.