NOTE: This event, originally planned for April 22, was postponed due to rainy conditions. It is being rescheduled to a later date this fall so attendees will be able to enjoy the many outdoor activities planned. Watch the Cookeville Leisure Services Department Facebook page and website, cookeville-tn.gov/ls, for updates.
Nature Fest is a free celebration of the great outdoors presented by Cookeville Leisure Services, Tennessee Tech University biology department, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Nature Fest organizing committee. The event will begin at Cane Creek Park, 201 C C Camp Road, Cookeville, from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and conclude at Dogwood Park, 30 E. Broad St., from 6-10 p.m.
Nature Fest began in 2005 as an effort to showcase nature’s treasures in Putnam County and the surrounding area. Locals are fortunate to have an abundance of opportunities to enjoy nature: on lakes, in parks, along creeks, in forests, on trails, and even in their own backyards. Organizers continue to tap into the wealth of knowledgeable people willing to share their expertise through hikes, lectures, workshops, presentations and activities that focus on land, water, air and animals.
The day’s schedule is as follows:
Cane Creek Park: Nature Walks
- 7-9:45 a.m. – Bird Walk: Wake up early and go birding with a resident expert birder. Bring binoculars and a keen ear. Meet at the paddleboat area. Instructor: Dan Combs.
- 10-11:45 a.m. – Tree Walk: Learn to identify trees by shape, bark, foliage and other clues. Meet at the TWRA trailer near Hilltop shelter. Instructor: Dan Combs.
- 12-1:45 p.m. – Wildflower Walk: Check out the flowering plants and learn their names as you walk through Cane Creek Park. Meet at the trailhead near Hilltop Shelter. Instructor: Dan Twyman.
Cane Creek Park: Hilltop Shelter
- 10-11:45 a.m. – Flint Knapping: See a live demonstration of making arrowheads from flint. Instructor: John Zentz.
- 10-11:45 a.m. – Creek Critters: Explore the diversity of species that occupy creeks and streams with the Department of Environment and Conservation. See live critters, too.
- 12-1:45 p.m. – Container Gardens for the Urban Farmer: Grow food anywhere with easy container methods that anyone can manage. Instructor: Randy Dodson.
- 2-4 p.m. – Exotic Insects: See an extensive insect collection and talk to the collector himself. Instructor: Nadeer Youssef.
- 2-4 p.m. – Beekeeper Exhibition: Learn all about honey bees and beekeeping. Instructor: David LaFerney.
- 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. – TWRA Wildlife Exhibit: Visit the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency educational exhibit in the shelter parking lot.
Cane Creek Park: Courtside Shelter
- 10-11:45 a.m. – Wildlife Tracking: Use wildlife telemetry equipment to find transmitters hidden in the woods. Instructor: Steve Hayslette.
- 10-11:45 a.m. – Knots: Join Boy Scouts of America to learn to tie a few simple and useful knots in a short time. Rope will be provided.
- 12-1:45 p.m. – Scavenger Hunt: Look for items found in nature (and some that aren’t) during this activity that is fun for both kids and parents. Instructor: Beth Smith.
- 2-4 p.m. – Snakes-s-s-s-s-s: Learn interesting facts and myths about snakes. Live snakes will be present. Instructor: Dan Combs.
Cane Creek Park: Fishing Pier
- 10-11:45 a.m. – Fishing Techniques: Join the Tennessee Tech University Student Fisheries Association to learn techniques and equipment for successful fishing. Hands-on chances to participate.
Cane Creek Park: Duck Feeding Area (near the boat ramp)
- 12-3 p.m. – Gold Panning: Pan for gold and identify common minerals with the Tennessee Tech University Geology Club. Materials provided.
- 6-7:30 p.m. – Live Birds of Prey: Learn interesting facts and stories about various birds of prey. Live birds will be displayed in the Dogwood Performance Pavilion. Instructor: Dave Haggard.
- 8-10 p.m. – Nature Movies After Dark: See two hour-long films on the big screen outdoors at the Dogwood Performance Pavilion. The films, sponsored by WCTE, are “Super Hummingbirds” and “Animal Homes: Location, Location, Location.” Bring blankets and lawn chairs for these family-friendly films.
For more information about Nature Fest, call Cookeville Leisure Services at 931-520-4386 or visit www.cookeville-tn.gov/ls/events/nature-fest or www.facebook.com/NatureFest.