Icy Beauty

Randy Hedgepath | January 26, 2017 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Winter can be dark and grey but certain conditions can present you with incredible scenic wonders. A string of days with temperatures below freezing can build fairyland castles around waterfalls. 

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Some Interesting Fall Mushrooms

Randy Hedgepath | December 6, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Mushrooms provide interest and beauty to a late autumn walk.

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Fall Colors on the Paw Paw Trail at Fall Creek Falls

Randy Hedgepath | October 17, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

The dramatic reds and yellow of red maple, farkleberry, and tulip trees make the Paw Paw Trail at Fall Creek Falls an ideal walk on a fall day. 

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Late Summer in the Wildflower Meadow

Randy Hedgepath | August 23, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Gossett Tract at Harpeth River State Park is a haven of late summer beauty. Join State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath as he walks through open, sunny meadows on a tour of late summer wildflower blooms. 

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Swimming at the Park Lake

Niki Conolly | June 23, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

A hot dry summer makes a lot of us yearn for a swim. 

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Mountain Laurel

Niki Conolly | May 16, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Take a walk in a state park soon and enjoy the show.

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Unique Trillium in the Last Days of Spring

Randy Hedgepath | April 27, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Mayapple and twisted trillium are highlights of the late spring ephemeral wildflower season.

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Hotspots for Spring Wildflowers

Randy Hedgepath | April 12, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Spring flowers are in full display in many of our parks and natural areas this month. Here are a few of my favorite places to enjoy them:

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Purple Phacelia

Randy Hedgepath | April 8, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

 Set against a backdrop of spring green leaves and budding trees, purple phacelia can be found growing singularly or in waves of purple. This spring ephemeral doesn't disappoint. 

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Spring Flowers on Trees

Randy Hdgepath | March 10, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Spring blooms are not just for flowers. Take a look at some of Randy's favorite early spring bloomers.

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Wonderful Winter Waterfalls

Randy Hedgepath | February 19, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

State Naturalist, Randy Hedgepath shares his tips on making the most of your winter waterfall trip. 

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Green in the Winter

Randy hedgepath | January 6, 2016 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Evergreens are the color in an otherwise gray and brown winter forest, but not all the green in the winter is evergreen. 

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Forests of November

Randy Hedgepath | November 9, 2015 | State Naturalist | Permalink

The waning fall color holds its magic in the November woods.

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Fall Color Immersion

Randy Hedgepath | October 2, 2015 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Randy has some great tips for the ultimate fall color experience. 

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Late Season Wildflowers

Randy Hedgepath | September 1, 2015 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Late summer and early fall wildflowers provide a bounty of color. State Naturalist, Randy Hedgepath, shares some of his favorite fall flowers and where to find them.

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A Bounty of Beauty and Color in August

Randy Hedgepath | August 17, 2015 | State Naturalist | Permalink

August is when hot weather’s charm starts to wear thin, but it is a great time to see wild plants with their ripe fruits and berries. These ripe and soon to be ripe fruits give the season some of its most beautiful and colorful sights.

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How About a Shady Walk?

Randy Hedgepath | May 26, 2015 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Warmer weather doesn't mean staying inside! Tennessee State Parks have plenty of shady trails, perfect places to escape the summer heat. Dark Hollow Trail at Big Ridge State Park is ideal for exploring our shadier side!

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The Ephemeral Season

Randy Hedgepath | March 19, 2015 | State Naturalist | Permalink

It is spring ephemeral season. That time of the year when wildflowers rush to grow, bloom and store energy for another year. These plants start growing as soon as the days get long enough and the soil temperature is warm enough. 

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A Walk in the Winter Woods

Randy Hedgepath | February 25, 2015 | State Naturalist | Permalink

A walk in the winter woods is an expansive experience. The views at this time of year are longer and wider, exposing the details of the once hidden land. Through the forest you can see rocks, ravines and slopes that you would not have seen through the wall of green. Discover the joy of hiking and walking through the winter woods.

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Short Days and Long Nights

Randy Hedgepath | December 8, 2014 | State Naturalist | Permalink

Short days and long nights are what characterize December. In fact, the shortest day and the longest night of the year is the winter solstice which is on December 21st. After this day the days start getting longer but are still very short until the equinox on March 20th. This time of year is also prone to long periods of grey cloudy weather with rain and sometimes snow making the days seem almost like night. No wonder then that a lot of people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D., where you feel depressed and unmotivated. The best treatment for this malady is as much exposure to sunlight and/or daylight as possible. Some recommend getting up early, especially on sunny days, to insure you are not sleeping thru any precious daylight hours. Also recommended is getting outside, despite the cold, and soaking up as much light as you can. Your local greenspace or nearby state park can be your venue for the light treatment.

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