2024 Tennessee Native Plant Society Annual Conference

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Message from the Tennessee Native Plant Society:

Roan Mountain State Park has informed us about some area closures in June that will affect our conference field trips. Two of our field trips, the Saturday AM trip to Grassy Ridge and the Saturday PM trip to the Miller Farmstead, are not affected by the closures. However, two field trips, the Saturday PM trip to the Rhododendron Gardens and the Sunday AM trip to Roan High Knob, are impacted.

The good news is that we will still have the opportunity to see the beautiful Catawba Rhododendron as it blooms abundantly in many areas around Roan Mountain, including the Carver’s Gap parking area and the trail from Carver’s Gap to Grassy Ridge. Additionally, there are Flame Azalea, Mountain Ash Trees, and Green Alders in the area, as well as many other native wildflowers on the park trails.

The revised conference field trip schedule is as follows:

Friday, June 7, Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9

Saturday AM: Field Trip 1: Carvers Gap to Grassy Bald remains scheduled. 7:30 am – Meet at the Pool Parking Area for Field Trip 1, a Hike from Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge Bald. The leader is Marty Silver, a Park Ranger with Warriors’ Path State Park.

Saturday PM: Field Trip 2, NEW: Moonshiners Run. 1:00 pm—Meet at the Pool Parking Area for Field Trip 2, a two-mile loop trail within the park with many wildflowers. The leader is Ken Rea, a local area TNPS member.

Saturday PM: Field trip 3: A visit to Miller Farmstead remains as scheduled. 2:00 pm – Meet at the Pool Parking Area for a guided visit to Miller Farmstead, a historic home site and pollinator garden. Led by park ranger, Philip Hylen and Amanda Morgan, the tour guide for the historical tour at the MillerFarmstead. 

Sunday AM: Field trip 4: NEW: Return to Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge Bald. Meetup at the Pool Parking Area for Field Trip 4: Carvers Gap to Grassy Ridge Bald. As this will be our most popular hike with a great opportunity to see spring wildflowers, we decided to repeat this field Trip for those who were not able to attend on Saturday morning and others who may want to return to all or part of the trail. The leader is Gary Kauffman, a senior botanist and ecologist working with the US Forest Service National Forests Division in North Carolina.

Please note: If Mother Nature is unpredictable, she is wildly erratic in these times of global warming. Therefore, while we can expect to see many native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees in the Roan Mountain area, what we see may differ from what we expect. Having visited Roan Mountain in mid-June, late June, and early July, I can attest that it is always magical.

If you have not yet registered for the Conference, you can register online through your member login portal. This is one event you will not want to miss.

Mitchell Kent

Director and Conference Chair
P.S. Registration is also available on our Conference page of the website.