|While many TVA-sponsored events were canceled this year due to Covid-19, our TVA Natural Resources volunteer program has still maintained a successful year. Many individual contributors like you are making such a difference to help protect public lands and make sure the trails are in great shape for everyone to enjoy. As 2020 comes to a close, here are some statistics on how you helped us out:
As we move forward into 2021, we are looking at virtual ways to expand our reach to involve more community groups, students requiring volunteer service hours, and corporate partners.
- Twenty additional Adopt A Trail/ Adopt A Spot volunteers joined us and we now have 59 volunteers working in 17 counties who have adopted trails, boat ramps and informal recreation areas.
- Over 220 hours of Adopt a Trail/Adopt a Spot volunteer work was completed.
- We added additional sites for potential adoption and extended opportunities to boat launches and stream access sites.
- Crew Log newsletter grew its readership to 500+ people.
- Thirteen volunteers received a recognition hammock or t-shirt by completing all four site visits. Keep up the good work!
Our Public Lands
In lieu of in-person events for National Trails Day and National Public Lands Day, our staff found some creative and virtual ways to highlight the importance of our public lands. Watch some of our videos below for a snapshot of the work our employees do and for some educational content as well.
Join Craig one of our aquatic ecologists, on how to recognize some bio-indicators! - YouTube
Escape into nature today and join Craig, one of our aquatic ecologists! Tag along to see the health of the stream and see firsthand our team's commitment to protecting the environment. Who knows, you might see some critters along the way!
Join Fisheries biologist Jon Micael Mollish on an adventure into the underwater rainforest! - YouTube
Just under the water's surface, you'll find what some call the underwater rainforest and fish species that can only be found here in the Tennessee River Valley. Fisheries biologist Jon Michael Mollish explains why monitoring the health of our creeks, rivers and reservoirs is so important to everyone who lives in and visits the Valley.
Prescribed Burns - YouTube
TVA & World of Water Monitoring Project - YouTube
A program that we bring to 5th graders in the Valley to spark an interest in science and show them how science can be fun.
Derek South - Powered By People You Know - YouTube
As a recreation agreements specialist, Derek South does many things to help keep our public lands and trails safe and up to code. Derek is an avid outdoorsman and says he still can't believe he got the job he has been working for all his life.
Join Chloe on a virtual hike! - YouTube
Join Chloe, an environmental scientist, here at TVA on a virtual hike!
Volunteer for Public Lands Today and Every Day
On nice days in the Tennessee Valley, individuals and families flock to TVA public lands to enjoy nature, but many of them also check the condition of their favorite place, and perhaps they pick up, trim up and lend nature a hand. On Public Lands Day and the other 364 days, these are the type of individuals who volunteer with TVA’s Adopt a Spot program, and there’s room for more.
With 293,000 acres of public land in the Tennessee Valley, it’s difficult to know how it is being treated. Let’s face it, not everyone gives nature the respect it deserves. Many of these areas are undeveloped, perfect for tent camping, hiking, fishing or birding, so keeping an eye on them is easier when the job is spread among many volunteers. That’s why Suzanne Fisher, TVA senior program manager, never stops connecting people with the program.
Brenda Hall is one of those people. She appreciates the opportunity to combine one of her outdoor hobbies with volunteering on Nickajack Reservoir for Adopt a Trail. “I enjoy hiking and feel great about monitoring my trail and keeping it cleaned up for others to enjoy. I have a feeling of ownership for my trail and take pride in doing my part in fulfilling TVA’s mission of service.
Fisher has been encouraged by the progress of TVA’s Adopt a Spot and Adopt a Trail Volunteer Programs. Together, they have grown from just a dozen people in three locations to 60 volunteers who have logged 400 hours at 34 sites. Participation and work hours have doubled every two years, which has inspired a rewards program based on volunteer hours. As Fisher plans for the program’s fifth anniversary in 2021, she’s determined to “double down the effort and reach more volunteers. We still have plenty of more spots available and can use the help!”
While individuals have different motivations for helping, Fisher finds that most of them have things in common. “They like to fish or hike or take their families out, and they want the public to enjoy the areas,” she says.
Because TVA asks these helpers to visit their spot four times annually, many of them tend to keep the area they adopt because they already frequent that location. But no matter the reason, it’s a perfect activity for families and friends or those who simply want to enjoy the solitude.
Signing up for this program is as easy as logging onto the Adopt a Spot site at TVA.com and completing a volunteer application. If you’d like to become more familiar with other outdoor volunteer programs, events or view photos of available spots to adopt, sign up for the Crew Log. This newsletter is emailed quarterly to those who share an interest in TVA’s special places.
Outdoors Winter Safety Tips
Spending time outdoors in the winter months can be a great way to lift your spirits and beat the winter doldrums, but make sure you take a few precautions and don’t get caught off-guard. Here are a few reminders and tips to keep in mind before you venture away from your cozy home.
Dress for success. Stay dry and warm by layering articles of clothing. Start with your base layer, often referred to as your long underwear. Avoid cotton, if possible, so that this layer can breathe and wick moisture away from your skin. Next is the insulating layer, such as wool, fleece, or microfleece shirts and/or jackets. This layer should keep you warm. Remember to think about insulated pants, if the temperatures are near or below freezing. Top it off with a waterproof shell so that the wind and snow won’t cut through your layers. Don’t forget that you can layer your socks and gloves as well and remember… keep your head warm with an insulated hat that can cover your ears. If it is near (or below) freezing, remember to cover your nose and extremities to prevent frostbite. As for footwear, waterproof boots are the best. In the south, you make think it is warm enough for sandals in the morning, but then realize that you needed your boots half-way up the trail. Be prepared for changing conditions.
Hello darkness, my old friend. The amount of available daylight in the winter months is reduced and the sun can set as early as 5:20 (EST). This means that if you live in the western portion of the Tennessee River Valley, it could be dark before you leave work or shortly after you get home from school. Plan on completing any outdoor work or recreation activity early enough in the day or go on the weekend to prevent getting caught out in the dark. Take note of the sun’s position in the sky if you are on the trail and wrap up your work or fun before it gets too low in the sky…so, don’t go that extra mile. And remember to take a flashlight or headlamp just in case.
It’s the journey, not the destination. Driving in winter conditions can be tricky and a downright nightmare in the south. Keep your car serviced, check your tire tread and pressure, and don’t let your fuel level sink too low. Check road conditions before you venture out and consider postponing your trip if the weather conditions are not favorable. Volunteering is just that. Save it for another day. If you are out on the trail and the weather sneaks up on you, remember that slipping and tripping hazards exist. Leaves are wet and slippery and what seems like a gentle rolling hill may end up being a slippery slide on your backside. Go slow and steady. Trekking poles can be good, but they can also slip out from under you on wet rocks and snow. Be aware of your footing and pay attention to the path. Check out the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Winter Drive Safety Tips so you can be prepared this winter. https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/tdot/documents/driving_tips.pdf
Remember your essentials. You can still get a sun burn and become dehydrated in the winter, so remember to take your sunscreen and plenty of water. Your winter pack should also include extra clothes and socks, food, first aid kit, flashlight, map, and emergency contact information. Carry these in a water-proof plastic bag in case the weather turns on you. Lip moisturizer and chewing gum are also great to keep in your pocket (just remember to pack out your trash)!
It’s hunting season! Remember that most TVA areas are multiuse. Hunting is allowed unless otherwise posted, but hikers, horseback riders and other recreation users may be in the area, too. Wearing hunter orange hats and vests helps ensure that you are seen when you’re in the woods—whether you’re hunting or not. For more information on hunting on TVA lands, see https://www.tva.com/Environment/Recreation/Come-Hunt-with-Us
Plan, plan, and plan some more. Make sure someone else knows your plan and make sure you plan well. It goes without saying, when in doubt…sit it out. Check your local weather forecast and plan accordingly. Visit TVA’s website for any road, trail or other facility closures that may affect your trip.
Volunteers at work
- Please welcome our newest volunteer, Jennie Rogers on Foshee Trail. We appreciate your help!
- Volunteers have submitted 17 hours of monitoring and litter pickup over the past two months. Parking lot litter, household/construction dumping, and vandalism continue to occur on TVA lands. Our staff is working on getting to these sites--please know that it may take some time to reach them all.
- Thank you to Girl Scout Troop 235 in Greene County for picking up along the Kinser Bridge on Nolichucky and thank you to Jerry Griffin, our Adopt a Spot volunteer for his work and attention to that location.
- Congratulations and thank you to Dale Miller, our volunteer on Tellico, for receiving his hammock. Dale puts in many hours helping us keep several sites clean and monitored.
- Do you have any ideas for virtual volunteer events or do you have any litter pick-ups scheduled for the upcoming year at your site? We would love to hear your ideas! 2021 will continue to challenge us when it comes to hosting in-person events. Stay tuned.
Reminders & Upcoming Events
- Adopt a Spot Volunteers: remember to fill out your Condition Evaluation Report and submit your volunteer hours to email@example.com.
- Complete 4 site visits and you’ll earn a hammock. Complete 8 site visits and you’ll earn our new volunteer t-shirt. It is quick dry and long-sleeved!
- Got a story or a photo to share about your site that you would like featured in the next newsletter? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
|Join the fun!
We would love to see photos of your volunteer activities and stories.
Share your adventure on social media by tagging #tvafun to your posts
Share your volunteer story by emailing email@example.com
for a chance to be featured in the Volunteer Spotlight
Find out about volunteer events and opportunities on TVA public lands in other parts of seven states in the Tennessee Valley
Plan your next adventure on TVA lands