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Hello everyone, I’m Suzanne Fisher, TVA’s Natural Resources Volunteer coordinator and I’m happy to share the first issue of Crew Log. A few weeks ago, TVA hosted a Weed WrangleTM at two locations known for amazing wildflowers and native plants (TVA’s Big Ridge Small Wild Area in Chattanooga and the Whitey Hall Native Plant Memorial Garden on the Muscle Shoals TVA Reservation at Wilson Dam). Volunteers helped to remove invasive plants such as privet, bush honey suckle and chickweed! As I was walking along the trail to the worksite, I was excited to see my first wildflowers this spring. Trillium, Trout Lily, Spring Beauties and Blood Root were all in full display. It was amazing and as the other volunteers noticed the flowers, we stopped to take photographs, discuss our favorite wildflowers and test our knowledge. This made the work we were about to do all the more relevant! We were on a mission to enhance the habitat for these amazing indicators of spring by making the forest a little less crowded from invasive plants. The rest of the morning was filled with laughter and casual conversation, and as the discarded privet began piling up, we all stepped back to see the difference our work had made. Trail runners began to ask if they could help next time and more people stopped to learn more. They wanted to come help the next time! Volunteering is contagious, especially when you feel it in your heart. We are updating our volunteer web page to make it easier for you to find volunteer opportunities on TVA-managed lands.  Coming up we will have many opportunities for participation in Earth Day volunteer events. Plus, we’ve listed more sites to adopt all across the Valley. And we want to hear and see your volunteer stories and photos on TVA-managed lands! Snap a photo of you and your friends in action taking care of public lands, share it on social media and connect with others who are passionate about volunteering, just like you.  Just hashtag, #tvafun. As we move into spring and the lakes start filling up with visitors, take time to acknowledge that your volunteer efforts are helping to keep these public lands available for all to enjoy and in good condition. Thank you so much for all that you do!

-Suzanne

Opportunities

We have a lot of opportunities for you to spend some time outside giving back to the places you love to play, care for the plants and animals that live in the Tennessee Valley, and develop a love of conservation.

Want to volunteer? We’ll help you find ways to get out and have fun, all while helping the valley. Whether you have a day or are looking for an ongoing pursuit that you can fit in on your time, we have several ways that you can be a stewardship hero.

Adopt a Spot/Adopt a Trail is a program for people who want to learn more about and care for public lands. Perfect for corporate team-building, science classes, scouting groups, and neighborhood home-owners associations. Form your group or go at it solo…either way, you’ll enjoy knowing that this spot is being taken care of.

Event days are half-day or full-day opportunities for you to pitch in and help, learn something about the river and unique habitats we conserve, or join us for a guided adventure on the trail or waterway. For years, we have joined thousands of volunteers across the nation to celebrate trails and public lands. This year, why don’t you join us for National Trails Day ® or National Public Lands Day? We’ll show you some of the coolest places around the valley and how to have fun taking care of these great public places.  Our events are shaped around a cause and theme to celebrate and promote sustainable environmental stewardship. Check out our calendar on https://www.tva.com/volunteer   to learn more or call us up at 1-800-TVA-LAND. 

TVA also has specialized efforts to protect archaeological sites under its care. TVA’s Thousand Eyes Archaeological Site Stewardship Program is an outreach program that trains volunteers to help federal and state agencies with monitoring and protecting archaeological sites in the Tennessee Valley. For more information check out TVA’s Volunteer web page.

What if you love learning about nature, but also love your smart phone? There’s an app, and an opportunity for that. Join us with our partner, Discover Life in America, to conduct biological inventories (aka bio blitzes) on TVA public lands. These family-friendly events include opportunities to learn more about the plants and animal in their natural habitats and learn how to log your findings in the iNaturalist biodiversity sharing app. This will be our fourth year hosting bio blitzes, you can check out some of the amazing finds on https://www.tva.com/Environment/Environmental-Stewardship/You-Naturalist

Get paired up! TVA partners with local organizations to maintain trails and clean-up the river. Interested in finding out how you can participate in partner events and get involved in their fun? We’ll pair you up.

Spring Outdoor Safety Tips

Spring is in the air and it is a great time to shake off the winter blues and go visit your favorite trail or TVA spot! As the weather transitions and new flowers emerge from the ground, keep these reminders and tips in mind as you visit.

Water Levels - TVA’s River Management staff has been busy during the winter months, handling record rainfall in some areas. By operating our system of dams along the mainstem of the Tennessee River and its tributaries, they manage flows for flood damage reduction; maintain winter reservoir levels, navigation, recreation, power generation and other uses.  The Tennessee Valley receives most of its precipitation from October to May. During winter, reservoirs operate at lower levels to create flood storage capacity. Spring rains can sometimes result in higher water levels on lands adjacent to shoreline that contains wetlands. You may want to take some boots in case the trail is muddy. If your favorite site has standing water on it and preventing access, then make plans to visit again at a later date. To get the most up-to-date information on the individual reservoirs TVA manages, including lake level info, planned generation releases at the dams, reservoir operating guides, and to find out how TVA manages the water, visit https://www.tva.com/Environment/Lake-Levels/How-TVA-Manages-Water-Levels.

Fickle Weather - One day it is 70 degrees and the next, it is 32 degrees. The weather is fickle during the spring and people often get caught off-guard by the deceptive sunshine. Your spring pack should 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)!

Spring Cleaning - Late winter and early spring is the perfect time for our Natural Resources staff to “clean house”. We remove trees and debris that have fallen down and blocked the trails or access roads during the winter, plan our prescribed burns, and walk many of the miles we travel for our land condition assessments.  Keep an eye out for us and adhere to any signage alerting you if there is work in progress. Find out more about how we access our public lands by visiting, https://www.tva.com/Environment/Environmental-Stewardship/They-Walk-the-Lines.

Beautiful Blossoms and Emerging Fronds - Watch where you step! Woodland wildflowers begin to emerge in the spring, bringing with them the excitement of warmer weather and an anticipation of a green forest. This is a wonderful time to notice the early spring ephemerals, perennial plants that quickly emerge in the early spring and die back after a short growth. Look for them along the trail, but please do not pick them. We want others to enjoy them too! This is a perfect time to join a group on a wildflower walk. Please check the events page to find out when and where our staff will be leading groups to educate people on the types of wildflower seen on TVA lands.

Reminders and Upcoming Events

  • Adopt a Spot Volunteer, remember to fill out your Condition Evaluation Report and submit your volunteer hours to volunteer@tva.gov.
     
  • Adhere to the Leave No TraceTM principles and pack out your trash. As a volunteer, it is important to set a good example. Take a small bag to collect any litter within reach and dispose of properly. TVA is a partner in Leave No TraceTM, an international environmental education program. The program goals include increasing awareness of potential environmental impacts that may occur during outdoor activities and providing information about ways to minimize impacts while enjoying the outdoors. The Leave No TraceTM program goals align with TVA’s focus on providing sustainable recreation opportunities on public lands, responsible natural resource management and environmental stewardship.  
     
  • This spring, we will be hosting or working with our partners to bring you several “Earth Month” events across the Tennessee Valley! There will be opportunities to volunteer on TVA public lands, as well as educational events, eco-fairs and cleanups. Volunteer lake cleanups on TVA lands will take place in Jefferson, Grainger, Hawkins, Hamblen, Sullivan, and Perry Counties in Tennessee; Union County, Georgia; and Washington County, Virginia. For a complete list of activities and more detailed information, please see the TVA Volunteer Website for a calendar listing https://www.tva.com/About-TVA/Volunteering-at-TVA.
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 volunteer@tva.gov 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
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