Monthly Archives: April 2015

William Blount Greenway Idea


I’m an at-large community representative on the City of Knoxville Greenways Commission.

It’s a citizens advisory board that provides input to the City of Knoxville on greenway plans.

Some input I’ve supplied to the City is that there should be an easy bike and pedestrian path from the Old City / North and East Knoxville to the Tennessee River and UT Campus.

Can you check out my latest blog entry and let me know if the W.B. Association might be interested in supporting a concept for a new downtown "William Blount Greenway" connecting the Old City to Volunteer Landing via Central Avenue and an easement across W.B. Association property?


Tanner Jessel

Mural being donated, location sought

Hi Dawn – one clarification –

I was mistaken concerning the Hellbender as the species selected for Knoxville –

The species selected for Knoxville is a freshwater clam – which has its own storied history in Knoxville and the Tennessee River; these animals were in fact a major component of Native American diets and the foundation for the freshwater pearl and button industry in the Southeast.

The McClung Museum in Knoxville has a special collection of "freshwater pearly mussels."

I did my 8th grade science project on them, they are quite beautiful animals!


Tanner M. Jessel
Information Technology Specialist
Center for Renewable Carbon

The University of Tennessee
Institute of Agriculture
Center for Renewable Carbon
Mail: 2506 Jacob Drive
865-946-1162 (o)
865-946-1109 (f)

Mural being donated, location sought


I’ve asked Knoxville’s deputy director for redevelopment Dawn Michelle Foster if she can connect us with the developer at University Commons. I know Dawn from work on the Greenways Commission. She’s very receptive to new ideas to improve the city.

University Commons is actually a re-developed brownfield site, home to the former Fulton Bellows, one of Knoxville’s first industries.

Also right on UT campus, and in Knoxville’s most denseley populated neighborhood (Fort Sanders and UT-Knoxville Campus). Hundreds of thousands of SEC football fans will also have the chance to see it.

I’m optimistic about it. A mural would be a big improvement over a blank concrete wall. Plus, since it’s a new wall, it’ll probably hold paint well.



Mural being donated, location sought

Hi Dawn,

An artist is looking for 8 installation sites across the U.S. for a series of murals highlighting biodiversity.

Knoxville is incredibly lucky to be on his short list for installation of a Hellbender salamander, a fully aquatic river animal that’s been called a "mascot of the Appalachians."

Hellbenders are affectionately known as the "last dragons" – and they’re found in clear mountain streams not too far from Knoxville. They’re a perfect match for our "lost river city of the Appalachians," and it’d be an exciting addition to our growing list of murals and the Knoxville Mural Project.

The artist’s vision is to find a neighborhood site with a good volume of foot traffic where people can see and reflect on the mural and endangered species.

The problem is, an appropriate installation site and partner hasn’t been identified yet, and this puts Knoxville’s selection for installation at risk.

I’ve wracked my brain over potential sites, and realized a great answer was practically under my nose:

The concrete retaining wall at the new University Commons development.

I love the site because it’s part of the most vibrant and dense neighborhood in Knoxville – and it’ll be visible to all of our UT visitors.

Plus, it’s on Third Creek – and visible from the Third Creek Greenway – any salamander would feel right at home at the creekside.

Along with the setting, I truly hope the wall will one day overlook a pedestrian bridge connecting University Commons to Third Creek Greenway and Ag campus bike and pedestrian traffic.

I’m sending an aerial photo of the spot – the location is in the bottom right hand corner (near the access ramp that could – and should – one day be a greenway connection over Third Creek to UT Campus).

I’m also sending one I took (from the ground), looking north from the access bridge to Joe Johnson Drive:

My initial thought is to contact the developer at CHM LLC independently, using the University Commons contact form at <>.

However, with the developer’s relationship with the city, I wondered if you might be able to introduce the idea, or introduce me to a contact with someone at CHM, LCC who might be receptive to having a colorful art installation on an otherwise gray expanse of concrete?

I feel like it’d be a great addition and tourism attraction for Knoxville and University Commons.

If you have a contact, I’d love to connect the developer with the artist to discuss the project and the vision.

I’d also love to talk with the developer about the possibility of a greenway connection!



REI Excursions to “Discover Life”

​Hi Nolan,

Community board is good.

However, I want to emphasize that my primary interest is in demonstrating a branding partnership at the community level that can be scaled up nationally.

That’s the whole idea behind DLIA: demonstrate success first in the Smokies, then branch out nationally and globally.

As you know I cross-post my e-mails to my personal blog (

One of your REI Adventures vendors in the Smokies (A Walk in the Woods) actually came across my initial e-mail to you on my blog, then reached out to me to see how she could better incorporate DLIA into her hikes – something she already does on her guided hikes in the Smokies.

So, this is a local partnership that has potential with an existing REI vendor.

I’m not sure I’m being clear that what I’m asking you for is, I think, more valuable than financial support:

I’m asking for your support in demonstrating, then scaling a partnership up to help DLIA "piggyback" on the existing, well-known REI brand and reach new markets.

I feel strongly this potential partnership has strategic value for REI at the regional and national scale, and I want you personally to be involved.

My next step was to reach out to the Southeast regional office in Atlanta, or perhaps the Asheville REI, since we share the Smokies with North Carolina.

I’d rather take the next step with you and our Knoxville REI – and I can’t deny it’d be an easier step with the Knoxville REI’s assist – particularly given your personal experience in engaging young people "new to the outdoors" with the outdoors.

My thinking is this:

I support Legacy Parks; I support AMBC; I’m grateful you’ve chosen to partner with these groups.

However, allow me to point out a simple oversight:

Legacy Parks and AMBC do not make new REI customers.

These customers already exist.

Futher, the prevailing market demographic consuming outdoor recreation products and experiences is slowly but surely yeilding to a new cultural landscape that historically has seen low participation in outdoor recreation. Growing markets and demographic groups like hispanics and multicultural ethnicities are without doubt the future of the outdoor industry‘s continued viability.

The greatest threat to the outdoor industry may simply be that outdoor lifestyle consumer markets are not self-sustaining, with decreases in overall outdoor recreation participation correlated with population growth.

Simply put, the long term survival of outdoor brands relies on creating new customers interested in the outdoors.

In my mind, interest in the outdoors is critical to desire to spend time in the outdoors – be it hiking, biking, climbing, or paddling – driving purchases of gear to enjoy those activities.

Creating interest in the outdoors is why efforts like "Outdoor Nation" and even campus outdoor rec programs like UTOP exist. This is why President Obama recently announced the "Every Kid in a Park" and "Find Your Park" campaigns aimed at giving every fourth grader a pass for their families to our national parks. This is why my grade school and high school had "Parks as Classrooms" field trips from Gatlinburg to the nearby GSMNP.

I think you’ll agree with me that more and more, people – especially children and youth – need to be inspired to get outdoors:

Inspired to get their hands off their apps, and feet outdoors.

To me personally, and Forest Service research supports this idea, there is nothing more inspiring than discovering life – a salamander under a log, a snake under a rock, a trout in a cold mountain stream.

Any kid you ask will agree – note that the 2014 Outdoor Industry trends report places "Wildlife Viewing" and "Birdwatching" in the top 5 favorite outdoor activities​ for youth ages 6 – 24, and in the top four activities for adults. Best of all, there’s no "barrier to entry" to enjoying wildlife, whereas even a basic mountain bike setup can be cost prohibitive to starting a new outdoors interest.

Do you see what I’m saying?

A financial contribution would be amazing – don’t get me wrong.

But, what I have in mind – a co-branding opportunity – is a bit larger scale and potentially more valuable for both organizations, in my estimation.

If I can explain what I’m thinking better, please let me know.

If I’ve explained my idea clearly but you’re still not convinced of the relevance or feasibility of a co-branding opportunity between DLIA and the Knoxville REI, I need to move on with the next natural step in my exploration of this idea, which is to try and drum up interest at the regional level with Asheville or Atlanta.



Hand-building a wetland photos

Great to see the kids having fun.

I have a few questions from an outsider’s perspective:

The first photo clearly shows the 26 10′ galvanized metal spikes with washers.

Can anyone explain to me why the spikes are important?

I think that might be helpful for readers to understand why they’re spending extra cash.

Is it to keep your investment in liner and geotextile from washing away in a heavy rain? That explanation makes a lot of sense to me.

Also, can you offer a few words on how adding soil back into the depression is helpful to the animals?

I’m just guessing it’s really all about the wetland plants and creating ample opportunities for that all-important "emergent" vegetation our amphibian friends love.

Another aspect for PVC is I’ve heard that burying it makes it last longer / resist UV longer.

I’d like to add a few words about adding the dirt back in, because like some people might be hesitant to do that extra work, and so many "how to" tutorials on ornamental ponds don’t bother with the geotextile sandwich. (Of course, "ornamental pond" versus "functional wetland" may be key distinctions here).

Also John for the "tools" section I realized we probably need to add a hammer for pounding in the spikes. I might also add that a mattock is super useful for scraping a bowl shaped depression out of clay. Also maybe a rake, if the seeds need to be raked in or the soil leveled? We might say "the minimum you need is a shovel" and then say "other tools that will make the project easier include…"

Finally, for the seeds, where do you plant them? John, I actually ordered some today from the roundstone source. I got an ounce packet.

Would I spread them around the periphery of the pond, or all over it?

Also, would you spread them like grass seed – handheld broadcast spreader, or by hand with sand / baseball field granules mixed in to make dispersal easy? Hopefully there will be instructions on the packet, we’ll see when I get mine. If there are some instructions online, I can add those.

Finally, do people need to wait to fill their wetland, and will they just be waiting for rainwater to fill it up or should they actively add water to it? I assume people should wait, especially if the emergent vegetation seeds need a chance to germinate / establish themselves.



On Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 8:08 PM, Thomas Biebighauser <tombiebighauser> wrote:

Hi Andrea,

I’ve attached some photos showing us building a wetland by hand. This is the first of two messages.



Thomas R. Biebighauser
Wildlife Biologist & Wetland Ecologist
Wetland Restoration and Training LLC
3415 Sugar Loaf Mountain Road
Morehead, KY 40351 USA

(606) 356-4569 cell
(606) 784-6175 home


On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 8:24 AM, Drayer, Andrea N <andrea.drayer> wrote:

Hi Tom,

The main focus of PARC this year is habitat and SEPARC has decided to work on an online backyard herp habitat project module. John Byrd has been helping with the project and has written up a really nice explanation on how to build your own mini-wetland in your backyard (attached). One of the problems we are running into is having enough pictures of the process of building the habitats to go along with the explanations.

Would you happen to have a few pictures you could send us of the process of building a small wetland? We would greatly appreciate it and would of course acknowledge you as the photographer. I have cc’d John and Tanner Jessel, our web master.


Andrea Drayer

Research Analyst

University of Kentucky

Department of Forestry

T.P. Cooper Building


phone: 859-257-1312

Biodiversity Study GIS Data, Conservation Planning Mapping Application

Hi Clinton,

Glad you like my suggestion.

When the CPA was first getting started, I provided input, but the government program I worked on went away, along with my involvement in the CPA’s development.

But, I definitely see the value in including your data in the CPA and wanted to sort of "nominate" it for inclusion.

Amy, I’m on the steering committee for Southeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (the Southeast chapter of PARC), and I can tell you Clinton’s data for amphibians and reptiles is of particular interest to our membership.

So, that’s at least one stakeholder group who’d be eager to see this biodiversity data included in the CPA! I’m CC’ing some individuals from PARC’s Joint National Steering Committee, including the Federal Agencies Liaison for the DOI, Jen Williams out of Fort Collins, CO.

In the meantime, something I can see PARC doing is highlighting your data that’s specific to reptiles and amphibians, maybe in a "southeast reptile & amphibian biodiversity map."

What I’d personally be interested in doing independently of FWS / SALCC is clip the amphibian and reptile data to our Southeast states or eco-regions, then post it in an interactive map on ArcGIS online.

But, the FWS / LCCs do have this elegant conservation planning atlas, so if it’s easy for Amy and the LCC staff to include your data, then I might just steal a "view" from their DataBasin application.



On Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 5:09 PM, Clinton Jenkins <clinton.jenkins> wrote:

Hi Tanner,

That would be great. I wanted to get all the results online and available so that they could be useful, and available for critiquing, so anything you guys can do that makes that easier for people is welcome. Some of the other LCC people have been in contact too, so I’m sure it could advance those conversations as well.

What would you need from me to advance this along?


On Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 2:22 PM, Tanner Jessel <mountainsol> wrote:

Hi Clinton,

I read about your recent paper covered here:

I was wondering if you’d consider adding your biodiversity GIS datasets available for download at <> to the Southeast Conservation Planning Atlas:

This would allow people to easily overlay your biodiversity data with other regional datasets, including the protected areas database.

I’ve CC’d the South Atlantic LCC GIS coordinator, Amy Keister, if you’re interested in seeing your data incorporated into the conservation planning atlas.



Biodiversity Study GIS Data, Conservation Planning Mapping Application

Hi Clinton,

I read about your recent paper covered here:

I was wondering if you’d consider adding your biodiversity GIS datasets available for download at <> to the Southeast Conservation Planning Atlas:

This would allow people to easily overlay your biodiversity data with other regional datasets, including the protected areas database.

I’ve CC’d the South Atlantic LCC GIS coordinator, Amy Keister, if you’re interested in seeing your data incorporated into the conservation planning atlas.



PARC disease web page questions

Hi JD,

I looked at the dropbox file and noticed some of the images are JPEGS of just a few kilobytes.

I opened up the smallest resolution file to see if the Flickr widget approach would work here, if "Joomla Bamboo Slideshow" was problematic for whatever reason (I’ll just assume inconsistent height and width).

The "demo" of that option is still up at <>, you might ask if that’d be an acceptable option, assuming PARC lets us use a Flickr.

It definitely appears to use images of different height and width – you have some portrait oriented photos in your feed alongside landscape and it seems to handle that just fine.

Based on that, I do think it would work here. Resolution will likely all be standardized to Flickr’s "preview" resolution, whatever that is.

The only thing in the way is setting up a PARC flickr account.

Do you know if there was any further discussion of setting up a Flickr to promote the Habitat in Focus campaign?

I do think that’s the way to go on that project in particular… and could certainly help out with this application.

As far as "diseases" go I can envision a separate "disease task team" photo album and a "Habitat in Focus" album.

If a stumbling block is needing a generic social media account for Flickr, we do have a parcse account that I use to set up / manage social media for SEPARC. We used that as our primary e-mail for mailing lists before switching to Google Apps.

I think on the blog type feature suggestion, your guess is as good as mine. I’d need to research it…. no idea if that’s possible in Joomla.


On Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 3:39 PM, John David Willson <jwillson> wrote:

Hey Tanner – see below, especially in regard to the slideshow. This is in regards to the new disease page I recently set up – .

Do you think this is the time to try a flickr-based rotating image?

I’ll forward on the original email that has their requested page description.



John (J.D.) Willson

Assistant Professor

Department of Biological Sciences, SCEN 630

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR 72701


Office: (479) 575-2647

From: Olson, Dede -FS [mailto:dedeolson]
Sent: Monday, April 06, 2015 2:20 PM
To: John David Willson
Subject: PARC disease web page questions

Hi JD, thank you for your help getting the PARC disease web page organized! The disease task team met by conference call last week. We had very few comments on the current page “look” so thanks so very much for that mock up. We now have a few questions and a few requests of you.

2 Questions:

· You had a problem developing a rotating image with the photos we sent because they are different sizes, etc. Kathryn Ronnenberg, who works for me, could resize images as needed. Is this all that is needed to get a rotating image for the page? If so, are there preferred sizes or instructions that I should give to Kathryn?

· We talked about how nice it would be to have an interactive piece to the website, perhaps like a blog. Is this possible?

Minor requests:

· Can you please add the emails of the two leads to the main disease page: Matt Gray (mgray11); Matt Allender (mattallender).

· Once we are all set, can you please put a link on the PARC main page to the new disease page? Perhaps that photo of a diseased animal that is shown on the disease page, with “PARC Disease Task Team” linking it to the page?

· Can you also add the Disease task team as a new item under News & Events?

Thanks, Cheers, Dede

Deanna H. (Dede) Olson, Ph.D.
Research Ecologist and Team Leader
Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Research Station

p: 541-750-7373
f: 541-750-7234
3200 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331

Olson Website

Caring for the land and serving people

Meeting notes and habitat blogs

Hi All,

On our last call we talked about publishing the core posts privately for our group (we actually said I’d post these last Sunday – then I spilled aquarium water on my modem… so here we are today. D’oh).

I just "privately published" a main page – sadly I don’t think giving you the link lets you see it:

Without loading the page, note that the URL puts it as a top-level page, in the same area as other "products," see?

Also note we have a "products" section on our site:

However, while eventually we’ll list this new product as a "product" on (for example, "buyer’s guide to pet reptiles at <>) the blog is definitely the permanent home for the whole product. I think my motive in pointing this out is it’s different from how our other task teams work.

I learned tonight that printing a PDF doesn’t look that much different from a word document, at least not the way Chrome on a Mac is letting me print as PDF. Nonetheless, I have attached a PDF printout (see attached).

Also by the way… I edited this intro post a lot, mainly because I envision it as a "splash" or "landing" page providing access points to the whole series, rather than serving as individual blog entry or first post in a series.

We could do it that way (a series) with the "splash" page on, with a new sub-page under "products" and then a link to the collection of posts (we may have talked about this already):

But instead of that URL it’d be like

Or whatever other name for the category we might want.

Also note my edits have increased the post from 461 to 931 words.

I think because I’m seeing it as a "splash" or "landing" page explaining what’s going on with the whole project, that’s OK.

Part of the ballooning word count is I tried to use some of the "storytelling" part of Kimberly Terrell’s SEPARC 2015 Social Media workshop talk: did some wordsmithing like "nature’s benefits" and adding a bit about how we all "grew up as children looking for reptiles and amphibians." I also added a mention about how snakes may visit, but just want to be left alone, and a note about pets and children and snakes (with a promise of tips on a "no snake" zone – possible future blog topic). For now, the text "Yes, even snakes – don’t be scared!) aren’t creepy" serves as an internal "anchor" that jumps to the section "What about Snakes in the Yard." That actually might even be an actual separate blog post, which would cut down on the overall word count.

My additions to the "snakes" section were from a feeling that it needed some extra details – I do think there’s a need to sell the story to even skeptics… or at least encourage them not to bash in a harmless corn snake’s head?

Hope ya’ll don’t mind my penchant for words… I do not expect to make much in the way of additions to the remaining posts, because I do believe actual blog entries should be short (even though I myself am verbose).

I’ll work on the others Monday. The "post" versus "landing page" topic may become more clear with the other core pages up.


On Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 2:49 PM, Andrea Drayer <andrea.drayer> wrote:

Hi everyone,

First, I would like to apologize for missing the call. I had a space cadet moment and had thought the call was on Tuesday at 11:00 instead of Monday. Brian’s notes on the call are attached to this email.

Second, since the backyard habitat project started with the Steering committee, we would appreciate your input on what we have accomplished so far.

What we need from you:

1. Edits of our products that we have currently finished (attached) – send to me when finished.

2. Pictures of you or your children helping to construct some of these features in your own backyard. They don’t have to be exactly what we have outlined, just what works for your backyard. I have attached a picture of what I created in my backyard a few weekends ago. Pictures of the process will be helpful!

3. Pictures of you or your children looking for and finding backyard herps

Blog post structure:

I have attached the word files for the blog posts associated with the project. We have set it up to have 4 types of posts that will all be linked:

1. one intro blog post
2. 3 main blog posts that will be linked to the main summary blog
3. an observation guide (we are currently tackling this)
4. mini blog posts also off of the intro (toad abodes, pvc pipes for treefrogs, benefits of snakes, etc.).

We are also still working on the mini posts, although the toad abode post and the Snakes why did it have to be snakes! post is attached.

Thank you! The education task team greatly appreciates your help with this.


Yard Herping_ Landscaped Habitats for Reptiles & Amphibians _ Southeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (SEPARC).pdf