WWOOFing Part 8: Biodiversity Cataloging in the Great Outdoors

As I’ve wrote about a few weeks ago in my post about Fiery Gizzard my WWOOF hosts Jonathan is an ecologist and independent biodiversity specialist. As such he is involved in an ongoing cataloguing project of the plant and animal species on the southern Cumberland Plateau, both informally and related to his work with BioBlitz, a species inventory project sponsored by National Geographic. I’ll be writing more on the BioBlitz project in a later post. But anyway, this area of southern Cumberland Plateau is an extremely important temperate deciduous forest that is among the highest in conservation value due to the biodiversity that lies within the multiple ecosystems and the variety of habitats it supports; the immediate area is renowned for its diverse amphibian, terrestrial snail, and plant communities as well as its habitat for migratory songbirds.

This all means that he often needs to get outside check stuff out… and I get to tag along. Yup, life is tough. In the past two months we’ve been on multiple outings looking for American Woodcocks at the airport, hunting for harbinger of spring, checking for salamanders on a night hike on Sewanee Domain, and exploring the forests on- and off-trail. Below are just a few pictures from our outings over the past two months that show some of the findings and also highlight what beauty there is on this land.

Evening glow at the Sewanee Airport while birding for American Woodcocks, Sewanee, Tennessee

Evening glow at the Sewanee Airport while birding for American Woodcocks, Sewanee, Tennessee

Sun setting over runway at Sewanee Airport, Sewanee, Tennessee

Sun setting over runway at Sewanee Airport, Sewanee, Tennessee

Meadow Trail, South Cumberland State Park, Monteagle, Tennessee

Meadow Trail, South Cumberland State Park, Monteagle, Tennessee

Holding a spotted salamander during night hike on Sewanee Domain, Sewanee, Tennessee

Holding a spotted salamander during night hike on Sewanee Domain, Sewanee, Tennessee

Elderberry near fire tower, Sewanee Domain, Sewanee, Tennessee

Elderberry near fire tower, Sewanee Domain, Sewanee, Tennessee

Cool looking moss in field in Tracy City, Tennessee

Cool looking moss in field in Tracy City, Tennessee

Perimeter Trail, Sewanee, Tennessee

Perimeter Trail, Sewanee, Tennessee

Harbinger of Spring along Perimeter Trail, Sewanee, Tennessee

Harbinger of Spring along Perimeter Trail, Sewanee, Tennessee

Cool three-dimensional Juniper Bar, Perimeter Trail, Sewanee, Tennessee

Cool three-dimensional Juniper Bar, Perimeter Trail, Sewanee, Tennessee

Sunset at the edge of the plateau, Green’s View, Sewanee Domain, Sewanee, Tennessee

Sunset at the edge of the plateau, Green’s View, Sewanee Domain, Sewanee, Tennessee

Vibrant colors of Tennessee, South Cumberland State Park, Monteagle, Tennessee

Vibrant colors of Tennessee, South Cumberland State Park, Monteagle, Tennessee

Small waterfall seen hiking down the plateau, Sewanee Domain, Tennessee

Small waterfall seen hiking down the plateau, Sewanee Domain, Tennessee

Dried up waterfall, Sewanee Domain, Tennessee

Dried up waterfall, Sewanee Domain, Tennessee

Bridal Veil Falls, Sewanee Domain, Tennessee

Bridal Veil Falls, Sewanee Domain, Tennessee

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