COEBURN — The Clinch Coalition will host its seventh annual High Knob Naturalist Rally on Sept. 28 at Bark Camp Lake in Wise County, located within the Jefferson National Forest near Coeburn.
The event celebrates nature with a day full of fun and educational hikes, presentations and activities to highlight the ecology of the High Knob area.
The High Knob Naturalist Rally is free and open to all. Families are welcome. There will be a 5K trail race around the lake before the Naturalist Rally with an entry fee of $20 per runner.
Hikes and presentations will be led by local experts. Hike leaders will guide participants around the High Knob area and presentations will be at the Bark Camp amphitheater.
“The Naturalist Rally is an excellent opportunity for individuals to come out and learn more about what the High Knob region has to offer,” said the Clinch Coalition’s Deidre Donahue. “We hope the Rally will inspire people to appreciate what a unique area we live in.”
The first set of hikes will depart at 10 a.m. with a choice of Birding Basics led by Betsy Grossman of the Cumberland Bird Club. Bring field binoculars if you have them. A wetlands hike will be led by USFS’ Lois Boggs. This hike will be well over two hours and participants should wear shoes and clothing that can get wet.
A salamanders hike led by Walter Smith of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise also departs at 10 a.m.
Afternoon hikes begin after the free lunch and include salamanders as well as Kitchen Rock, led by Phil Shelton of UVa-Wise, and Edible Wild Plants led by Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Phil Meeks.
Morning presentations will include Mussels of the Clinch by Megan Bradley of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, Local Caves by Appalachian Cave Conservancy’s Richard Kretz, and Native Reptiles of the Southeastern U.S. by Chuck Hurd.
Afternoon presentations will include Animal Tracks and Signs by Lois Boggs, Birds of Prey by Mitch Whitaker from the Letcher County 4-H Wildlife Rehab Center, and Wild Mushrooms by Johnny Stanley.
More information is available online at www.highknobnaturalist.org.