January 2023
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Sunday January 1, 2023 9:00 AM EST
Flyer for New Year's Day Hike

Do you get overloaded on football, food and festivities? The UT Arboretum Society is offering a great alternative: start out the year on the “right foot” by joining our New Year’s Hike at the UT Arboretum, 901 S. Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge, on Sunday, January 1, 2023. Please follow the signs for parking up to the auditorium.

We will gather at 9am at the UT Arboretum Auditorium where you will be greeted by fellow hikers and offered coffee, hot chocolate and snacks. At 9:30 am the group will leave for a guided hike that will last about 45 minutes. The hike will follow a forest trail and will visit the Elmore Holly Collection.

Please wear clothes appropriate to the weather and boots or good shoes for outdoor walking. We aim for this hike to be suitable for all, but the difficulty level of the hike is dependent on individual fitness. Be sure to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated as you hike. Due to ongoing research projects on our grounds, we are unable to allow pets.

This is a free program offered by the University of Tennessee Arboretum Society. No registration is required. For more information contact [email protected].

Friday January 6, 2023 7:00 PM EST
A hermit thrush that is only here in winter. Photo by Betty Thompson
Hermit Thrush, Photo Betty Thompson

Winter is an excellent time to look for birds. Most of the leaves are gone from the trees and the birds are more visible, plus there are several bird species that are only here in the cold weather months because they migrate from farther north or higher elevation to find food. 

Join Michelle Campanis, education coordinator at the University of Tennessee Arboretum, and naturalist Stephen Lyn Bales via Zoom for an overview of winter species like dark-eyed junco, hermit thrush, yellow-bellied sapsucker, purple finch, winter wren and many more!

It’s the “Brrrrr-irds of Winter,” our first UT Arboretum First Thursday Supper Club of 2023 is January 5 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. The program is free but registration is required to receive your Zoom link and the recording. Closed captions are available.

Contact Michelle Campanis for questions or registration issues.. 


Thursday January 12, 2023 7:00 PM EST
Christine sitting by water fall wearing backpack

Join Great Smoky Mountains National Park Backcountry Specialist Christine Hoyer as she teaches about the importance of “Leave No Trace” ethics in protecting our outdoor spaces. She explains how the park, a place with extraordinary biodiversity and high visitation, must meet the challenges of balancing use and preservation within the park boundaries.  Co-sponsored by the UT Arboretum Society and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, the virtual presentation will be Thursday, January 12, 7 p.m. EST via Zoom. The program is free, but registration is required to receive your Zoom link and the recording. Closed captions are available.

As the Backcountry Management Specialist, Christine manages the park’s backcountry program which includes permitting, recreational use, impacts, and maintenance throughout the backcountry campsite network, important long-trail partnerships, as well as park-wide wilderness management. She is passionate about the mission of the National Park Service, and the role that “Leave No Trace” education can play in protecting our wilderness areas with ever-increasing visitation to these special places.   

An employee of the National Park Service for 14 years, Christine has spent all of it within the boundaries of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  She has held multiple positions, in various divisions and different geographic locations through the park. Christine has college degrees in Psychology and Philosophy and graduate certificates in Wilderness Management and EcoPsychology.  She is an active Leave No Trace Trainer and Master Educator. 

Contact Michelle Campanis for any questions or registration issues.

RSVP deadline is past


Saturday January 21, 2023 9:00 AM EST

Join us for this hike guided by UT Arboretum Society members. No registration needed. We aim for this hike to be enjoyed by all levels and it usually is about 2 miles and lasts less than 2 hours. No pets please. Meet at the kiosk in front of our Visitors Center at 9am. The Visitors Center is closed on weekends but there are portable restrooms available in the parking lot.

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:00 PM EST
Cedar waxwing pair feeding each other
Photo by Mary Glynn Williamson

*This program will be pre-recorded and sent all who register the week of February 2nd to watch at your convenience. There will not be a live Zoom program for February’s First Thursday Nature Supper Club due to our presenters having scheduling conflicts.

IN THE MOOD FOR BIRD LOVE? Bird courtship has begun! Either from new partnerships being formed or existing pairs renewing their bonds it is that time of year where birds are looking for their mate. Each species is slightly different with some feeding, some grooming and some snuggling. But can we call it love?  Join us just in time for Valentine’s Day to discuss bird courtship. Michelle Campanis, education coordinator at the University of Tennessee Arboretum, and naturalist Stephen Lyn Bales via Zoom will disuss aspects of avian pair bonding. Their topic is “Bird Love.”

This is one of our favorite and most requested programs! Please register to receive the recording for this program which we will send the week of February 2. Closed captions will be available. We plan to be back live on Zoom in March. Please contact UT Arboretum Education Coordinator, Michelle Campanis which registration issues or questions.

RSVP deadline is past


Saturday February 18, 2023 9:00 AM EST

Celebrate winter with our Third Saturday Hike on February 18! No registration needed. Meet at the UT Arboretum Visitors Center Kiosk. This hike is geared to be good for all levels and usually is around 2 miles. Please wear comfortable shoes and outdoor clothing. No pets please.

Thursday February 23, 2023 7:00 PM EST
luna moth on tree trunk

Join the UT Arboretum Society as we learn the connections between moths and our native plant species and the important roles these insects play in our natural communities.  Presented by Lenny Lampel, Natural Resources Supervisor with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s Division of Nature Preserves and Natural Resources in North Carolina, this virtual presentation will be Thursday, February 23, 7 p.m. EST via Zoom.

Over the past decade, Natural Resources staff and local naturalists have spent many late nights in the nature preserves, parks and greenways in and around Charlotte, North Carolina as part of a coordinated effort to document the diversity of moth species that are found within Mecklenburg County.  Also highlighted in the program will be Mecklenburg County’s growing moth collection which is housed at the Dr. James F. Matthews Center for Biodiversity Studies.  Learn about some of the challenges to identification and the growing number of resources that make learning about these insects possible.  From “Moth Nights” to “National Moth Week” events, an increasing number of people are getting interested in “mothing.” Now is your chance to discover what the fascination in these insects is all about!

Lampel is also the Curator for the Matthews Center and is responsible for the management of biological assessments and inventories, the monitoring of federal and state listed rare plant species and the coordination of various fauna and flora studies and projects.  Lenny holds an MS in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Conservation Biology from Antioch University New England and a BA in Biology from SUNY College at Old Westbury.  Lenny lives in Concord, NC with his wife, three children and their big, furry dog and cat.  

The program is free, but registration is required to receive your Zoom link and the recording. Closed captions are available.