September 2021
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Saturday September 18, 2021 10:00 AM
monarch on joe pye weed

The University of Tennessee Arboretum Society’s 6th Annual Butterfly Festival will be available online beginning Saturday, September 18th. This year’s Butterfly Festival will again be virtual with outstanding lectures and special video programs for children. New this year, we will also have a special butterfly art installation created by local community members on display at the UT Arboretum Visitor Center through October 4 and also available to view online. We have two keynote presentations and several presentations for children of all ages!

Co-sponsored by the UT Institute of Agriculture, this event has become one of the most popular events annually with over 2,000 people attending in 2019. Due to the uncertain nature of COVID-19 precautions, this year’s festival has been filmed in advance to be presented online. This will be a different festival than in the past as there are no on-site presentations, but we are excited to bring the public some great online options.

Watch Keynote Presentations

Of Biodiversity and Butterflies: Planting Design and Conservation for Pollinators”  presented by Michael Ross.  As more productive butterfly habitats are converted to residential, agricultural, and commercial sprawl the need for well-designed landscapes that support the full lifecycle of Lepidoptera species is increasingly important. This presentation will discuss key considerations, design, and planning goals for successful pollinator habitat implementation.  Michael Ross, SITES AP, ASLA, is an assistant professor in the University of Tennessee Department of Plant Sciences’ Sustainable Landscape Design concentration and in the School of Landscape Architecture.

“Principles of Butterfly Garden Design and Management: A Case Study in Pollinator Habitat Garden Management,” Presented by Olivia Sievers Ross. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s approach to pollinator habitat provides an enlightening case study into best practices for butterfly garden implementation on a residential site. Prior to her training as a landscape architect Olivia was the Horticulturist and Lepidoptera specialist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Ann and O.J. Weber Pollinator Garden and helped install the Luci and Ian Family Garden.

Children of All Ages Presentations

Community Art Display “Fun-Raiser”

We are very grateful to this year’s corporate sponsors:

Northshore Pellissippi Storage

Logo for Northshore Pellissippi Storage

Pinnacle Financial Partners

Logo for Pinnacle Financial

Thursday October 7, 2021 7:00 PM EDT
Stephen Lyn Bales with Red Tailed Hawk
Stephen Lyn Bales with Red-tailed Hawk

Thursday, October 7 at 7pm EDT – Often you see a bird of prey at a distance or only get a fleeting glimpse. Is that large bird a hawk, an eagle or maybe even an osprey? Join natural historian Stephen Lyn Bales and Michelle Campanis, the UT Arboretum Education Coordinator, for the UT Arboretum Society’s First Thursday Nature Supper Club via Zoom on October 7 at 7pm EDT.  In this program you’ll learn some quick tips on identifying East Tennessee’s eagles, vultures, owls, hawks, and falcons. The class is free, and registration is required to receive your Zoom link. The program will be recorded, and closed captioning is available.  Contact Michelle Campanis for questions or registration issues at

Stephen Lyn Bales is a native East Tennessean, naturalist, writer, artist, speaker, and the author of Natural Histories, Ghost Birds and Ephemeral by Nature all published by the University of Tennessee Press. You may contact him at


Event Types:

Friday October 15, 2021 9:00 AM EDT to 7:00 PM EDT

Save the date for our UT Arboretum Fall Plant Sale which will be online again this year due to ongoing concerns about Covid-19. The online catalog will open for shopping on Saturday, September 25th at 10am and close on Friday, October 8 at 5pm EDT. Pickup will be one day only, Friday, October 15 from 9am -6:30pm at the UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge. You will schedule your pickup time on the check-out page – don’t forget to choose a pickup time!! We are excited about welcoming back our vendors Tennessee Naturescapes, Riverdale Nursery, East Fork of Sevierville and we are happy to have Erin’s Meadow Herb Farm joining our plant sale for the first time! You may browse the catalog now here but you will not be able to load a cart and check out until shopping opens at 10am on Saturday, September 25. All sales will be online. There will not be any sales on pickup day.