In-Person Program – Microplastics in the Tennessee, Cumberland and Rhine Rivers: Why We Should Care

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:00 PM EDT
Tennessee River Gorge
Tennessee River Gorge

Join us on Thursday, September 29 at 7pm EDT when we return to in-person programming at the UT Arboretum Auditorium as Dr. Martin Knoll updates us on microplastics in the Tennessee River and other locations worldwide. Microplastic particles have been discovered in almost all environments on planet Earth. Recent research has identified several negative health impacts of these plastics on aquatic life. Microplastics have also been found in the lungs and bloodstream of humans. This presentation will focus on my research investigating the concentration and types of microplastics found in the Tennessee, Cumberland and Rhine Rivers. Special emphasis will be placed on Dr. Knoll’s recent findings about the major sources of these microplastics and what might be done to reduce their numbers.

Martin Knoll with students

Our presenter, Martin Knoll, earned his BA degrees in German and Natural Resources at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. After studying at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, he earned an MS degree in Geology at Vanderbilt University and a PhD in Geology at the University of Texas at El Paso.

He taught for 5 years at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC, before returning to Sewanee in 1993 to teach Geology and Hydrology. He chairs the Department of Earth & Environmental Systems there. His research interests include the geology of the Mojave Desert, groundwater and stormwater dynamics on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, insects in Baltic amber, landscape evolution of southwest Germany, and microplastics in the Tennessee, Cumberland, Rhine and Danube Rivers. In 2017 he was project director for the Tenneswim, the most ambitious analysis of water quality in the Tennessee River ever conducted. He lives with his wife, 3 sons, and an English Bulldog in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Location: UT Arboretum Auditorium, 901 S Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Contact UT Arboretum Education Coordinator, Michelle Campanis, with any questions about this event. If the presentation is recorded we will make that available to the public.


Thursday October 6, 2022 7:00 PM EDT
Baby opossum in hand of wildlife rehab person

Thursday, October 6 at 7 p.m. EDT on ZOOM.Join local naturalist Stephen Lyn Bales as we learn about and how wildlife are nursed back to health at the UT Arboretum Society’s First Thursday Nature Supper Club. You provide your own stay-at-home supper, and we provide the nature as Stephen Lyn will answer questions such as: Who is allowed to care for an injured hawk, owl, or opossum? What does the work of wildlife rehabilitation entail? He will provide answers explaining how wildlife rehabilitators would treat their wounds and give them a safe and quiet place to heal. If it is an orphaned songbird, how often would you would feed until it can fly away on its own?

This program will be recorded, and closed captioning is available. Please note this program is scheduled on Eastern time. Please contact UT Arboretum Education Coordinator, Michelle Campanis, at with any questions or registration issues.

To contact Stephen Lyn Bales or buy one of his UT Press books, email him at