Have we mentioned recently that our AMJV partners are AMAZING?! Today, we want to shine a spotlight (or two!) on the Tennessee River Gorge Trust (TRGT) and the awesome work that they are doing!
When you hear the name Tennessee River Gorge Trust, you might think, “Oh, they protect land around the Tennessee River Gorge.” You’d be correct – to date, the Trust has protected over 6,000 acres since it was founded in 1981 and has 17,000 acres in their purview through partnerships with other organizations. They don’t just keep those acres to themselves, though – they encourage the public to visit and explore the beautiful forests and waterways by offering free camping spots, a historic cabin rental, the chance to view wildlife at many public access areas, miles of hiking trails, paddling and boating opportunities (including guided kayaking tours), and access to world-class rock climbing locales.
BUT WAIT, there’s more! Did you know that TRGT built a Bird Observatory in 2014 and has been conducting bird conservation projects and research there ever since?! Learn more about TRGT’s bird research by browsing their website OR register for the free upcoming TRGT bird banding demonstration on September 13th (THIS Friday!) and observe some of their work up close; if you attend, you might even get to release a wild bird! Check out this slow-motion video of a student releasing a bird at a recent event. Awesome, right?!
We know, but it gets even more awesome: not only does TRGT participate in bird conservation and research locally, but they also partner with area non-profits (La Paz Chattanooga and The Lyndhurst Foundation) to connect communities in Chattanooga, Tennessee with those in Petén, Guatemala through neotropical bird migration research and education. Petén is in Central America, which is the former home of many Latino community members in Chattanooga and is where many of our region’s bird species overwinter. This cultural and scientific exchange program, including a recent visit to Tennessee by Guatemalan bird conservation professionals, highlights how, regardless of distance and political boundaries, we are all much more connected than we often think.
If you live in the local TN area or are planning a trip to the southern Appalachian Mountains, be sure to visit the TRGT! While you’re there, consider volunteering with this great organization!
AMJV partnering agencies and organizations that have ideas for bird research projects at the TRGT Bird Observatory can get in touch with TRGT staff at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the potential for joint research projects.