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Fossils, birds, bugs and more will be on display during the 24th Annual Wildlife Weekend, a fun and educational event that allows nature lovers to explore the diverse plant and animal species available within Bristol, Tennessee’s Steele Creek Park.
Sponsored by the Bristol, Tennessee Department of Parks & Recreation and Friends of Steele Creek Nature Center & Park, the event will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8, with a Welcome Reception and lecture titled “The Gray Fossil Site: A Unique Record of Prehistoric Life in the Appalachians” by Dr. Joshua X. Samuels of East Tennessee State University. The lecture is free, but pre-registration is required at www.bristoltn.org/Fossils.
The weekend’s activities continue on Saturday, Oct. 9, with a long list of educational programing and presentations for nature lovers of all ages. Planned activities include:
• A five-mile hike led by Harvey Anderson, an experienced Appalachian Trail “thru-hiker” at 9 a.m.
• An Early Bird Walk led by Larry McDaniel at 9 a.m.
• Bird Banding with Richard Lewis and Rack Cross at 9:30 a.m.
• Birds of Prey with Marty Silver at 11 a.m.
• Creepy Crawlies with Cade Campbell at 1 p.m.
• Reptiles with Lance Jessee at 2 p.m.
• Ongoing exhibits and activities featuring fossils and fossil casting, bugs, nature crafts, skins and skulls, birds, turtles, gardening and more from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• The iNaturalist Bioblitz. Observations from anywhere in Sullivan County can be submitted between Oct. 1 and Oct. 9. An instructional video is available online at www.bristoltn.org/WildlifeWeekend.
One of the weekend’s most anticipated activities is the 2021 Amateur Photo Contest awards ceremony, which will begin at noon at the Nature Center. Winners will be announced in both adult and youth categories based on how well their photos depict the natural aspects of Steele Creek Park. The deadline for entries is Friday, Sept. 24, and complete contest guidelines are available at www.bristoltn.org/PhotoContest.
All Wildlife Weekend activities are free with park admission of $2 per vehicle. Boxed lunches will be available for $10 and can be pre-ordered at www.bristoltn.org/WildlifeLunch. For more information, call 423-989-5616 or go to email Nature Center Director Jeremy Stout at email@example.com.