TWRA and Legacy Parks are joining together for the second sunflower festival at the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area in Knoxville this Saturday, July 8 at 9 a.m.
Recognizing the public’s great interest in the sunflower fields a few years ago, WMA Manager Bill Smith decided it would benefit TWRA and the public to have an event. “The sunflowers draw thousands of people to the area every year and we want them to understand their benefits to wildlife, to hunters, and help people enjoy their aesthetic value as well,” says Smith.
The WMA has about 70 acres planted in sunflowers this year and while their showy blooms are pleasing to the eye, they are also highly beneficial to pollinators and the seeds they produce provide an abundance of food for several species of birds and other wildlife. Smith also wants to remind the public that the large sunflower fields are only present every other year as crop rotation is important to maintain soil fertility and control pests. The large sunflower fields won’t be planted again until 2019.
The free event kicks off at 9 a.m. with a welcoming, followed by a guided hike courtesy of Legacy Parks. TWRA will also deliver an interpretive talk at 10:30 a.m. followed by another guided hike. The festival will also consist of a wildlife informational trailer, a booth featuring wildlife identification, as well as kid’s activities.
The Legacy Parks Foundation has been in existence since 2007 and has raised over $3 million to preserve over 1,000 acres of land.
Directions to the Forks of the River WMA:
From I-40, take James White Pkwy exit (388A) and stay to the left to continue on James White Parkway. Cross over the TN River and take the Sevier Ave./Hillwood Dr. Exit. Turn Left onto Sevier Ave. (turns into Hillwood Dr.). Turn right onto Island Home Ave. (at bottom of hill). Take the first left onto McClure Ln. just passed Ijams Nature Center. Follow signs to the WMA. A TWRA gravel parking lot is to the right at the end of McClure Lane.
For more information, contact Bill Smith at 865-856-9711.