News

Top 15 Forest Birds in Memphis Parks

From biologist Fields Falcone: Birds you are more likely to see or hear in mature interior lowland forests of Shelby County in the summer (e.g. Lucius Burch State Natural Area along the Wolf River): Northern Cardinal Carolina Wren Tufted Titmouse Carolina Chickadee American Robin White-eyed Vireo Red-eyed Vireo Red-bellied Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Acadian Flycatcher Eastern Wood-pewee Yellow-billed Cuckoo Summer... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, May 29, 2020

May 2020: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, We are so excited to be sharing with you today our Discover the Greenway  event, scheduled to take place June 6 th – June 20 th .  Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Jim Keras Subaru!  Formerly called “Cycle the Greenway," Discover the Greenway is a response to extraordinary circumstances. This year, due to social distancing requirements and health concerns, our development committee got creative... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Our Thanks to Buckman

We are very pleased to recognize our corporate benefactor, Buckman, for their long-term, ongoing support of our work.  Buckman is not only a great partner for the Conservancy but also a partner for the whole community.  With corporate encouragement, several of their employees have recently found ways to support our community through service; we spotlight four of them below. We are proud to be affiliated with Buckman not just because of the work they do with us but for how... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, May 26, 2020

On the Greenway: Ripe Mulberries

   If you have walked, run or biked along the Wolf River Greenway, or even just through your neighborhood, you may have noticed that dark red and purple berries are staining the ground and sidewalks.  The fruit ripening all around us right now is coming from mulberry trees, both and non-native, and it is ready for eating!  Not as sweet as blackberries, mulberries are still wonderful baked into a cobbler, made into jam, or enjoyed in cocktails.  Here... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Join Our Virtual Volunteer Project on June 5th!

Wolf River Conservancy is partnering with Memphis Transformed to provide the first of a day-long series of projects through Volunteer Odyssey.  The project begins at 10am, Friday, June 5th, on Facebook Live with a 10 minute show-and-tell.  Volunteers will then adopt a nearby storm drain and clean it out, removing litter, leaves, sticks, and debris.  Our storm drain system is connected directly to our streams and rivers, meaning anything that goes down a storm drain can... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Natural Highlights: Orchard Oriole

    The clear flute-like whistles of the Orchard Oriole ( Icterus spurius )  can be heard along the Wolf River, the Wolf River Greenway trail, and in many other places in the Mid-South, especially those near water.  The trees lining the lake at the Epping Way section of the Greenway are a great place to see and hear them.  Members of the Icteridae, the blackbird family, both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles nest here, arriving relatively late in the... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Take the Earth Day Challenge!

Check out this wonderful Earth Day video put together by our partners at Living Lands and Waters ! Because of the current public health crisis, we weren't able to celebrate Earth Day with a big community service project this year, but please consider taking action on your own to help the Earth, then share it with others on social media at #earthdaychallenge.     There is an endless list of earth-friendly activities.  Here are just a... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, April 29, 2020

A Shout Out to International Paper

   We are very proud of our friends at International Paper for stepping up to help our community during the COVID-19 health crisis! International Paper (NYSE: IP) is taking action to address critical needs in its Memphis community during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The world’s leading producer of renewable, fiber-based packaging, pulp and paper has committed to donating boxes and paper to local organizations that are addressing immediate hunger, hygiene and... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Help Us Protect the Spirit Fork Property

You can help the Wolf River Conservancy purchase the Spirit Fork property to permanently protect its scenic conservation values. The 46-acre Spirit Fork property on the banks of the North Fork of the Wolf River consists almost entirely of wetlands with towering 70 to 150-year-old bald cypress trees. These significant wetlands are vital for recharging the source of our drinking water, the Memphis Sand Aquifer. Bordering 221 acres of protected land, the Spirit... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April 2020: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy Friends, While we can’t currently gather together due to COVID-19, the health crisis reminds us that the importance of enjoying and preserving the great outdoors and our urban green spaces has never been greater. Enjoying our natural world helps to shape our mental and physical well-being and provides a spiritual refuge for many during these uncertain times. Especially during these glorious spring days, we see clearly that,  just as the... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Natural Highlights: Butterweed

From a rosette of obscure basal leaves, Butterweed ( Packera glabella ) sends up a tall shoot 1-3 ft. high topped by a cluster of daisy-like yellow flowers in early spring.  This annual wildflower blooms profusely throughout the Wolf River bottoms and along many sections of the Wolf River Greenway where it tends to grow in sunny, disturbed places along with Daisy Fleabane. Both plants attract pollinating insects, as do most members of the Aster family.  Also called Cressleaf... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Spring 2020 Education: Online Programs and Resources

Please use the following link for Wolf River Conservancy online programs and resources available during the COVID-19 situation: Wolf River Conservancy Education Program:  Online Programs and Resources WRC's Education Director, Cathy Justis, is happy to work with teachers, parents, and students.  Please contact her at education@wolfriver.org . Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, April 3, 2020

Parking Lot Closures on the Humphreys Section

Construction crews are working on sections of the Wolf River Greenway along Humphrey’s Blvd. to refurbish certain areas and add additional amenities. At times there may be a disruption to parts of the trail and closure of the trailhead parking area on Humphreys Blvd. near Shady Grove Road. These closures are not a result of the current Covid-19 health crisis but are a part of project that has been planned for months. In addition, this project will construct another... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Thursday, March 26, 2020

Our COVID-19 Response: Changes, Precautions, and Helping Our Community

Wolf River Conservancy Response to COVID-19: March and April Events & Projects Postponed The Wolf River Conservancy wants to ensure the health and safety of our volunteers, donors, staff and partners. At this time, we have made the difficult decision to postpone all events and projects through the end of April . We will continue to monitor guidelines from the CDC and Shelby County Health Department for how we handle future events and will keep you informed of any forthcoming decisions.... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Thursday, March 26, 2020

Thank You to Our Wolf River Restoration Series Sponsors and Partners!

Unfortunately, in light of the COVID-19 situation, the Conservancy had no choice but to postpone the World Water Day Cleanup at Wolf River Harbor on March 21st and the Earth Day Celebration on April 25th, the last two of four events in our Wolf River Restoration Series. We still want to give a big shout out to our sponsors, partners, and volunteers, recognizing their efforts to make these events truly great. A... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Bradford Pears: A Conservation Headache

As many of you know, invasive plant species disrupt native ecosystems.  Along the Wolf River, we are noticing an increasingly bad invasive tree taking over the edges of woodlands, openings within forests, and old fields.  Bradford Pears and their Frankenstein offspring, Callery Pears, are currently blooming white, so identification this time of year is especially easy.  Do you have a Bradford pear in your yard?  Consider removing it and replacing it with a... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, March 25, 2020

March 2020: A Message from the Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, We are all adapting to the “Safer at Home” ordinance currently expected to be in place until April 7 th .  The ordinance may be extended further if deemed necessary. Previously, we announced the postponement of our Wolf River Restoration Series activities planned for March. Due to the uncertainty surrounding a possible extension of “Safer at Home” and in the best interest of our community, we have made the difficult decision... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, March 25, 2020

We Are Applying for Accreditation Renewal

Wolf River Conservancy is pleased to announce it is applying for Accreditation Renewal through the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission. The accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places forever. The Land Trust Accreditation Program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. Wolf River... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, March 23, 2020

Natural Highlights: Yellow-rumped Warbler

  photo by Jim Stasz The songs of Yellow-rumped Warblers preparing to migrate to breeding grounds in higher latitudes and elevations are among the early heralds of spring in the Mid-South. Warblers can be challenging to see without binoculars; they are small and seem to be in constant motion, flitting through the treetops as they glean branches and leaves for tiny invertebrates. In the winter, they are apparently unique among the warblers in their ability to... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, March 16, 2020

Wolf River Conservancy Response to COVID-19: March Events Postponed

Wolf River Conservancy Response to COVID-19: March Events & Projects Postponed The Wolf River Conservancy is doing our part to ensure the health and safety of our volunteers, donors, staff, and partners.  At this time, we have made the difficult decision to postpone all events and projects through the end of March.  We will continue to monitor guidelines from the CDC and Shelby County Health Department for guidance on how we handle future events and will keep you informed of... Read More
Posted by Keith Cole at Friday, March 13, 2020

February 2020: A Message from the Director

As you read this, we will have the first two months of the year behind us. With March and the advent of spring come more moderate temperatures and sunshine an more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. With 10 miles of the Wolf River Greenway trial now open and 6 more miles under construction,  we are excited about our progress in building out the full 26 mile Wolf River Greenway in the City of Memphis. We are also activating the Greenway as we go to benefit the community and... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Thank You to International Paper, Presenting Sponsor of the Annual Tree Planting Event!

International Paper, the presenting sponsor of our Annual Tree Planting event, is a long time supporter of the Wolf River Conservancy.  The company works hard to promote sustainability both locally and globally, and its employees have provided countless hours of volunteer work to the Conservancy to plant thousands of trees, clean up trash, and lend a hand with many other service activities.  The Conservancy applauds International Paper’s vision to... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Sustainable Solutions: Food Waste

Considering that many people in the world go hungry every day, it's amazing that about 40% of the food produced worldwide is wasted. Food waste occurs at every step of food production, consumption, and disposal.  It is much more than a waste of a consumer's money and time; food waste is also a waste of land, water, energy, and the opportunity to decrease hunger for others, and it contributes significantly to a warming climate.  The links at the bottom of... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The 15th Annual Tree Planting Event: Our Best Ever!

   Thanks to the efforts of nearly 400 volunteers, the 15th Annual Tree Planting on Sat., Feb. 22, was our best ever.  Together we potted and planted an astounding 5,200 tree seedlings of 10 different native tree species in a single morning at Shelby Farms Park: Short Leaf Pine, Black Oak, Cherrybark Oak, Yellow Poplar, Persimmon, Red Mulberry, Shellbark Hickory, Buttonbush, Shining Sumac, and PawPaw. A big thank you to the presenting sponsor of the... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, February 21, 2020

Natural Highlights: Red Mulberry

   One of the 10 native tree species planted during our recent Annual Tree Planting event was the Red Mulberry ( Morus rubra ), a medium-sized understory tree with large variably shaped leaves, which produces a sweet fruit resembling a blackberry valued by wildlife and people alike.  Native Americans made extensive use of mulberries in their cooking, and many mammals and birds seek out mulberries as well.  The Red Mulberry is also a larval host plant for... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, February 21, 2020

Natural Highlights: Northern Flicker

Winter is a great time to get outside and get to know the winter resident bird species here in the Mid-South, which include the woodpeckers.  The Northern Flicker ( Colaptes auratus ) is common here, joined in the wintertime by some of the Flickers which migrate from breeding grounds up in the far north, and it is easily identified by its black bib, red nape, white rump feathers (often seen as the bird is flying away), and the bright yellow underside of its tail... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, January 28, 2020

MLK Day 2020: A Great Day of Service in Raleigh

It was a very cold morning on January 20th, with temperatures in the 20's, but that didn't stop 110 volunteers from coming out to the Wolf River Greenway at Epping Way Dr. in Raleigh to participate in a variety of service projects to support their community and honor thte Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service. Volunteers participated in five different projects:  1) clearing a trail down to the Wolf River, 2) picking up trash and tires along N. Highland, 3) picking up... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Thank You to Brother International, Presenting Sponsor for the Wolf River Restoration Series!

The Presenting Sponsor for the new Wolf River Restoration Series is Brother International, and the Wolf River Conservancy is proud to be working with such a great partner.   The new year brings about the introduction of the Wolf River Restoration Series. The Wolf River Restoration Series will shine a light on four existing service projects which focus on maintaining and restoring the Wolf River watershed during the first part of the year:  the MLK Day of Service in... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, January 28, 2020

January 2020: A Message from Our Director

The Wolf River Restoration Series is here! What is the Wolf River Restoration Series? It is a new way to for the Wolf River Conservancy to showcase our conservation projects and involve our community as volunteers. Corporate and community partners have been looking for more opportunities to support our conservation mission both financially and via volunteer hours. The Wolf River Restoration Series now provides that opportunity. We are pleased to announce... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, January 27, 2020

Meet Findley Frazer, Our New Greenway Coordinator

Wolf River Conservancy is pleased to announce the addition of Findley Frazer to the Wolf River Conservancy’s Greenway project team. Findley is a Civil / Environmental Engineer with an Undergraduate Degree in Engineering from Vanderbilt University. He has experience across a wide variety of projects, including greenways, parks, canoe trails, masterplans, wetland and stream restorations, habitat protection plans, brownfield redevelopment, and flood reduction efforts. Findley has... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Latest News on the Wolf River Greenway

The Wolf River Greenway project team has been hard at work designing, constructing and opening new phases of the Wolf River Greenway. This year, phase 14B (Walnut Grove north to MLGW powerline) has been completed and is open to the public. This 1.4-mile section includes 3 wonderful bridges and beautiful views of the Wolf River. Completion of this section brings the total completed length of the Wolf River Greenway to almost 10-miles! Next year is setting up to be a wonderful year for... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Thank You for a Great Year, Volunteers!

   Volunteers are essential to the success of every service project, event, and paddling trip provided by the Wolf River Conservancy.  From 2015 to 2019, volunteers have contributed about 21,000 hours - about 5,200 hours in 2019 alone - leading paddle trips, planting trees, collecting trash, clearing invasive plants, staffing events, building bat houses, and more.  We wish to say THANK YOU to every person who has given of their time to help the... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, December 16, 2019

December 2019: A Message from Our Director

At the end of each year, it is customary for the staff of the Wolf River Conservancy to review our accomplishments over the past 12 months and to begin planning for the next year. Sometimes, though, we need to broaden our perspective on our organization's work.  We recently tallied up some numbers for the past five years, from 2015 to the end of 2019, and thought we should share those numbers with you. It is your generous financial support that has made it possible,... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, December 16, 2019

Natural Highlights: A Few Gifts for Wildlife

While planning for the holidays with family and friends, why not remember the wild community outdoors as well?  Here are a few simple gift ideas for wildlife. Support conservation The primary driver of wildlife declines is habitat loss. Thus, protecting habitat with a donation to the Wolf River Conservancy, an accredited land trust which has helped to protect about 17,000 acres so far, is among the most important and durable gifts to wildlife that you can provide. ... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, December 16, 2019

The Cornerstone Property: Expanding the Legacy of Wolf River's Ghost Section

Sweeping  views along the river are now protected in the Ghost River State Natural Area. The Bateman Road boat access is in the right (west) of the photo with the Wolf River upstream to the left (east). The Wolf River Conservancy, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) have again partnered to expand the protected habitat on the fabled Ghost River section of the Wolf River. Known as the... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, November 18, 2019

Natural Highlights: Heath Aster

   The blooms of Heath Asters, also called White Asters and White Heath Asters, can still be seen in the fields and edges along the Wolf River Greenway at Epping Way, as well as in many other open, sunny places where native plants thrive.  The yellow centers of its white daisy-like flowers are now turning brown and going to seed..  As a member of the huge Aster Family (Asteraceae), the heath aster's compound or composite flowers are really clusters of... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, November 18, 2019

A Successful Greenway Soiree!

Over $130,000 was raised at this year’s Greenway Soirée, with over 300 people in attendance! It was a great event: attendees were served a fantastic meal followed by dancing to the tunes of the Earnestine and Hazel’s Band.  And in between they bid on all their favorite silent and live auctions.  Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor International Paper and to all the other sponsors and  volunteers who helped make this a night to remember.  A... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, November 18, 2019

A Message from the Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy Friend, I have two very important announcements to share with you! The first is the recent transfer of the 58-acre Cornerstone Property to the State of Tennessee in order to expand the Ghost River State Natural Area.  Our long-time supporters are familiar with the Ghost River Rescue in 1995, led by the Wolf River Conservancy.  This effort by committed individuals protected approximately 4,000 acres which eventually became the Ghost River State... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, November 18, 2019

Volunteers Still Needed for Greenway Soiree

Staff and volunteers at the Wolf River Conservancy are hard at work on making this year's Greenway Soirée the best ever!  We are a bit short-handed on volunteers available to help on the night of the event itself.  Please consider joining in the behind-the-scenes action on Nov. 9th;  follow this link to sign up or contact Matt Winemiller .     Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, October 25, 2019

A Message from the Director

As we begin to think about putting 2019 behind us (it went fast didn't it?) and look ahead to 2020, we are reminded of the vital contributions that our volunteers, donors, and corporate/foundation partners have provided toward our success this year. Thanks to everyone for your continued support of the work of the Wolf River Conservancy.  We are excited and encouraged by current buildout of the Wolf River Greenway trail within the City of Memphis. The Wolf River Greenway trail... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, October 25, 2019

Natural Highlights: Strawberry Bush

  The bright red seeds and warty capsules of the Strawberry Bush ( Euonymus americanus ) can be seen along the banks of the upper Wolf River in October.  Except during the fall, this is an inconspicuous shrub with small greenish white flowers in May and June.  It is a favorite food plant of the numerous deer roaming the woods, and the short steep banks of the river offer it and other plants some protection from the browsers.  Strawberry bushes... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, October 25, 2019

Natural Highlights: Red-shouldered Hawk

   photo by Collins Dillard Spend any time along the Wolf River, paddling a canoe or strolling on the Wolf River Greenway, and you are likely to hear the persistent "kee-ah" call  of the Red-shouldered Hawk which is at home in our bottomland hardwood forests throughout the year. Smaller than the ubiquitous Red-tailed Hawks, this beautiful bird of prey has a black and white striped tail and adults have reddish barring on the breast.  Look for... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Many Thanks to Crosstown Brewing Company!

   Our Drink a Beer, Save a River event is once again helping move the needle for fundraising and awareness of the Wolf River Conservancy. On Wednesday, August 28 ,  our organization was hosted by our partners at the Crosstown Brewing Company to raise funds for our new boat dock at the Epping Way section of the Wolf River Greenway.  The folks of Crosstown and the attendees from the surrounding area were very supportive! The weather was wonderful as well,... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Thank You to Our Service Project Volunteers

    Volunteers from Lausanne Collegiate School, International Paper, Christian Brother University, and the community-at-large participated in several service projects in the past month, cleaning up lots of trash of all sizes, clearing invasive plants, and installing nest boxes along the Greenway.     10 students from Lausanne Collegiate School, spent 4 days as Wolf River Conservancy interns, learning about our work and following up with three days of... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Summer Full of Family Fun on the Wolf

  THANK YOU to the more than 400 paddlers who joined us on our Wolf River Family Fun Paddles this season!  And a SPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR DEDICATED RIVER GUIDES, without whom these outings would not be possible:  Mike Dawkins, Jeff Sojourner, Lee Gallagher, Chris Gallagher, Mary Finley, Fred Bromm, Kyle Dixon, Paul Deaton, Karen Latham, Cindy Mayo, Amy Ogden, Ross Mead, and Ande Demetriou — we appreciate all your hard work!   Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Natural Highlights: Cyanobacteria

      Microcystis sp. There has been a recent spate of tragedies involving pets and toxins produced by Cyanobacteria.  Most have occurred in late summer when high temperatures help to create conditions which spur the growth of bacteria and algae in ponds and lakes, while also tempting people to let their dogs play in the water.    The Cyanobacteria are commonly called "blue-green algae" but they are not algae at all;... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, August 26, 2019

Thank You to Baker Donelson!

  On July 25th at the Mud Island Greenway, the BakerGreen Committee of law firm Baker Donelson presented Conservancy staff with a check for $550. Each year, the committee raises donations in support of Earth Day, and we are honored that they chose Wolf River Conservancy as the recipient of their generosity.  Thank you! Please visit this link for more information on the BakerGreen Initiative at Baker Donelson.   Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, July 29, 2019

Water Quality Work Underway at Rhodes

   Dr. Patrick Kelly of Rhodes College is leading his students in studying various aspects of water quality along the Wolf River, including at Epping Way Lake, where he has placed a buoy and sensors to collect data on dissolved oxygen, temperature and light in the lake.  He will be evaluating the numbers later to understand the lake's metabolism.  He is also collecting water samples for examining plankton and conducting water quality tests. One of Dr.... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, July 29, 2019

July Activities, On and Off the Water

Here's a rundown of our busy July calendar. Our river guides led a First Saturday Paddle on July 6th, and two Family Fun Paddles on July 7th and 21st.           Our annual Wolf River Stream Stroll at Bateman Bridge was held on July 13th with lots of kids and parents wading in the water.  We collected some interesting small fish, aquatic insects, and other cool critters, all of which were released back to the river afterwards. ... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, July 29, 2019

Mid-South Trails Association Takes On Invasive Pears

Mid-South Trails Association (MSTA) has partnered with Wolf River Conservancy to combat a thorny invasive species that is taking over old fields and forest edges.  The Bradford Pear is one of the most commonly planted trees in Mid-South yards, but little did most know that it has the potential to be extremely invasive.  Converting native fields and young forests into non-native, fast blooming, thorny mess.  To read more on Bradford Pears, see our natural highlights article... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, July 29, 2019