News

September 2020: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, At the beginning of the pandemic, the Wolf River Conservancy had to be reactive in implementing many changes in how we operate on a daily basis. Now, after six months of enduring the pandemic, we are beginning to be more reflective, evaluating what we have learned in this time of extraordinary challenges. To that end, we have considered the following four questions as we think about our “new normal” in September 2020. What... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, September 28, 2020

On the Greenway: A Preview of the New Bridge

      Coming soon to the Wolf River Greenway - a beautiful new bridge over the Wolf River, very similar to the one pictured above! Phase 14A of the Wolf River Greenway, which is currently under construction, includes a 270-foot cable-stayed bridge over the Wolf River connecting portions of the Greenway on the eastern and western side. The bridge is currently being fabricated in Alabama and will be delivered in 5 sections to be assembled and lifted into... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, September 28, 2020

Natural Highlights: Rough Earth Snake

  photo by J.D.Willson Referred to as a ground snake or little brown snake by some, the Rough Earth Snake ( Haldea  striatula ) is a harmless, small, pointy-nosed denizen of just a few counties in the southwestern corner of Tennessee, including Shelby County. These snakes are only 7-10 inches long as adults with plain brown backs and cream- to gray-colored bellies, and they are sometimes encountered on sidewalks after a rainstorm where they look very... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, September 23, 2020

On the Greenway: Phase 14A Update

     The Wolf River Conservancy is excited about the continued progress on Phase 14A of the Wolf River Greenway, which will connect the Wolf River Greenway with the Shelby Farms Greenline.  Chris-Hill Construction is conducting grading operations on the banks of the Wolf River in anticipation of the construction of a 270’ cable-stayed bridge over the Wolf River. Work is also progressing on the concrete boardwalk through the Lucious Birch State Natural Area. You... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Protecting the Forgotten Waters Property: You Can Help!

Wolf River Conservancy and The Conservation Fund are partnering to protect a large swath of wetlands on the Wolf River in Fayette County.  With incredible conservation values, this 280-acre property seems to have it all:  approximately 1 mile of Wolf River frontage, a freshwater marsh, a heron rookery, potential quail habitat, road frontage, and a beautiful bottomland hardwood forest.       Photo: A large freshwater marsh dominates the landscape... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, August 25, 2020

August 2020: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River friend, In 2015, the Wolf River Conservancy achieved an important goal: the distinction of being recognized by the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) as an accredited land trust. Of the 1,363 land trusts in the U.S., fewer than a third are accredited by the LTA. What does this mean to you as a friend and supporter of the Wolf River Conservancy? Land trust accreditation is a mark of distinction, showing that a land trust meets high standards for land conservation. It sends a... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Save the Date! The 2020 Greenway Soirée on Nov. 14th from 7-8pm

The 2020 Greenway Soirée will take place from 7:00-8:00pm on Saturday, November 14th. It’s that time of year again for the Wolf River Conservancy’s largest fundraiser, the Greenway Soirée!   This year’s Soirée will be streamed live straight to you !   Of course, maintaining the quality of the Greenway Soirée is paramount to us. So, this year’s event will include an online silent auction filled with great items, a package... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Natural Highlights: Trumpet Vine

   The bright red-orange flowers which give Trumpet Vine ( Campsis radicans ) its name are visible in the woods and along the trails near the Wolf River, attracting scores of hummingbirds preparing for their long migratory journey.  Also called Trumpet Creeper, Hellvine, Cowvine, and Devil's Shoestring, Trumpet Vine is quite aggressive with clinging aerial rootlets which can damage wood and masonry, and suckers which spread from the roots.  While... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, August 24, 2020

Spirit Fork Property Protected!

Because of the generous gifts by donors like you, Wolf River Conservancy has now purchased the Spirit Fork property, permanently protecting 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... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, July 28, 2020

On the Greenway: Construction Updates

The Wolf River Greenway project team continues to push forward on expanding and upgrading sections of the Greenway. In east Memphis two sections are under construction, Phase 3A and Phase 14A. Phase 3A is a new trailhead and parking lot with additional picnic tables located on Humphreys Blvd just west of Kirby. This parking lot will help alleviate overcrowding in the existing parking lot on Humphreys near Baptist Hospital. Phase 14A is well under construction and promises to be an... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, July 27, 2020

July 2020: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, We are very excited to share with you that Cathy Justis ,  our Director of Education , has received the Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award from The Garden Club of America. Cathy was nominated locally by the Memphis Garden Club, a member of The Garden Club of America. The Garden Club of America, as part of its scholarship program, offers this award to an individual who provides outstanding education to youth. The Elizabeth Abernathy Hull... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Sunday, July 26, 2020

Hats Off to Ring Container Technologies, Presenting Sponsor for the Greenway Soiree

Ring Container Technologies is committed to the Wolf River Conservancy's mission to protect and enhance the Wolf River watershed as a sustainable natural resource, which is why the company has been partnering with us since 2015. Now it has once again stepped up during an especially challenging year to be the Presenting Sponsor of the Greenway Soirée, our largest annual fundraiser. We are now in the planning stages for this event, and we realize that the... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, July 24, 2020

Natural Highlights: Question Mark Butterfly

   At once beautiful and cryptic, the Question Mark Butterfly ( Polygonia interrogationis ) has wings which are bright orange and brown edged in violet blue on the topside. The muted underside of the wings look just like a dead leaf when the wings are folded, their irregularly scalloped edges heightening the effect.  A predator might still be looking for a bright orange butterfly which has suddenly "disappeared" simply by folding its wings.  Look... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Sunday, July 12, 2020

Discover the Greenway Raises Over $43,000!

      Discover the Greenway , the Conservancy’s newest fundraising event was a great success with 166 participants biking, walking, or running along the Wolf River Greenway and raising $ 43,111 to support the work of the Wolf River Conservancy!  Fundraising for Discover the Greenway will continue through June 30 th .   The 166 participants included individuals and families from all across our community, all practicing social... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, June 24, 2020

June 2020: A Message from our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, During these continuing “Pandemic” times, I am frequently asked “How is the Wolf River Conservancy doing?” Without attempting to sound boastful, I will generally reply that we are doing pretty well. Just as many organizations have been required to do, we have had to dig deep and flex our creative muscles in order to pivot into news ways to engage donors, volunteers, community members while delivering on our mission. ... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, June 24, 2020

On the Greenway: Parking Lot Construction Update

        PLEASE PARDON OUR PROGRESS! The Wolf River Conservancy and the City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods are working to provide additional parking and amenities to the Wolf River Greenway. This new trailhead parking area at Kirby and Humphreys Blvd, will have 24 parking spaces and a turnaround as well as additional picnic tables (see below). Besides completing the parking lot, we are also repainting the railings at both the Kirby and the... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Natural Highlights: Mississippi Map Turtle

  photo by Ben Grizzle Mississippi Map Turtles (​ Graptemys pseudogeographica kohnii​ ) are medium-sized aquatic turtles that occur from the southern portion of the Mississippi River basin westward to the Brazos River in Texas. They are often seen basking on logs and other objects in rivers and larger creeks. As with all Map Turtles, they can be easily distinguished by the pronounced keel that runs along the top of their shell. Unique to this species is the bright yellow or orange... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Great American Outdoors Act Passes Senate

With all that is occurring in our world, we could all use a bit of good news these days.  In a historic 73-25 bipartisan vote, the Senate passed the  Great American Outdoors Act  — bringing us one step closer to finally providing full and dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Since its establishment in 1964, LWCF has supported over 41,000 state and local park projects, contributing $778 billion to the nation's economy annually and providing... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, June 22, 2020

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

Because of the generous gifts by donors like you, Wolf River Conservancy has now purchased the Spirit Fork property, permanently protecting 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... 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