News

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November 2021: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, Since joining the Wolf River Conservancy in 2010, it has been my pleasure to observe as our team members grow professionally in their individual goals and skill sets. Our small but competent team, working with our engaged board members, are the key to the continued success of the Conservancy. This has been especially true during the past year and a half. Thus, we are always pleased when members of our team are recognized for their professionalism... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, November 15, 2021

On the Greenway: A Great Summer of Community Programming

         The Wolf River Greenway trail is a 26-mile pedestrian and bicycle pathway currently under construction along the meanders of the Wolf River in the urban sector of Memphis, Tennessee. Upon completion, the trail will connect over 180,000 residents within a 10-minute walk within 22 distinct Memphis neighborhoods.  As of 2021, there are 12 (non-contiguous) miles of the route completed and open to the public in 8 neighborhoods. The project is a... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, October 25, 2021

October 2021: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, The No-Go Greenway Soiree and Online Auction is happening next week! Our signature fundraising event will be strictly online this year for everyone’s safety, and will feature a great online auction from November 1st to November 6 th . Hopefully, you have received an invitation with details on how to participate in the event.  You can also register at this link.   T o see all of our online auction items , visit this link: ... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, October 25, 2021

Remembering Volunteer Fred Bromm

   Fred on the Wolf River. In mid-September, our River Guide program was impacted by the death of a very dedicated volunteer for the Conservancy and one of our own members, Mr. Fred Bromm. Fred’s initial contact with the WRC was in January of 2016 when he volunteered to assist on one of the Conservancy clean-up projects. From that point on, Fred was a frequent participant at a variety of events including our annual Tree Planting, various community service events and... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, October 25, 2021

Natural Highlights: Northern Saw-whet Owl

Our latest online program featured Mitchell Pruitt, a PhD candidate at the University of Arkansas, who talked about his research on the reclusive but very cute Northern Saw-whet Owl, the smallest bird of prey in North America.  Northern Saw-whet Owls weigh about as much as an American Robin and stand only 8 inches tall. They mainly eat woodland mice and an occasional bird or large insect, and they tend to hang out very quietly in dense stands of conifers, making... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, October 20, 2021

September 2021: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, I hope everyone is enjoying this fall weather as much as I am, with much cooler temperatures and the leaves beginning to turn a multitude of beautiful fall colors. You may also be thinking about other milestones that come with the last quarter of the year…such as the Greenway Soiree, our signature fundraising event traditionally held in early November. Unfortunately, we have made the difficult decision not to celebrate in person this year for... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Thanks to Our Spring into Fall Service Project Volunteers!

    On Sat., Sept. 18th, 35 volunteers joined Conservancy staff at Epping Way for three service projects - in spite of the showers and storms in the area.  Miraculously, the rain falling elsewhere held off at Epping Way and volunteers were able to successfully pick up a huge pile of trash on N. Highland, work on a trail and clear privet near the river, improve nest boxes for birds, and install a purple martin gourd rack, all while staying dry in pleasant fall... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Natural Highlights: Cardinal Flower

The Cardinal Flower ( Lobelia cardinalis ) was originally named for the red robes of cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, as was, presumably, the male Northern Cardinal, also called the redbird. Cardinal Flowers bloom on a spike from 1 to 4 ft. tall (rarely 5 or 6 ft.) arising from a basal rosette of leaves. This relatively short-lived perennial prefers moist habitat such as streamsides or wet meadows, ditches or depressions, in shade or partial shade here in the south,... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Land Donation to T.O. Fuller State Park Dedicated on Sept.17

   Tennessee State Parks officials celebrated on Friday, September 17, 2021, the addition of 144 acres to T.O. Fuller State Park, a donation to the park by philanthropists Hugh and Margaret Jones Fraser and the Carrington Jones family of Memphis. Hugh and Margaret are long-time supporters of the Wolf River Conservancy having previously served as the President of the Board of Directors.  The land donation grows the park by over 12% and is a significant investment in land... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, September 27, 2021

On the Greenway: Progress on Section 4 and 14A

   The season is changing, and the cooler air is beckoning us outdoors. This fall you will have access to two additional sections of the Wolf River Greenway. Phase 4 and 14A are both nearing completion. Phase 4 is a unique section of the Greenway constructed atop the US Army Corps of Engineers levee just to the north of the Hyde Park neighborhood between McLean Boulevard and Hollywood Avenue. This new 1.25-mile section will have a lighted trailhead with parking off Hollywood... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Sunday, September 26, 2021

Auction Items Needed for 2021 Greenway Soiree!

Going Once, going twice, SOLD!   We want this year’s Greenway Soiree auction to be bigger and better than ever before, and we need your help.  You may have purchased some cool things at other auctions, or you may know of some businesses that would gladly be a part of the 2021 Greenway Soiree Auction.  Either way, go to our convenient auction item website and submit your donation or suggestion today . Help us meet our goal of $27,000!!  We can’t do it... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, August 23, 2021

August 2021: A Message from Our Director

Over the past year, there is no denying that parks, trails, and greenspaces have provided a physical, mental and spiritual refuge to so many in our community. At the Wolf River Conservancy, usage of the Wolf River and the Wolf River Greenway continues to be at an all-time high. Demand for trails and greenspaces has not waivered, and the Wolf River Conservancy remains committed to protecting more greenspaces and wild places while also completing and connecting the Wolf River Greenway. ... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, August 23, 2021

On the Greenway: Volunteers Make a Difference

   Two groups of volunteers braved the late summer heat and humidity to complete service projects along the Greenway on Saturday, August 21.  Boy Scout Troop 241 started early in the morning to clear privet along the East Memphis section of the Greenway.   About 25 Scouts, troop leaders, and dads spent three hours improving our forest habitat, cutting the invasive shrub so that native trees and other plants will be able to thrive.  At about the same... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, August 23, 2021

With Conservancy Help, T.O. Fuller State Park Adds 145 Acres

Wolf River Conservancy has been working with the Jones family, T.O. Fuller State Park staff, and state park officials in Nashville to secure a land donation of 145 acres to be added to the park.  The Conservancy worked to coordinate this deal with help from the Land Trust for Tennessee.  This donation had great support from local officials and NGOs and is a huge win for Shelby County and the state.  In addition to the high conservation values of the rolling... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, August 23, 2021

Natural Highlights: Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle

   The bright red and black Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle ( Labidomera clivicollis ) depends on its colors to warn potential predators of the toxin within, i.e., the cardiac glycosides from milkweed sap which it stores in its tissues, an adaptation it shares with the much more famous Monarch Butterfly and certain other insect species.  An astounding 457 insect species are so far known to utilize milkweed plants, including those which visit and pollinate... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, August 23, 2021

Please Welcome Intern Adam Hughes!

Adam Hughes has been working with the Wolf River Conservancy as an intern this summer, helping out in various ways both indoors and outdoors. "Hello, all!  My name is Adam Hughes. I am a native-born Memphian and a geology graduate from Oregon State University. I want to use my love for the great outdoors to do the best I can to protect the Earth and spread my love for the natural world as much as I can. When I came back to Memphis, I saw an opportunity to apply myself in... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Natural Highlights: Mud and Musk Turtles

      E. Musk (left) and Miss. Mud Turtles (B.Grizzle) Our Smallest Turtles:  The Eastern Musk Turtle and the Mississippi Mud Turtle    by Ben Grizzle                                       In the swamps and ponds of the Mid-South, there live two turtle species that, to the untrained eye, appear nearly identical. Both members of the family... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, July 28, 2021

July 2021: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, Our weather patterns during the past few months have been extreme: floods in Europe, unprecedented heat waves on both coasts of our country, drought in the western states. Regardless of the causes for these weather extremes, it’s clear that our world is fragile, and that we are not only part of the natural world but also dependent on it for our survival. Our conservation work thus remains critical in helping to protect our environment, both... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, July 27, 2021

On the Greenway: New Kirby Trailhead Opening

   City of Memphis Parks & Neighborhoods and the Wolf River Conservancy celebrated the ribbon-cutting and formal opening of the Kirby Trailhead of the Wolf River Greenway on Monday, July 26 th . "The recreational aspects, the hiking and biking lead to improved health incomes. We need that in our community. People need access to green spaces such as this. Since the pandemic, the desire for and value of green spaces and getting outside have been elevated to a great... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Save the Date! The Greenway Soiree Returns on Nov. 6th

Mark your calendars:  our annual Greenway Soiree fundraiser event will be held from 6-10pm on Saturday, Nov. 6th. This year, the Greenway Soiree is back  LIVE & IN PERSON  at beautiful Memphis Botanic Gardens!  As always, the event will include wonderful food and drink, live music and dancing, and both a live and a silent auction. Our silent auction - sure to be packed with great items - will go live for bidding on Oct. 25 th , giving you two weeks... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, July 26, 2021

Thank You, Orvis!

Thank you to our friends at Orvis for their generous support of the Wolf River Conservancy! With the help of their customers, they collected nearly $2700 for our organization during Orvis Giveback Days. Orvis is a provider of outdoor equipment and clothing, and their Laurelwood store is dog friendly!   “At our core, we are a fly-fishing and wingshooting brand, inspired by nature, driven by curiosity, and fulfilled by adventure.”       ... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, June 29, 2021

$44,000 Raised by 2021 Discover the Greenway Event

The 2 nd annual Discover the Greenway event has come to a close, with 144 participants raising over $44,000!  We had 342 selfie submissions, with folks finding most or all of the 7 selfie site locations.  Be on the look out for next year’s unique family-friendly event which will include added fun for individuals, families, bikers, walkers, runners and maybe even kayakers.  Thanks to each of you who participated. We appreciate you very much! We couldn’t... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, June 28, 2021

On the Greenway: Wildflower Wander and Turtle Trek

Join us Saturdays along the Wolf River Greenway to learn more about the native plant and animal species of the Wolf River watershed. Our naturalist guides will lead walks at two Greenway locations starting at 9:30am. Wildflower Wander at Epping Way focuses on a half-acre strip of native wildflowers planted between a no-till agricultural field and the Wolf River Greenway trail.  In addition to beautiful flowers, there will be numerous butterflies, bees and other... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, June 28, 2021

Great Work at Epping Way by Intern Russell Palmer!

    Rhodes College students have on many occasions been a big help to Wolf River Conservancy. It’s likely that no other Rhodes student has accomplished more than Russell Palmer.  Beginning in the fall of 2019, after working with Conservancy staff to craft a worthwhile project for the Rhodes College Day Scholar program, Russell has persevered through the pandemic to create an educational native plant demonstration garden with materials built to... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, June 28, 2021

Natural Highlights: Whites and Sulphurs

      The heat of July heralds the beginning of "butterfly season" in the Mid-South, when butterflies, undaunted by high temperatures, seem to be everywhere. One family of butterflies, the Pieridae, has already been active and easily observable this year; it's actually hard to spend much time outside without seeing one of them.  Also known collectively as the Whites and Sulphurs, the Pieridae includes 12 Tennessee species, 10 of which occur... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Saturday, June 26, 2021

June 2021: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, The Wolf River Conservancy is proud of its continued land conservation work that has so far protected 18,000 acres within the Wolf River watershed, mainly in the floodplain of the Wolf River. We are now pleased to announce a $25,000 grant from the Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative that will allow us to build on the protection of land by restoring its ecological integrity.  The grant award for our new Wolf River Cornerstone... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Saturday, June 26, 2021

May 2021: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, The Memorial Day holiday traditionally marks the beginning of summer, but the Wolf River Conservancy did not want to wait. We launched our Discover the Greenway event on May 22! Discover the Greenway continues through June 5, so there is still plenty of time to participate and compete for some great prizes. This event is designed to give individuals, families, and small groups opportunities to explore and enjoy the Wolf River Greenway while... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, May 24, 2021

Natural Highlights: Cypress Firefly

Firefly species - which total 125+ in the U.S. alone - can be distinguished by their unique flash patterns, but it takes a trained eye and a willingness to be out in the field at night to identify them.  This helps to explain why the Cypress Firefly ( P hoturis walldoxeyi ) remained undescribed until 2017, when biologist Lynn Frierson Faust first documented it at Wall Doxey State Park in Mississippi.  Since then, the Cypress Firefly has been... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, May 24, 2021

Thank You to the Grifols Foundation!

We are truly grateful for the generous community grant we received from the José Antonio Grifols Lucas Foundation. The Grifols Corporation operates a nationwide system of blood banks and specializes in plasma products.  The Grifols Foundation provides support to organizations such as the Wolf River Conservancy which serve thriving and vibrant communities, like Memphis, where plasma donors are valued and appreciated for their gift of plasma.   The Grifols... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, May 24, 2021

April 2021: A Message from Our Director

Dear Friend, The first Earth Day celebration was held in1970.  Since then, over 190 countries now recognize Earth Day and use it as an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of protecting the natural resources of our planet.  Earth Day is now also an international organization with a global mission to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.   You should not be surprised to learn that the work of the Wolf River Conservancy at a local... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Wolf River Restoration Series Concludes with Earth Day

          The 2021 Wolf River Restoration Series has concluded with great engagement from the public.  Across the four events of the series (MLK Jr. Day of Service, Annual Tree Planting, World Water Day, and Earth Day), 221 volunteers served 384 hours to improve their neighborhoods, city streets, Wolf River Greenway, and the Wolf River watershed.  Volunteers did everything from planting hundreds of trees to cleaning up tires and trash to creating a... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, April 27, 2021

On the Greenway: Instructors Needed!

  The Wolf River Conservancy is looking to hire instructors to lead our free community programming launching this summer along the Wolf River Greenway.  Instructors are needed for fitness classes, nature walks, and paddling outings. Community programming begins Saturday June 5 th , and courses are offered on Saturdays until October 16 th . Some but not all positions require certification in an associated field.  Paddle the Greenway – Paddle the... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Natural Highlights: Blue Grosbeak

  Male    Female Bird migration is in full swing in the Mid-South, with waves of neotropical migrants moving through the area, filling the woods with bright colors and birdsong.  One migrant currently appearing near the Wolf River Greenway is the gorgeous Blue Grosbeak ( Passerina caerulea ), easily confused at a distance with the equally beautiful Indigo Bunting.  The Blue Grosbeak is distinguished by its larger beak and the male's bright brown wing... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Wolf River Conservancy Earns National Recognition

The Wolf River Conservancy Earns National Recognition Strong Commitment to Public Trust and Conservation Excellence Memphis, Tennessee  – One thing that unites us as a nation is land: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1985, the Wolf River Conservancy has been doing just that for the people of Memphis and the Mid-South. Now the Wolf River Conservancy has announced it has renewed its land trust accreditation under the guidance of the Land... Read More
Posted by Matt Winemiller at Monday, April 12, 2021

Wolf River Restoration Series: Two Successful March Projects

   The end of March is upon us, and the Conservancy is happy to report on the great successes of the 2021 Wolf River Restoration Series thus far.  With an Earth Day project still remaining in the series, we have already engaged nearly 200 volunteers who served over 330 hours .  Volunteers planted over 900 trees and removed dozens of tires and bags of trash from the floodplain during our Annual Tree Planting and World Water Day events. This great impact has... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, March 30, 2021

March 2021: A Message from Our Director

The warmer, sunnier, longer days of spring mean more opportunities to enjoy our natural surroundings, including the Wolf River and the Wolf River Greenway!  I am pleased to announce the return of our Discover the Greenway event, designed to give individuals, families, and small groups the opportunity to explore the Wolf River Greenway and compete for prizes while supporting the mission of the Wolf River Conservancy. This year’s event begins May 22 nd and runs through June 5... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, March 30, 2021

On the Greenway: Free Community Programs Coming Soon

    Beginning June 2021, free community programs will be available to the public along select open sections of the Wolf River Greenway. These one-hour programs led by local instructors will include fitness sessions, free kayak paddling, and educational walks. Our Wolf River Greenway Community Programming will offer Memphians a chance to get fit, have fun, and learn more about the significance of the Wolf River watershed.  We are currently hiring certified... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, March 29, 2021

Natural Highlights: Piebald Madtom

Madtoms are small members of the catfish family and several species live in the upper reaches of the Wolf River where they can find the water quality and habitat complexity they need to survive and reproduce. The boldly patterned Piebald Madtom ( Noturus gladiato r) occurs in the Wolf, Hatchie and Obion rivers in the Coastal Plain of West Tennessee and North Mississippi, and possibly a few other rivers in Mississippi, all eastern tributaries to the Mississippi River.  While... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, March 29, 2021

February 2021: A Message from the Director

One thing that unites us as a nation is land: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 1985, The Wolf River Conservancy, has been doing just that for the people who care about the Wolf River watershed. We have just been notified that the Land Trust Alliance Commission has renewed our land trust accreditation – proving once again that, as part of a network of over 400 accredited land trusts across the nation, we are committed to professional excellence and to... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, February 23, 2021

On the Greenway: New Trailhead Signs Installed

    Be on the lookout for new trailhead signage at major trailheads all along the Wolf River Greenway! These new signs will help users to clearly identify the Greenway throughout the City. In total, 12 new trailhead signs are being installed, with more to sure to come as additional phases of the Greenway are completed. See how many signs you can find, snap a photo, and tag us on Instagram! Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, February 23, 2021

January 2021: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, As we all embark on the new year, the Conservancy is filling our calendar with a variety of activities and projects in 2021, taking pride in offering both virtual and in-person options for you and your families. One of our major initiatives is the Wolf River Restoration Series . In its second year, the Wolf River Restoration Series is a four-month long volunteer program that raises awareness and funds for key restoration projects within the Wolf River... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The 16th Annual Tree Planting: The Gift that Grows

                                                                            Give the gift that grows!  SPONSOR A TREE! Our 16 th  Annual  Tree Planting  is fast approaching and now is the time to consider friends and family you would like to honor or memorialize .  Not... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, January 27, 2021

New River Views Thanks to Chris-Hill Construction

     Outstanding donation by Chris-Hill Construction   The Wolf River Conservancy would like to thank our newest Restoration Series Sponsor, Chris-Hill Construction, for clearing large amounts of invasive privet from the new Wolf River Greenway segment west of Walnut Grove Rd.! Chris-Hill Construction is no stranger to the Wolf River Conservancy, having completed sections of the Wolf River Greenway through Kennedy Park and along McLean Avenue. Currently... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The 2021 Wolf River Restoration Series Begins in January!

  Our 2021 Wolf River Restoration Series, presented by Brother International, begins with our MLK Days of Service, with both virtual and in-person opportunities on three different days, in keeping with COVID-19 health precautions.  On the evening of Jan. 13th, we'll meet online to discuss our upcoming projects and welcome speaker James Edward Mills, author of The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors .   On Sat, Jan. 16th, a virtual Day of Service will... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Tuesday, December 15, 2020

December 2020: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friends, As all of you know, these are difficult times. Because of COVID-19, many of us will be separated from loved ones during the upcoming holidays, experiencing the stress of monotony, loneliness, and perhaps grief as well, and coping as best we can, sometimes by getting outside into the natural environment. As we’ve noted before, access to the outdoors has been especially important to our physical and mental health during the pandemic. More... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Monday, December 14, 2020

On the Greenway: Progress on Section 14A

Check out these recent photos of the construction of Section 14A of the Wolf River Greenway.  This section connects the Wolf River Greenway to Shelby Farms Greenline and includes a bridge over the Wolf River.         Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Sunday, December 13, 2020

The 2020 Greenway Soiree Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Wow!  $144,715 raised at this year’s Virtual Greenway Soirée, exceeding our goal for the event.  The one-hour Soirée featured great entertainment from Opera Memphis, New Ballet Ensemble, Mark Baker and Stax Music Academy. Hosts for the evening were Keith Cole, James McDonald and Terri Walker who provided lively conversation and good information.  A s pecial thank you to our sponsors, all listed at this... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, November 20, 2020

A Day on the River with ICU Nurses

On Thursday, October 22, five of our WRC River Guides escorted 5 ICU nurses down the Ghost section of the Wolf River. For most of them, this was their first opportunity to be away from their occupation since late February.  The guests included Wendy, Christie, Meredith, Bryan and Laurel. Many were first time paddlers and took quickly to the slow and relaxing rhythms of nature around them and the water below. Compliments about the beauty of the Wolf River, the refreshing qualities... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, November 20, 2020

Natural Highlights: Owl Boxes

The Shelby County School system has provided several different types of nest boxes for local owl species with the goal of engaging local students with the wildlife which lives right here in the Mid-South.  Wolf River Conservancy staff and volunteers, along with Tennessee Ornithological Society (TOS) members, are coordinating the installation of the nest boxes in appropriate habitat along the Wolf River Greenway.  Jim Waldron with TOS has spent countless hours over the years... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, November 20, 2020

November 2020: A Message from Our Director

Dear Wolf River Conservancy friend, In just a matter of months, the pandemic has dramatically reshaped our society. Yet one thing has remained constant – the role nature and the outdoors contribute to our health and overall wellness. People are turning to the outdoors now more than ever for exercise, socializing, experiential learning, and mental escape. The Wolf River Greenway and wilderness areas along the Wolf River are no exception. We are reporting unprecedented usage –... Read More
Posted by Cathy Justis at Friday, November 20, 2020