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Take a springtime walk on DOE’s Oak Ridge land

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Several free nature walks are scheduled this spring in various areas of the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Reservation.

The walks will help celebrate 2011 as the International Year of Forests by the United Nations. Information available will focus on area efforts to sustainably manage and conserve the reservation's resources and efforts to protect them from invasive plants.

Participants should plan to wear layered clothing, sturdy shoes and bring insect repellant and water.

Different walks have various limits on number of participants. Children are welcome to participate; those younger than 10 will not be  permitted on the June 11 walk.

Reservations must be made in advance by noon the Thursday prior to each walk by contacting Lana McDonald at 865-574-7323 or mcdonaldlk@ornl.gov.

The schedule includes:

• April 23 — Wildflower walk at East Fork Ridge Old Growth Forest. Group will meet at 9 a.m. at the West Guardhouse along Oak Ridge Turnpike for the three-hour walk that will cover 1-2 miles. Twenty participants is the limit.

• April 30 — Bird walk in the Freels Bend area. Group will meet at 7 a.m. in the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education  parking lot at the Bethel Valley-Pumphouse intersection. This walk will last until 10:30 a.m. The walk is between 1-2 miles along a dirt road. Binoculars and a field guide are recommended. The tour limit is 25.

• May 7 — Bird walk along Poplar Creek and East Poplar Creek in the vicinity of the East Tennessee Technology Park Beaver Pond. Beginning at 7 a.m., the group will meet at the West Guardhouse for the 3 1/2-hour walk over mostly level dirt roads. Binoculars and a field guide are recommended. The tour limit is 25.

• June 5 — Animal inventories along Solway Bend. Group will meet at 1:30 p.m. at the Bethel Valley-Pumphouse intersection for the start of the three-hour walk. Fifteen is the participant limit. Children, accompanied by an adult, are particularly encouraged to participate in this walk.

• June 11 — Invasive plants studied at various locations on the reservation. The three-hour activity begins at 9 a.m. at the West Guardhouse. A short presentation on invasive plants will precede the walk.

If inclement weather forces cancellation of a walk, it will be posted two hours prior to the scheduled start on ORNL's Information Line at 865-574-9836.

More information about the walks is available by contacting Trent Jett at 865-574-9188 or jettrt@ornl.gov or Marti Salk at 865-574-7315 or salkms@ornl.gov.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.