MTSU plays key role in Quarterman Cedar Glade Wildlife Festival

MTSU faculty and alumni and the university’s Center for Cedar Glade Studies will play prominent roles in the operation of the 38th annual Elsie Quarterman Wildlife Festival Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

The event is free and open to the public. The park is located just off U.S. Highway 231, about 25 miles north of Murfreesboro and six miles south of Lebanon, Tennessee.

A Tennessee purple coneflower grows among the rocks in the cedar glades at Cedars of Lebanon State Park near Lebanon, Tennessee. (File photo by the State of Tennessee)

A Tennessee purple coneflower grows among the rocks in the cedar glades at Cedars of Lebanon State Park near Lebanon, Tennessee. (Sate of Tennessee file photo)

Dr. Elsie Quarterman

Dr. Elsie Quarterman

A number of years ago, event organizers renamed the Cedar Glade Wildlife Festival to honor longtime Vanderbilt professor Elsie Quarterman.

The plant ecologist’s legacy includes 60 years of dedicated research of cedar glades and conservation. Quarterman died June 9, 2014, at the age of 103.

“The Center for Cedar Glade studies partners with Cedars of Lebanon State Park each year to co-host a Friday evening and entire Saturday of hikes and talks about cedar glade ecology,” said Dr. Kim Cleary Sadler, associate professor in the MTSU Department of Biology and co-director of the Center for Cedar Glade Studies.

“The program is led in part by MTSU faculty, alumni and students. Throughout the day Saturday at scheduled times, there is something for all ages to enjoy, from plants to birds to rocks.”

In addition to Sadler, faculty members Jeff Walck, Tom Hemmerly and Kurt Blum have key roles with program events, as do alumni Roy and Melissa Turrentine, Danny Bryan, Billy Plant and Buddy Ingram, who is the Cedars of Lebanon State Park manager.

Dr. Kim Sadler

Dr. Kim Sadler

“The cedar glades in the springtime and early summer have a beautiful array of flowers worth seeing to appreciate and protect,” Sadler said.

Participants should be sure to wear or bring hiking or comfortable shoes, as there will be ample opportunities for hikes, a scavenger hunt, “talk and walks” and even an “Owl Prowl” to close the family-friendly event Saturday night.

Hemmerly, MTSU biology faculty emeritus, will provide opening remarks during a time of reflections and remembrances of Quarterman at 7 p.m. Friday at the park.

Quarterman served as Hemmerly’s dissertation adviser, and he studied the rare Tennessee coneflower in her lab.

For more information about the event, contact Sadler at 615-904-8283 or email Kim.Sadler@mtsu.edu or visit www.mtsu.edu/glade-center.

For park information, call 615-444-4565 or 615-443-2769 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday or visit www.tnstateparks.com.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)