Workers, public see Arnold's wild side

ATA Wildlife Ecologist Richie Wyckoff found this Eastern newt, a common salamander, predacious diving beetles (water beetle), two salamanders, a snake and a variety of plants to show base employees and members of the public during a walk as part of the base's Earth Day activities.

ATA Wildlife Ecologist Richie Wyckoff found this Eastern newt, a common salamander, predacious diving beetles (water beetle), two salamanders, a snake and a variety of plants to show base employees and members of the public during a walk as part of the base's Earth Day activities.

Mayapples near Sinking Pond at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., are a herbaceous perennial plant that blooms in late May. The name is misleading because the flower appears in early May, not the “apple,” which is not related to the fruit that bears the same name. All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous. The underground stem of the mayapple has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, originally by Native Americans and later by other settlers.

Mayapples near Sinking Pond at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn., are a herbaceous perennial plant that blooms in late May. The name is misleading because the flower appears in early May, not the “apple,” which is not related to the fruit that bears the same name. All parts of the plant, except the fruit, are poisonous. The underground stem of the mayapple has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes, originally by Native Americans and later by other settlers.

The Overcup Oak is the predominant tree found in Sinking Pond at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn.  These trees provide an ideal habitat for Great Blue Herons to build nests, mate and form one of the largest colonies in the state.

The Overcup Oak is the predominant tree found in Sinking Pond at Arnold Air Force Base, Tenn. These trees provide an ideal habitat for Great Blue Herons to build nests, mate and form one of the largest colonies in the state.

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- AEDC workers celebrated Earth Day with a week-long series of events, including an art and photo exhibit, hikes and tours, all aimed at educating center employees and the public about the wild side of Arnold Air Force Base.

Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) Conservation Biologist John Lamb and Wildlife Ecologist Richie Wyckoff led 47 people on a narrated walk to the edge of Sinking Pond, a 394-acre site on base that was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1975.

A short hike from a long and winding side road led to this seasonal wetland, which represents the largest and most developed Overcup Oak upland swamp in existence on the Highland Rim. 

Those attending the walk learned that this area also contains one of the largest Great Blue Heron rookeries in Tennessee.