Murals and butterflies

Melanie StatenAnderson, Our Town Outdoors

Join the University of Tennessee Arboretum Society for a virtual program on Zoom Tuesday, September 20, 7 p.m. EDT as we learn from Stephen Alvarez, creator of the Ancient Art Archive, about the Mural of America project. Stephen is an amazing photographer who uses photography, videography and 3-D imagery to document indigenous art from native cultures all over the world.

Co-sponsored by Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning and the UT Arboretum Society, Alvarez will explain the Mural of America project that explores 10 North American cultural landmarks illuminating the complex artistic mysteries of the past. Alvarez and the Ancient Art Archive’s extraordinary team of anthropologists, archaeologists and Native American artists are exploring the sites’ artistic wonders, the rich cultures that gave birth to them, and how they remain meaningful today. Their work is still in progress on most of the sites, but their work at Tennessee’s Devilstep Hollow Cave is complete and ready for all of us to experience.

Alvarez has published over a dozen feature stories in National Geographic. The magazine has sent him from the highest peaks in the Andes to the depths of the deepest cave in the world. His latest National Geographic story on the Origins of Art led from early human sites on the southern coast of Africa to Paleolithic art caves in France and Spain. Moved by the power of humanity’s earliest artworks, Alvarez founded The Ancient Art Archive in 2016. The Archive is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to using the photography and the newest image-based VR technology to preserve and share humanity’s oldest artworks. Stephen lives with his family in Sewanee, Tennessee.

The program is free, but registration is required to receive your link. Register at Info: Michelle Campanis, at [email protected].

Butterfly festival returns

The UT Arboretum Society will present its seventh annual Butterfly Festival on Saturday, September 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the UT Arboretum Auditorium and surrounding grounds, 901 S. Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge.

The entrance fee is $5 in cash (to facilitate entry) per carload. All other expenses can be made with cash or credit card. The gate will be open at 9:30 a.m. The event will take place rain or shine. Children’s craft activities will be available at a cost of a $1 ticket per activity or $5 for six tickets. Activities include temporary tattoos, butterfly masks, Magic Color Scratch butterfly ornaments, decorating cookies, caterpillar bracelets, and more.

Co-sponsored by the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center, the event is designed for children and adults of all ages. Ample parking is in designated areas of the UT Arboretum adjacent to the event.

One of the day’s highlights will be the release of 500 painted lady butterflies promptly at noon. Please plan enough time for arrival and parking before the release. It is suggested that butterflies be purchased early in the day due to limited supply, on a first come first served basis. Children are invited to help release the butterflies, which will be offered at a cost of $5 per butterfly to cover costs. For the safety of all, the use of butterfly nets at this event is strictly prohibited.

Two speakers will give presentations in the air-conditioned UT Arboretum Auditorium. From 10 to 10:45, Stephen Lyn Bales will present “Our Beloved Butterflies and Their Hosts.”

At 11 a.m., Georgann Eubanks will present “Habitat Heroes: Saving the Wild South for Us All.”

The festival will feature local artisans Kathy Fahey, Stephen Lyn Bales, Brad Greenwood, Kris Light and Teresa Myrick, all offering butterfly-themed merchandise.

Food trucks such as Forks on the Road and Mediterranean Delight will offer varied options for lunch. Please bring refillable water bottles.

Melanie Staten is a public relations consultant with her husband, Vince.

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