Ijams uncertain on summer camps, e-learning underway

Sandra ClarkFun Outdoors

Like most nonprofits, Ijams Nature Center has the pandemic shutdown blues. But these resourceful folks are working from home to produce e-learning content and design summer camps. It’s what they do.

Amber Parker, executive director, expects a decision by mid-May on whether the camps will be held and on what schedule. “We’re planning for camps full-force and looking at all different ways to continue,” she said in a phone interview.

Amber Parker

The nature center is shut down with no set date to reopen. Programs through May 10 have been cancelled. Ijams has drawn on reserves to continue paying staff. Those who can are working from home; those responsible for animal ambassadors (yep, that’s what they call them) are continuing to feed and care for some 40 critters on site; the natural resources crew is at work, maintaining Ijams’ 12 acres of trails.

Parker said the trails have remained open for the public during the shutdown, even though restrooms and the swim area are closed.

Ijams River Rescue has been reset from April to Nov. 14. This communitywide event focuses on up to 50 cleanup sites along the Tennessee River. Each year 600-800 volunteers remove tons of trash from waterways.

E-Learning Station has tons of fun activities for kids – backyard adventures, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts. Check it out here.

Signature events like Movies Under the Stars (May 22-Oct 2), and Ijams Symphony in the Park (Sept. 13) are currently scheduled. Events like Jamboree Nights and Jamfest were postponed and will be rescheduled.

Parker said the best way to keep up with the shifting schedule is the Ijams Facebook page. We’re going to do our bit to keep you informed as well.

  • River Sports is open for business with reduced hours and locations. Check the website here. Rental items include canoes, kayaks, bikes (electric, mountain or greenway) and camping equipment.
  • Navitat at Ijams Nature Center has closed temporarily and hopes to reopen around May 10.
  • Knox Birds: has cancelled its April meeting and invited Ron Hoff to speak in May about his recent trip to Australia. Info: knoxbirds.org.
  • Knoxville Parks & Rec is hiring summer workers for sports, parks and programs. Info here:

Ideas about events to include or people to interview? Email suggestions to sandra.clark@KnoxTNToday.com.


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