Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hellbender Survey on Whites Creek 8-22-23

 Lee University students set traps for hellbenders on Friday evening. The  plan was to camp out but dine in town. On the way back from supper they encountered a copperhead on the walk up to the camp. While looking at the copperhead they learned, much to the painful revelation of student Sam, that there were actually two copperheads.  Sam was bitten on the ankle. He was taken to the hospital and released. We'll check on him and let you know, but as a 220 man he is probably going to hurt a bit and be fine. Pepper, a 20 dog was bitten on the nose and did fine with a shot of Benadryl and some pain meds. The wilderness has its dangers , but they are well worth it. Sam is the first person I know of that has gotten tasted by a copperhead in White Creek gorge. We see them a lot.

A student checks one of the traps.

Striped musk turtles ruled the day with this trap holding 15!This is a baby with the pronounced ridge on its back. The theory is that it makes it harder for predators to eat them.
They can stay underwater indefinitely by opening their mouths and extending their necks to absorb oxygen from the water. They were all released and watched until they recovered fully and went about their business.

No hellbenders!

WE keep looking, though!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hellbender Survey on Whites Creek 7-27-14

David Hedrick from the Chattanooga Zoo brought out some of his associates from Lee University to try and find hellbenders in Whites Creek. I've seen a dead one years back and we have campers who report seeing them recently. I really want to see a live one and verify there is a reproducing population in the creek. We saw a fine mud puppy, several mollusks, and a number of lively catfish were stirred up from under their rocky hiding places, but no hellbender so far. A new technique has been developed where the stream water is filtered and the filter tested for hellbender dna. The process has become so sensitive that a relative population density can be determined, which amazes me. We'll have those results this winter. In the meantime we plan on a night survey and attempting to trap them as part of the continuing effort. Anyone want to ID the mollusk or the vine flower? The cobble bar prairie plants are blooming for all they are worth at the moment.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Whites Creek Palooza 6-28-2014

We badly need folks to confirm they are coming by replying to this email or donating $25 per person at

Folks, we will be in a wilderness area with all the beauty and dangers that go along with that. You assume all risk for yourself and your wards.

We suggest you dress appropriately for playing in a creek. Water shoes are strongly suggested. You might also want to bring a folding chair. We will have several but not enough for everybody. Mosquitos and no-see-ums are not bad this year but we do have them, in case you want to bring insect repellent. We'll have citronella torches going at Whites Creek Global Headquarters.

Directions to this awesome event are down below in the first COMMENT.

Parking is an issue so car pool where you can. We will try to have parking Nazis to help you but in any case, bring your small car pack it in tight.

There's always parking on the paved road for those who want to walk up to the house. We can shuttle those who want it.

Folks, we have just received word that we will have kegs at Palooza. An additional donation is suggested for those who are of legal age who wish to enjoy some excellent brews. 

Joe and Rita sent this photo of their mosaic to be auctioned off. We have lots of other cool art that you'll have a chance to buy. We'll take your check and probably your credit card.


Know someone who shares our goals and want to invite them? Let us know and we'll work them in if we have room.

This is going to be a good one, folks.

In benefit for the good folks at Conservation Fisheries we will gather for a fun time in Whites Creek Gorge, a 164 acre conservation easement along the creek in Roane County, Tn. (Also our yard) We conduct a serious biological survey during this event that is BYOB. (Actually we do).  While we encourage you to BYOB, we should have some beverages (donations accepted).

We spend as much time at the creek as we can after noon. Supper will be at 7 P.M. at the house. The Rough and Tumble (Freakin' Awesome singers and songwriters) will play for us.  The auction will be at 8 P.M.ish  The official end of things is 9 ish. Some camping is available if you let us know ahead of time.

Got children? We'll work with you on price for them. (Depends on how much they eat ; )


So, Paloozers, Are you ready to party for the fishies?

First off check out Conservation Fisheries and see what good work they do for the environs of Tennessee and the natural diversity of our streams. Then put on your party hat and get out your wallet. Now unlike many fundraisers we think we have an event that's worth way more than the $25 per person, with guided snorkel trips at  3:00, and 4:00. Unguided snorkel trips are continuous. We're seeing a few big gar this year and there's never a shortage of drum, red horse, and small mouth bass, but it's the small and beautiful darters and shiners that really show off Tennessee diversity in the nearly crystal clear Whites Creek. We'll swim with the fish, eat some good food, and listen to some great music and raise a little money for a group on the forefront of saving Tennessee's fish diversity.

Home base will be Whites Creek Global Headquarters
. We'll spend the afternoon at the creek and return to the house for supper and music. We don't provide lunch so take care of that and bring snacks if you want them. Supper will be somewhere around 7 with the auction (several items you might really need in your collection!) and music getting underway at 7. The Whites Creek Jug Band may possibly make a late appearance and play us into the night. The evening will officially end at nine. We have primitive camping available if you let us know ahead of time. 

 We have a limited number of tickets and encourage everyone to buy them as soon as you can so we can keep track of the crowd size. To reserve your ticket go to Conservation Fisheries and click the DONATE button and follow directions. Enter an amount of at least $25 per ticket. Put "Whites Creek" in the comment box. Don't want to use a credit card? Email me and we'll take your cash at the door.

Can't make it this time but still want to show your love for the work these people do?. Go to the Conservation Fisheries web site and donate what you can. We'll forgive your absence and keep you on the mail list for next time and you'll get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with doing good a good thing.


Legal stuff: This is a natural area with all its beauty and danger and you and yours agree by attending  to assume all risk, holding everyone else harmless. 
The rarish Diana Fritilary butterfly emerged today. Folks who are interested should be able to see them in the yard.
Here are pictures from the Whites Creek Conservation Easement album. That should get you ready.

Steve and Annie

 Legal stuff: This is a natural area with all its beauty and danger and you and yours agree by attending to assume all risk, holding everyone else harmless. 

Steve Scarborough (Charles S)
865-354-4363 home/office
865-603-6981 cell

Saturday, May 10, 2014


This little guy found a hideout in plain sight on the water faucet. I certainly didn't notice him until I reached for the handle. 
Copes tree frog.