This years festival highlight will be a special presentation and dedication of a pelican statue in honor of Dixon Merritt and the grand opening of a butterfly garden behind the nature center. The statue has been designed and crafted by local blacksmith Dan Goosetree with the support of the Lebanon Year Round Garden Club and Wilson County Master Gardeners.
Poet and humorist Dixon Lanier Merritt(18791972) was a newspaper editor for TheTennessean and a Lebanon paper who gained fame for penning his famous limerick, The Pelican, in 1910: It begins: A wonderful bird is the pelican, His bill will hold more than his belican.
Merritt taught at Cumberland University and was a founding member of the Tennessee Ornithological Society. The nature center at Cedars of Lebanon State Park is named for him.
A schedule of events follows; all events are free and open to the public. Exhibitions and displays include the MTSU Center for Cedar Glade Studies, Edible Natives with Sharon Bracey, Reflections in Wildlife, Millie Buford Flowers and the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Friday at Huddleston Cedar Forest Lodge
7 p.m.: Evening program, hosted by Cedars of Lebanon Ranger Naturalist Buddy Ingram and Kim Sadler from the Center for Cedar Glade Studies. Speaker Andrea Bishop, conservation biologist from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Division of Natural Areas, will talk about the ginseng program and the recovery of the Tennessee coneflower.
8 p.m.: Music by Wilsons Warblers and light refreshments.
(subject to change but most events proceed rain or shine)
Nature Center: Open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Exhibits, animals and flower garden; video segments by MTSU Center for Cedar Glade Studies; Tyler Blystone, Long Hunter State Park naturalist.
7-8:30 a.m.: Bird walk: Bring field glasses and bird book and come learn from expert birders Wilson Post columnist Ray Pope, Roy and Melissa Turrentine and the Wilson
County TOS Chapter
9-10:30 a.m.: Talk reptiles in the glades with Lisa Powers and Danny Bryan
10:30-11:30 a.m. Family hike with Melissa Turrentine
11:30-noon: Special dedication of pelican statue in honor of Dixon Merritt in the native plant garden behind the Nature Center
12:30-2 p.m.: Talk and walk about butterflies of the glades with Rita Venable
2:-3:30 p.m.: Talk and walk glade geology with Ron Zurawski
3:30-5 p.m.: Talk and walk caves; hike to Hermit Cave with Ken Oeser
Cedar Glade flower hike via motorcade: Throughout the day Saturday
Group A: Leave from front of Huddleston Cedar Forest Lodge.
Group B: Leave from lot in front of Nature Center. Share a ride; watch for marked vans.
9-11:30 a.m.: Caravan to glade: Group 1A: Andrea Bishop and Jeff Walck
9-11:30 a.m.: Caravan to glade: Group 1B: Kurt Blum and Milo Pyne
2:30-5 p.m.: Caravan to glade: Group 2A: Tom Hemmerly and Milo Pyne
2:30-5 p.m.: Caravan to glade: Group 2B: Kurt Blum and Jeff Walck
7-9 p.m.: Owl prowl with Ray Pope (at the flatbed trailer in the Nature Center parking lot)
7-9 p.m.: Frog frolic with Danny Bryan (meet in front of Center)
Cedars of Lebanon State Park is seven miles south of Lebanon on U.S. Highway 231.