MTSU-led effort assists cedar glades wildlife fest...

MTSU-led effort assists cedar glades wildlife festival

The Center for Cedar Glade Studies at MTSU and Cedars of Lebanon State Park are co-hosting the 40th Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival May 4-5 at the park off U.S. Highway 231, about 6 miles south of Lebanon, Tennessee.

This marks the 10th year the event has been officially named after the late Elsie Quarterman, professor emerita, from Vanderbilt University. Quarterman was a plant ecologist and conservationist who studied cedar glades and worked to protect cedar glades and other important natural areas in Tennessee.

Roger McCoy leads a group through the cedar glades at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

Roger McCoy, left, Tennessee State Parks Division of Natural Areas director, talks about the cedar glades with people attending a past wildlife festival at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. This year’s event will be May 4-5. (Submitted photo by Milo Pyne)

From faculty to alumni, MTSU plays a major role in the festival.

The Friday evening program will celebrate the 40th year of the cedar glade wildflower hike with several speakers. Bobby Fulcher, manager of the Cumberland State Scenic Trail, was the ranger naturalist who started the hike in 1978 in reminiscence to the popular Great Smoky Mountains Wildflower Pilgrimage.

In memory of the Quarterman, her former students will share stories. David Duhl, photo editor for the “Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians” will present some of his favorite images with a talk titled “Why I Hate the Cedar Glades (Not!) — A Photographer’s Perspective.”

Most Saturday events will proceed rain or shine and begin at 7 a.m. with a bird hike with MTSU alumni Melissa and Roy Turrentine.

Tennessee state botanist and MTSU alumnus Todd Crabtree will lead hikes in the morning and afternoon along with Milo Pyne, senior ecologist with NaturServ, and photographer Darell Hess.

Sharen Bracey, also an MTSU alumna, will share her edible native foods and jellies. Renowned butterfly author Rita Venable will lead a hike in the afternoon and be available to sign copies of “Butterflies of Tennessee.”

Other programs include gardening with native plants, a photography workshop, children’s scavenger hunt, a glade geology hike and an evening owl prowl.

The Friends of Cedars of Lebanon State Park are hosting a native plant sale throughout the day.

MTSU biology professor Kim Sadler urges wildflower and outdoor enthusiasts to “come and learn about a unique and interesting ecosystem in your backyard in Middle Tennessee,” she said.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

— Randy Weiler (

A Tennessee coneflower in the wild at Cedars of Lebanon State Park

The Tennessee coneflower grows in the wild at Cedars of Lebanon State Park. (Submitted photo by Darel Hess)