Conservation Days

  Save the Date: Saturday, May 20, 2023   

for the 2023 Conservation Days main event! Nature hikes will be offered during the week of May 14.

The 2023 event will be similar to the 2022 event (below), but the theme (TBA) will be different.

 CIA-GifApril 22 & 23, 2022

Building Habitat in a Fragmented World:

Activities, speakers, and exhibits focused on engaging with the natural world

Wilderness Station, Barfield Crescent Park (map)

Come learn about local wildlife habitats and backyard habitat improvement projects you can do yourself. Discover citizen science projects and volunteer opportunities in and around Murfreesboro. Meet representatives from organizations working on habitat issues. 

Hikes, activities, and information geared towards ages 10 and up.

Event Map

Volunteer to help out with Conservation Days! A variety of times and tasks are available.

Please check back for updates!

Wildflower Walk - Horseshoe Glade Natural Area

Small pink, white, and purple wildflowers, mixed, growing with grasses

with Dr. Jeffery WalckMiddle TN State University

Explore a small yet diverse pocket glade and the 20-acre Murfreesboro natural area surrounding it that are tucked behind the soccer fields at Siegel Park. The area includes a creek, a small limestone cedar glade, a patch of prairie, thickets, and wooded areas. Several globally rare or threatened plant species occur here. An unpaved walking/running trail winds through the area.

Meet at Siegel Park southwest soccer field parking   map

Watershed Walk - Murfreesboro Greenway at Southridge Trailhead

West Fork Stones River at barfield

with Josh UphamMurfreesboro Stormwater Department, Cynthia AllenMiddle TN State University Stormwater Program, and Bonnie ErvinStones River Watershed Association

Explore the West Fork of the Stones River during a short hike starting at Southridge Greenway Trailhead. Learn about watershed function in a karst landscape, water quality indicators, and simple DIY water quality evaluation. Hands-on activities and resources available: Wear waterproof boots or river shoes if you want to wade in!

Meet at Southridge Greenway Trailhead  map

(Corner of 3316 Southridge Blvd and 104 Player Drive - #13 on Murfreesboro Greenway Map)

Resource Management Walk - Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens State Natural Area

Flat Rock Cedar Glades and Barrens

with Murray Gheesling, Middle Tennessee Stewardship Ecologist, and Roger McCoy, Director: Division of Natural AreasTN Department of Environment and Conservation

Hike through one of Tennessee’s most ecologically significant State Natural Areas and learn how TDEC personnel are restoring and maintaining ecosystem integrity, wildlife habitat quality, and biodiversity throughout this 846-acre Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area.

Meet at Flat Rock Natural Area   map

Resource Management Walk - Stones River National Battlefield

Limestone outcroppings among trees in early spring woods, brown leaf litter

with John McKay, Park Ranger/Education Coordinator, and Philip Knecht, Biological Science Technician: Stones River National Battlefield

The Best of Both Worlds: Preserving Nature and History at Stones River National Battlefield: Discover the Battlefield's natural resources (cedar glades, native grass fields & forests) and learn how park personnel manage them as part of a cultural landscape. 

Meet by the flagpole in front of the Stones River National Battlefield Visitor Center   map

Map for Conservation Days event showing exhibit, activity, and hike areas Opens in new windowSaturday

Speakers   Activities   Exhibits  throughout the day. Native Plant Sale  until 1 pm, Nature Walks in the morning and afternoon, and Food trucks.

Exhibits (9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) are along the road by the Wilderness Station, and the Plant Sale (9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.) and food trucks (lunchtime) are in the Wilderness Station parking lot. These areas are closed to vehicles from 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Exhibits  -  Event Map Event Parking

7:30-9:00 am: Early Bird Walks in Barfield Backcountry

Reserve your spot! Preregistration required.

Signup Genius logo and text Opens in new window

Group of adults looking up into trees through binoculars. Autumn

Birding Hike with Emily Moorman, Outdoor Murfreesboro, and Tennessee Ornithological Society Nashville Chapter rep

Start the day off with a bird identification hike on the Barfield Park back country trail. 

Meet at Pavilion 3, Barfield Park map

Man taking notes by birdhouse. Photo by Sharon

Intro to Bluebird Nest Box Monitoring 
with Bob Ingle, Barfield Bluebird Trail volunteer

Learn how to properly maintain and record data for nest boxes on the Bluebird Trail at Barfield Park.

Meet at Pavilion 3, Barfield Park map

9:00 am - 4:00 pm:  Main Event

spring native plant sale text with purple cone flower graphicsPurchase locally-native plants to enhance your landscaping and support backyard wildlife, then park them in our plant corral while you take part in Conservation Days activities. (Be sure to catch the planting workshops!) 

9 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.: Wilderness Station parking lot
Murfreesboro Indigenous Plant Project LogoPick up purchased plants by 3:30
Come early for the best selection! 

More about MIPP, the Murfreesboro Indigenous Plant Project


Morning presentations take place in the Wilderness Station meeting room. The afternoon presentation meets at the Wilderness Station meeting room and takes place on the trail through the Barfield Backcountry.

Guest Speaker Bios

9:30 - 9:40 a.m.

Dawn Thomas, Outdoor Murfreesboro

Outdoor Murfreesboro Education and Outreach: 

Dawn Thomas, Outdoor Murfreesboro, Wilderness Station Coordinator

9:40 - 10:30 a.m.

Photo of Pandy Upchurch Opens in new window

Habitat Needs, Local Habitats, and Current Challenges Facing the Inner Nashville Basin: 

Pandy Upchurch, TN Wildlife Resources Agency, Assistant Chief of Biodiversity (retired)

11:30 - 11:40 a.m.

Rachel Singer, Murfreesboro Parks & Rec Opens in new window

Building Outdoor Murfreesboro:

Rachel Singer, Outdoor Murfreesboro /Assistant Director, Murfreesboro Parks & Recreation

11:40 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Lindsey M. Phillips holding a banded and radio tagged wild turkey

Building a Backyard Habitat:

Lindsey Phillips, Graduate Research Assistant, Dep't of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, University of Tennessee, Knoxville  

1:00-1:10 p.m.

Kristin Hopkins- Outdoor Murfreesboro Natural Resource Division Opens in new window

Natural Resource Management in Parks

Kristin Hopkins, Natural Resource Manager, Outdoor Murfreesboro Natural Resources Division

1:10-3:00 p.m.

Man with beard in green jacket and cap examining snail in hand

What a Relief! Habitats from high to low and a leisurely introduction to Barfield topography.

David Ian Withers, Staff Zoologist, Tennessee Natural Heritage Program

Get out of the classroom for a leisurely hike from the Wilderness Station to the banks of the West Fork Stones River and a review of the importance of topography in our daily lives and that of the myriad of life forms we will find along the way.

Activities - Choose your own adventure!

From hikes to hands-on workshops, Conservation Days activities are led by naturalists, professional natural resource managers, and other knowledgeable folks who will share their expertise with you.

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Constructing a Rain Garden-Demonstration

A group of children watch and help adults plant a garden in a swale.

Lee Anne Faust, Sumner County UT Cooperative Extension Agent, with
Sumner County Master Gardeners

Learn how to plan and install a rain garden in your yard that will reduce flooding and runoff issues, conserve water, and trap pollutants carried by stormwater runoff  before they reach streams, rivers, and  groundwater.

Nature Hike - Barfield Backcountry

barfield greenway

Randy Hedgepath, TN State Naturalist, and
Leslie Anne Rawlings, Ranger, 
Long Hunter State Park

Hike the trail through the Barfield Backcountry and learn about the various plants and animals found there.

Register on-site on April 23

Build Your Own Bluebird House - Activity

Bluebird boxes, Outdoor Murfreesboro

Outdoor Murfreesboro Staff 

Build a cedar bluebird house for your yard. No place to put one up yourself? Build one and donate it to our bluebird trail! Max 15 participants in workshop.

Purchase activity tickets ($20 - includes one kit) at the Wilderness Station shop Saturday morning. 

2:00-3:00 p.m. - On-Site Activities

People planting. Photo by Eyoel Kahssay Opens in new windowPlanting Natives in Your Garden - proper planting and placement - Demonstration
Rutherford County Master Gardeners

Learn how to get native plants off to a good start in your yard in this hands-on demonstration in our Native Garden.

barfield greenwayNature Hike - Barfield Backcountry

Randy Hedgepath, TN State Naturalist

Hike the trail through the Barfield Backcountry and learn about the various plants and animals found there.

Register on-site on April 23

Bee on bee house and closeup of someone's hands putting seeds in handful of soil.Pollinator Projects: Seed Bombs and Bee Houses - Activity
Murfreesboro Girl Scout Troop 354 Silver Award Project

Join us for Make & Take seed-bomb and bee house projects to support monarch butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.


wilderness station-02_thumb.jpg

Wilderness Station Nature Center & Gift Shop

The Wilderness Station is home to many education animals, including owls, snakes, turtles, and more. There are free educational backpacks available for checkout, and the gift shop sells nature-themed toys and books, snacks and drinks, and local artwork, jewelry, and pottery.

Logo with a leaf, a water drop and a stylized animal forming a circle Opens in new window

Citizen Science for Conservation Info Table

Learn about some of the apps and projects that allow individuals to contribute to good stewardship of natural spaces.

Next to the Outdoor Murfreesboro and Event Information tables in front of the Wilderness Station throughout the day.

Samples of prints made from plant materials in greens, yellows, and blues.

Eco Printing Demonstration

Learn about a beautiful and unique artistic medium known as eco-printing. We will be using resources foraged from the forest to create works of art.

Next to the Outdoor Murfreesboro and Event Information tables in front of the Wilderness Station throughout the day.

Red and yellow food trucks behind picnic tables and trees

Food Trucks

Take a break and refuel at one of the food trucks on site for the event:

Wilderness Station parking lot.

Closing Hikes

Meet at the location designated in the hike description. Please check back for details on this year's hikes. 

See description for registration details.

2:30 - 3:30 p.m. - Intro to iNaturalist - CitSci in Your Pocket*

Two people photographing tiny yellow flowers with smartphones

with Lauren MayOutdoor Murfreesboro Natural Resources Division

It's not only a great way to learn more about the natural world you see around you - you can also contribute to biodiversity science as a Citizen Scientist using iNaturalist! Help Outdoor Murfreesboro's Natural Resource team inventory the native plants and animals in our area by recording your observations online.

Meet in the Wilderness Station meeting room.

Register on-site on April 23

*You don't need the iNat app to use iNaturalist, but if you plan to use it during this workshop, please install it on your smartphone ahead-of-time. Wifi is not available at the Wilderness Station. 

2:00 - 4:00 p.m. - Wetlands Walk at Nickajack Wetlands

Hike at Nickajack Wetland, Murfreesboro, TN.

with Rachel Singer, Outdoor Murfreesboro /Assistant Director, Murfreesboro Parks & Recreation

Explore a 60-acre state-protected wetland habitat. Meet at Nickajack Wetlands off Red Mile Road   map

Sign up at the event Information Table in front of the Wilderness Station before 2 p.m. on April 23. Van transportation provided from the Wilderness Station: Meet by the Information Table at 2 p.m. 

Register on-site on April 23 to reserve your seat on the van. (Limit 10 people.)


9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Meet the people who work to improve wildlife habitat in the region, learn about their projects, and find volunteer opportunities and other ways to support their efforts. 

Participating Organization Info

Cumberland River Compact

Cumberland River Compact logo

Girl Scout Troop 354 Pollinator Projects

Green logo - Graphic of girls' faces

MTSU Center for Cedar Glade Studies

Yellow butterfly on purple flower with text: Center for Cedar Glade Studies

MTSU International Ginseng Institute

MTSU International Ginseng Institute logo

MTSU Stormwater Program

MTSU Stormwater Program logo

M'boro Indigenous Plant Project


M'boro Water Resources Dept

Murfreesboro Water Resources logo

Outdoor Murfreesboro


Quail Forever

Quail Forever Logo

Rutherford County Master Gardeners

Master Gardeners of Rutherford County logo: Thumbs-up hand with thumb sprouting a plant

Rutherford County Stormwater

Rutherford County TN Stormwater logo

Southeastern Avian Research

Text: "Southeastern Avian Research - SEAR" with bird images

Southeastern Grasslands Initiative

Southeastern Grasslands Iniative logo

Stones River National Battlefield

Stones River National Battlefield logo - Text and image of National Park Service Logo

Stones River Watershed Association

SWRA logo black2

Sumner County Cooperative Extension

Sumner County Cooperative Extension-TN Institute of Agriculture logo

Sumner County Master Gardeners

Sunflower above text: "Sumner County Master Gardeners"


tenngreen logo2

TN Conservationist

TN Conservationist Logo

TN Division of Natural Areas

Round tan logo with text and images: "Tennessee Division of Environment and Conservation"

TN Native Plant Society


TN Naturalists Program

TN Naturalist logo2

TN Ornithological Society- Nashville Chapter

TN Ornitholigical Society-Nashville Chapter

The Land Trust for Tennessee

The Land Trust for TN Logo

US Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District

USACE logo (Red castle) on mottled grey background with text "Nashville District"

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

NRCS logo with text: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

US Fish & Wildlife Service Partners Program

USFWS-Partners Program-logo

UT Extension-TN Smart Yards

TN Smart Yards Logo

Wild Birds Unlimited-Murfreesboro

Wild Birds Unlimited logo -graphic bird feeder with birds and text

WildOnes of Mid TN

Wild Ones-Mid TN-Logo

Wilderness Station

Wilderness Station.jpg

Ziggy's Tree Wildlife Rehab

Ziggys Tree-Logo