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Parks and Recreation

Become a Naturalist in 2019

Do you...

people looking at flowers

  • Go outside?
  • Observe closely?
  • Quietly saunter/walk slowly?
  • Respect living things?
  • Draw, photograph or journal what you see?

Then you are already on your way to becoming a Naturalist.

Warner Park is kicking off our Year of the Naturalist with family-friendly monthly iNaturalist challenges.

To participate in these challenges:

  • Email the Nature Center to sign up.
  • Download the iNaturalist app.
  • Watch the tutorial on the app, and create your account and iNaturalist name.
  • Need help? Call or email the Nature Center at 615-862-8555 to schedule a tutorial.
  • Explore Warner Park.
  • Record observations of living things using your smartphone's camera; choose the project "Warner Park Biodiversity Project".
  • Focus on the monthly challenge (details below!).

Our goals for the Warner Park Biodiversity Project are:

  • Contribute to the Warner Park natural history inventory.
  • Provide Park visitors with a cool, new tool to identify plants, animals and other living things.
  • Offer naturalists from all over the world the opportunity to learn about the flora and fauna right here in Nashville, right here in Warner Park.
  • Record a previously unknown species in Warner Park

Watch our Facebook page for updates and amazing discoveries by Park naturalists.

juniper hairstreak butterfly on frostweed plant

September iNaturalist Challenge: Insects

Monarchs, grasshoppers, bumblebees and more!

Insects are at their peak in Nashville this month. Find a milkweed plant and you may find three or four species of insects--butterflies, milkweed bugs and aphids. Visit the garden and search for assassin bugs, ladybugs and bees in various stages of life. Search hackberry trees for movement-you may spy a tiny lichen-covered insect! Don't forget to investigate the creek: many insects begin their life cycle as nymphs under rocks in Vaughn Creek. Insects are everywhere! How many can you find, photograph and upload to iNaturalist?

Remember to choose the Warner Park Biodiversity Project for each post.

This Juniper Hairstreak butterfly can be seen in September nectaring around cedar trees. This butterfly was only recently discovered in Warner Park. Perhaps you will find a new species to add to our list!

Become a Junior Naturalist

Learn about Warner Park using our Junior Naturalist workbook. Complete activities corresponding to your age; then call the Nature Center to make an appointment with one of our naturalists to show off your work. The completion of these activities earns you the patch of your choice: butterfly, fish, catfish, snake, fox, treefrog, jumping spider or white-breasted nuthatch (bird).

Check Out a Free Purple Pack

Check out a backpack from the Nature Center! Use the packs for exploration at pond, the organic garden or in the forests and fields of Warner Park.

Each backpack includes:

  • A net
  • A set of binoculars
  • Nut and seed collection activity
  • Bingo iSpy activities
  • Collecting jar with hand lens and scavenger hunt
  • Colored pencils, pencil and paper (for making detailed drawings)

Check out a FREE purple pack today and hit the trail!

The Nature Center has 3 big packs and 2 little packs. Purple packs are available from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. when the Nature Center is open.

Have Old-fashioned Fun at Nature Play

Remember when you had hours of fun simply playing in a sand pit or dirt pile? Your toys were sticks and rocks. You made mud pies and deep holes in the sand. You got dirty, but you had the time of your life. The Nature Center wants kids to experience this good, old fashion fun in our Nature Play area.

Designed by Tara Armistead and funded by memorial contributions for her father, Dr. William Crenshaw, this exciting play area includes a cedar wood playhouse, a stone wall in one corner, 2 dirt piles, and a huge sand pit.

kids playing outside in cabin and sand pit

Get the Tools to Become a Naturalist

Pick up a naturalist kit at the Nature Center gift shop for $10+tax and explore Warner Park!

Complete the new Junior Naturalist Activity Book and earn a Nature Center patch. From scavenger bingo to creek crawls, challenge your young naturalist to explore a variety of habitats and earn a naturalist badge. Purchase an activity book for only $2 at the Nature Center.

Questions? Email the Nature Center or call at 615-862-8555.