Sunday, September 28, 2014, Tallassee Forest, Athens-Clarke County

Posted under: East Georgia; North Georgia .

Date: Sunday, September 28, 2014, 10:00 am-1:30 pm.

Field Trip Leaders: Linda Chafin and Karen Porter

Description: We will visit Tallassee Forest, a 310-acre tract of land on the Middle Oconee River in northwest Athens-Clarke County. Large size, high environmental quality, and relatively little recent disturbance allow it support a diversity of native plants, nongame wildlife, and eight of Georgia DNR’s high priority habitats: mature oak-hickory-pine forest, mesic hardwood forest, wetlands including a freshwater marsh, bottomland forest, canebrakes, springs and spring runs, small streams, and a medium-sized river. Of special interest is an unusual upland American holly forest and a bottomland forest with canebrakes and minimal invasives. The utility easements are covered with diverse fall wildflowers and grasses. More than 113 species of plants including 11 wetland species have been recorded to date. There are 56 species of butterflies (including three rare species) and 13 species of skippers, close relatives of butterflies. The rare Cane Brake Skipper is dependent on River Cane as a food source. So far, 63 species of birds, 13 families of aquatic invertebrates, and 22 species of amphipians and reptiles have been recorded.

Location & Directions: Tallassee Forest is off Tallassee Road in northwest Athens-Clarke County–we will meet at a nearby school and carpool from there to the Forest. From Atlanta, take I-85 north to Exit 137 – Jefferson/US Hwy 129. Drive south on US 129 for about 20 miles. Just outside Athens, turn right onto GA Hwy 10/Loop 10 South (aka “the bypass”) and drive SW about 1 mile to Exit 15 (Tallassee Rd-Oglethorpe Avenue). Turn right/west onto Tallassee Road. Proceed 4.3 miles and turn right into the Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School parking lot. Park in the school lot.

Meet 10:00 am at the parking lot of Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School, 1600 Tallassee Road.

Bathroom facilities: none

Walking Difficulty: Moderate. We will be walking on old roads and utility easements. The walk is long so plan for 3½ hours. Bring: Lunch, snacks, and water. Dress for the weather, it will probably be hot in September, and wear sturdy walking shoes or boots. You may also want to bring binoculars, hand lens, and cameras.

Contact: Linda Chafin lchafin@uga.edu or Karen Porter at karengporter@gmail.com.