Happy Earth Day & Conservation Update. 🌿🐦

April 22nd, 2020

Dear Supporter,

The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day seems like a fitting time to reflect and update you on the conservation work we do here at Reflection Riding. For us, that work centers on native plant propagation (did you buy your plants yet?) and breeding one of the most endangered animals on the planet, the American red wolf. 

We were overjoyed when one of the female wolves born right here in our facility gave birth to a large litter last week. I was fortunate to be able to capture a single image and a short video of the new mother with her pups. You can almost feel how overwhelmed she must have been when you see that image. Very quickly after that shot, when the pups were only hours old, Ruby, the mother, moved the pups to another den box where we were no longer able to see them. Over the following days, it became clear that this litter would not be viable. 

While we generally do not interfere with nature, our team came to the conclusion that it was time to intervene, which we did successfully. At the suggestion of our national red wolf recovery team, we were able to remove the one living pup and cross-foster her with a litter of the same age in Salisbury, NC. Over the weekend and at a very emotional time, our team worked quickly to coordinate the necessary permits and travel plans with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the red wolf cooperator, Rowan Wild, a part of Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, NC. I'm happy to share the photo below of our pup with her adoptive mother and siblings.

I name each of the organizations above because we are so grateful to them for all acting swiftly to help us ensure the survival of this pup. While anything can happen from here, I’m happy to report that the pup has been accepted by the new mother and appears to be healthy. We’re obviously disappointed to not have the pleasure of watching this pup grow up in our facility, but we’re hopeful for the future. The Species Survival Plan coordinator, Chris Lasher, has indicated that mothers who have not had success with their first litter often do find success with the second and future litters. Each of our breeding pairs is matched by the SSP to produce genetically valuable pups, so we won’t know for sure until our annual meeting, but we are hopeful that Ruby will be paired again for breeding next year.

We remain, like this species itself, resilient.

Below we share a few ongoing virtual learning opportunities, an update on summer camp, and more information on ordering your native plants. We hope you'll continue to get involved. Thank you for your continuing support. We are grateful for our community.


Mark McKnight

Grounded in Place: How Landscape Architecture & Good Planting Design Is Transforming Chattanooga

Join Matt Whitaker, owner and founding principal of WMWA Landscape Architects and Mark McKnight, President & CEO of Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center for a live discussion of the various projects transforming downtown Chattanooga right now. The stream will go live on Friday at noon Eastern. Sign up for a reminder via YouTube.

Creeping Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans)

Creeping Jacob’s ladder is best grown in moist, humus-rich and well-drained soil in part shade. It tolerates full sun in cool summer climates. Although technically rhizomatous (using underground stems to asexually reproduce), plants do not creep as the common name somewhat erroneously suggests. It does freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. If conditions are favorable, this plant will spread out its area within a few years.

Read More
You can still participate from home in this year's City Nature Challenge!

Check out this recording of the live stream we broadcast earlier this week for details.
Learn More about the CNC

Summer camp update

Our team is currently evaluating options for summer camp this year. We appreciate your patience, and we'll have an announcement for you next week.

Spring Plant Sale

Check out the inventory below to order plants online! It's constantly changing according to our stock, and if you have questions or want recommendations, send an email to [email protected] or [email protected] 

Thank you for supporting our work to reconnect Chattanoogans to nature. There are so many ways for you to get involved in all we do. Here are just a few options:

Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our tax ID number is EIN #58-1311080.

Posted by Mark McKnight  | Category: newsletter
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