The John R. Dickey Birch Branch Sanctuary is an ideal site to visit during any time of year. The rhododendron thickets bloom in late June, and other flowering plants begin to bloom early in the spring and last through the fall. Sightings of larger wildlife such as black bear, deer and turkey are common.
Shady Valley, Johnson County
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The 452-acre sanctuary was donated to the Tennessee chapter in December 1996 by Marie Dickey Kalman. The land was originally purchased by Mrs. Kalman’s grandfather, Dr. John R. Dickey, with the purpose of protecting what he believed was "one of the prettiest places on earth." The Conservancy later purchased an additional 17 acres to secure a ridge over Birch Branch, enlarging the site to 469 total acres.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The Nature Conservancy is restoring native warm-season grasses to the preserve's old farm fields. These native warm-season grasses provide superior nutrition and excellent habitat for songbirds, game birds and butterflies. The Nature Conservancy has restored more than 20 acres of farm fields to native warm-season grasses at the preserve. Controlled ecological burns are a part of the restoration and maintenance process. The Bristol Bird Club also does annual bird counts on the property.