Orchard Bog and Quarry Bog are globally rare remnants of a once vast system of peat wetlands known more commonly in northern environments. After the retreat of the last glacial ice sheets, Shady Valley retained a handful of bogs, although over the past century, most of the expansive peatland system was drained and converted for farming and grazing.
In addition to the loss of wetlands, the natural water flows of the valley were altered by agricultural practices and the damming and channelization of Beaverdam Creek. The Nature Conservancy works to restore habitat for the valley's rare plants and animals while promoting conservation-friendly agricultural practices on its property.
What's At Stake
Orchard Bog Preserve boasts several state-rare plants such as Wild Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), Tawny Cottongrass (Eriophorum virginicum), Hoary Sedge (Carex canescens) and Nuttall Pondweed (Potamogeton epihydrus). In 2016, Appalachian Hedge-Nettle (Stachys appalachiana) was found at Orchard Bog—the first sighting of this rare plant in Tennessee.
Shady Valley is also spectacular during the spring and fall bird migrations (early April to mid-May, early September to mid-October). The uncommon Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum) has been documented in the area.