Plant Camp Open to Valley Teachers

Invasive or native… when if comes to plants, is there a difference? Teachers can find out with TVA’s three-day seminar—and have fun while doing it.

JULY 9, 2018—TVA is currently looking for Tennessee Valley teachers who want to participate in a free 3-day aquatic plant workshop (September 11 through 14) at Lake Guntersville State Park in Guntersville, Alabama. 

“We care about our students’ futures and want them to have every opportunity to succeed,” says Brett Hartis, TVA aquatic plant manager, based in Guntersville. “We saved a few slots for local teachers since this year’s plant camp is in Guntersville.” 

TVA plant camp is open to upper elementary, middle and high school teachers in the Tennessee Valley. This fun workshop provides educators with information, instruction and hands-on experience regarding the impacts of invasive species to land and water ecosystems in our area.

The camp will also offer Continuing Education Credits to help teachers reach their own professional goals along the way.

“I really loved the opportunity to get outside the classroom and see and touch the plants,” says 2017 plant camp participant Tonya Ridge, from Jasper, Tenn. 

TVA has taught plant camp for the past three years, and over 60 Tennessee Valley teachers have attended so far.

“Plant Camp allows us to partner with teachers to provide hands-on activities that gives them the knowledge and resources to take their experiences back to the classroom,” says Hartis.

Due to plant camp’s popularity, this year’s camp has been expanded to three days and includes classroom and lab activities, as well as field trips.

“We take learning to a whole new level by bringing teachers out on the water and land to see and touch the plants and fish where they live,” says Hartis.

Ridge explained that by going into the field to see the plants and fish in their natural environment, it helped her visualize how they fit into the food web. Additionally, it gave her the knowledge she needed to bring these concepts back into her classroom for students.   

“This [plant camp] gave me some great ideas on how to make use of the environment around our school as a classroom and show the students how to identify native and invasive plants,” she explains.

With over 280 fish species, the Tennessee Valley is the most biodiverse ecosystem in North America. Last year, TVA and the University of Tennessee completed a study that showed the Tennessee River generates about $12 billion in economic value and 130,000 jobs to the Valley.

“Investing in our teachers means that we are also investing in students,” says Hartis. “Our children are our next leaders, and helping them understand the environment in which they live will allow them to make the right decisions to protect this valuable resource.”

Contact Hartis for more information or to sign up for TVA’s 2018 Plant Camp at (256) 891-6607 or