<span class="vcard">Samantalee Greco</span>
Samantalee Greco

Historic Home Tour Raises Money For Lakeshore Park

Historic Home Tour Raises Money for Lakeshore Park

A group of local creatives came together to renovate and decorate a historic home on Cherokee Blvd. This gorgeous home was then opened for tours to help raise money for Lakeshore Park

The community was invited to tour the home with a donation to the Park. The open house was a huge success, bringing in over $20,000 for the Park.

Thank you to Lucas Haun, Stacy Jacobi, KW Signature Real Estate, Bennett Galleries, those who attended the tour and those who made additional donations.

Master Plan Update: Lower Ball Field Lights Removed

Nelson Byrd Woltz proposed a design for Lakeshore Park that would divide the land into three zones- athletic, civic/cultural, and natural/ecological. The approval of these zones was the start of the Park’s “Master Plan.” One of the most notable changes made thus far came during Spring 2021. 

The steps taken in April included the removal of the lower baseball fields. This provided a large, empty area near the Hecht Pavilion and waterfront. The only remnants of the fields were the lights that could be seen from the HGTV Overlook. 

On July 28, work continued as a team came in to remove the lights. Park visitors paused their walks to watch as the teams pulled each light down individually causing a large crash. 

The removal of the lights allow the Park to continue advancing towards the end goal of the Master Plan. In addition, the view from the Overlook has been enhanced as it is more beautiful than before.

What’s Next? 

Teams can now come in to grade both that area of the Park and the area where new ball fields will be built. From there, the old field area will be prepped for the next phase of construction.

As the Park continues to change and make enhancements, Lakeshore Park Conservancy will keep all visitors informed. 

Bird Watching at Lakeshore Park


Key Information

Who : Presented by Knoxville Birding Group (part of Tennessee’s Ornithological Society) and Lakeshore Park

What : Bird walk around Lakeshore Park

When : September 11, 2021 8:00am

Where : Meet group at Marble Hall

Have you ever walked the trails of Lakeshore Park or attended an event and heard a beautiful sound from a little friend but couldn’t tell what kind of bird that friend was? Or have you seen a bird that was an incredibly bold color and wondered just what type of bird it was? Well, now’s your chance to have all of your bird questions answered! Lakeshore Park is partnering with Knoxville Birding Group to give a free bird walk on the morning of Saturday, September 11th.

Knoxville Birding Group is a part of KTOS (Knoxville Tennessee Ornithological Society) and is looking to teach others about all types of birds that can be found in East Tennessee. Morton Massey, President of Knoxville Birding Group, answered a few questions about bird watching (also known as birding), how one can get into it, what his favorite thing about birding is, and more. To see his full response to each question, click here.

What is Birding?

Birding is the joy of watching birds. This can be done anywhere — from your office desk looking out the window, the walk that you’re on, your backyard, and more! A bird watched can just observe, photograph, and/or keep records of the birds they’re seeing. Morton became a birdwatcher when he was in college. His love of nature began when he was a young boy hunting and fishing with his dad. This love for nature and the outdoors allowed the two of them to go on a birding trip with a friend of his, his freshman year at UT. Fred Alsop, his friend studying for his doctorate, had so much “enthusiasm for locating and identifying birds that it rubbed off on” Morton and his dad. He said at that point they “pretty much gave up hunting…preferring to watch, 

study, and photograph birds… It has since been a lifelong hobby of” his.

What’s one benefit that comes from birding?

One of the best things about birding, according to Massey, is that it can take you so many places. “A few years ago, I set out to see 100 species of birds in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.  It took four years as I had to make multiple visits to most counties. … the real benefit I got out of the quest was driving the backroads of Tennessee and seeing how diverse, beautiful, and great our state is.”

What key items should a birder have?

Though it may have the great benefit of travel, birding isn’t the easiest of hobbies to pick up on- or the least expensive. “While you can enjoy birds without them, using a pair of binoculars increases the enjoyment tenfold or more.” Massey suggests spending at least a couple of hundred dollars on a good pair of binoculars so one could truly see all the elements of a bird that the naked eye cannot see. Another thing he mentions one should have is a small bird field guide. “Wild Birds Unlimited in West Knoxville has several types of good bird identification options to choose from.” Furthermore, if you’re looking to photograph a bird’s finest details, a quality camera/quality lenses are a must.

Equipment aside, the absolute best thing a birder could have is the ability to stay as quiet as possible and listen. “Good birders identify more birds by sound than they do by sight. When you are in a group of birders, be aware that too much talking and loud talking when the group stops to look at a bird is usually detrimental.”

What species can one expect to see in East TN? 

East Tennessee is a place that either becomes a seasonal home or a great place to pass through for birds. Spring and Fall migrations bring the biggest variety of birds to East Tennessee. “In spring, many birds that rely on insects to feed their young come from further south (i.e. warblers, kingbirds, swallows, etc.) …. We also have large numbers of birds that nest further north in summer then move south to East Tennessee in the fall and spend the winter here.  (i.e. many species of sparrows, ducks, gulls, etc.).”

Is birding hard?

As mentioned before, birding isn’t one of the easiest hobbies to get into, and that’s one thing Massey believes everyone who is interested in birdwatching should know. “There are so many birds to learn about and so many sounds to learn to identify. Then birds make it so difficult because they change their colors at different times during the year and each bird seems to have many variations of sounds they make. It can be challenging.”

Though challenging, Morton Massey ended the interview on a high note by adding, “birdwatching tends to be one of the most relaxing sports known to man. … All you need to do is enjoy the beauty of nature.”

Now what?

If you are new to birding or are a birdwatcher of any level and are interested in seeing more birds, check with the Knoxville Birding Group to see what bird walks are scheduled. Their walks are free, open to the public, and some are specifically geared towards new birders. Spend the morning of Saturday, September 11, 2021 with Morton Massey, the Knoxville Birding Group, and the Wild Birds Unlimited of Knoxville to see who is currently flying around Lakeshore Park!

To Register for September 11th’s walk, fill out this form. We all look forward to having you in the Park! 

For more event dates or information on the KTOS/Knoxville Birding Group, visit their website.


Lakeshore Park Conservancy’s New Director of Park Operations


Coming back to the South after several years in New York, Russell Riddell joins the Lakeshore Park Conservancy team as the Director of Park Operations.

Hello, I am Russell Riddell.  I joined the Lakeshore Park Conservancy in July of this year as your new Director of Park Operations.  With over 25 years of experience in landscape management, I most recently moved from New York City where I was the Manager of Turf Care for Central Park Conservancy. I helped manage 350 acres of lawns, sports fields and meadows where I became dedicated to helping public green spaces achieve their full potential for the enjoyment of the community.

I have quickly learned how vital Lakeshore Park is to the City of Knoxville.  Our team is working hard to ensure the safety, cleanliness and use of your park. We are also so thankful for charitable donations that have helped us grow and our hard-working volunteers who have pulled a lot of weeds.

Thank you for making my wife and I feel welcome in Knoxville and Lakeshore Park.  I look forward to seeing you in the park.

Russell Riddell
Director of Park Operations

 To learn more about the Conservancy, what they do, and how they care for the Park, visit the About the Conservancy page.

The Conservancy team is a small but mighty group of individuals- Meet the team


Park Alerts Stay in the know!  Here one can find updates about the Park and the Conservancy. These alerts can range from safety messages, job …

Former Governor Visits Lakeshore Park for Book Signing

Governor Bill Haslam Visits for Book Signing

Courtesy of Raise the Invincible

Bill Haslam, former mayor of Knoxville and governor of Tennessee, added “author” to his list of professional titles and chose Lakeshore Park as the best place for a book signing.

About the Book

Released this past May, Bill Haslam wrote the book “Faithful Presence: The Promise and the Peril of Faith in the Public Square” as a way to make it known that Politics and Faith can work together if done correctly.  Haslam writes, “They seem to forget their calling is to be used by God in service of others rather than to use God to reach their own desires and ends.” Meaning Christians shouldn’t shape their faith around politics but form their politics around their faith.  Though it was based on the Christian belief, there are lessons within the book that fits anyone of any faith. 

Throughout “Faithful Presence…” Haslam talks about his political experiences. While admitting some of his flaws, he also shares the flaws and the experiences of others. He never describes one as an evil person nor does he seem to sway more towards one side over the other when discussing other political figures and decisions. 

All in All..

The evening at Lakeshore Park’s Marble Hall was a beautiful one. It was filled with conversation between Bill Haslam and Hallerin Hill and questions from the public, ending in a book signing. Extra books were provided by Knoxville’s Union Ave Books for purchase. 

The Park appreciates Bill Haslam for choosing Marble Hall to be the place for this insightful event and looks forward to seeing more events like it choosing Lakeshore to be their backdrop. 

Read more about Bill Haslam’s “Faithful Presence..” and about the local shop that supplied books for the event:  Union Ave. Books.

Courtesy of Raise the Invincible

Big Ears Brings Big Crowds

Big Ears Brought a Big Crowd

Big Ears Festival provided the city of Knoxville with an awe-inspiring event on July 8th, 2021 at Lakeshore Park on the Main Events Lawn.

The Big Ears team, along with the help of several sponsors, brought the community together by producing a single event showcasing film, music, history, and literature. The silent film provided by TAMIS, showcased 1950s Knoxville which Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree seemed to had fit far too well. 

R.B. Morris, Knoxville’s first acclaimed poet, read excerpts from McCarthy’s 1979 novel while a group of musicians provided the night’s soundtrack.

The team at Big Ears worked with the Lakeshore Park Conservancy when they decided Lakeshore was where they wanted to host the event. While only expecting 500-800 people to attend, both Big Ears and Lakeshore took the world’s current climate into account when figuring out where in the Park the event should be. That’s when they all decided the Main Events Lawn would be more than enough room to fit that number of attendees and then some- ensuring that there could be social distancing if wanted.  Little did they know that all of the extra lawn space was going to be utilized.

Photo Courtesy from Planesspeaking on Instagram

Attendees used the Main Events Lawn, the grass terraces, and the HGTV Overlook to view the film, the entertainment, and the wonderful views Lakeshore Park provides. With two food trucks and a refreshment tent, the event drew a crowd large enough to shut all three down before the film ended. Both Big Ears and the Conservancy have estimated more than 1,000 people in the crowd that night. 

Noting the event as an extremely successful one, many have asked when Big Ears will be hosting another event at the Park and/or when the Park will be holding more events like this one. While there is no solid answer to either of those questions, it’s fulfilling to know that both organizations can work together (and with additional sponsors) to produce something that people of all ages can enjoy.