This year, others will pay tribute to the late Hemmerly during the 39th annual festival Friday and Saturday at Cedars of Lebanon State Park.
The event is free and open to the public. The park is just off U.S. 231, six miles south of Lebanon.
A number of years ago, event organizers renamed the Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival to honor longtime Vanderbilt professor Elsie Quarterman. The plant ecologist’s legacy includes 60 years of dedicated research of cedar glades and conservation. Quarterman died June 9, 2014, at the age of 103.
Hemmerly, who spent 51 years as an MTSU faculty member, died Feb. 14. He taught from September 1964 until retiring July 31, 2007, but returned to part-time teaching as both a post-retiree and as an adjunct until Dec. 31.
Biology professor and MTSU Center for Cedar Glade Studies co-director Kim Cleary Sadler, who characterized Hemmerly as a quiet person and author of four books, said his specialty and dissertation was on the life history of the Tennessee coneflower, which was thought extinct.
“Tom, Dr. Quarterman and a student found the plant,” Sadler said. “In 2015, Tom led the conversation about Dr. Quarterman at the festival, and now it’s kind of sad that now we’re remembering him.”
It will happen Friday during the 7 p.m. program, which also will include presentations by members of the American Legacy Tree Project and Tennessee Nature Conservancy.
Saturday’s full schedule includes various cedar glade and bird hikes and family events, including photography, bee-keeping, glade geology and an owl prowl.
In addition to Sadler, a number of MTSU alumni – Buddy Ingram, Nia Davis, Roy and Melissa Turrentine and Sharen Bracy – will lead sessions. Ingram is the park ranger.
For more information about the event and schedule, visit mtsu.edu/glade-center or contact Sadler at 615-904-8283 or [email protected]. The park phone number is 615-444-4565.