WGNS Action Line Guests talk about Positive Aging, MTSU Extended Reality Video Production and the Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival at Cedars of Lebanon

Apr 18, 2022 at 07:30 am by WGNS

SEGMENT ONE – 8:10 a.m.

GUEST: Dr. Kim Cleary Sadler, professor of biology education

TOPIC: the 44th Elsie Quarterman Cedar Glade Wildflower Festival at Cedars of Lebanon State Park

The 44th Elsie Quarterman Wildflower Festival, formerly known as the Wildflower Pilgrimage, will be held at Cedars of Lebanon State Park the evening of Friday, April 29, and all day Saturday, April 30.

MTSU’s Center for Cedar Glade Studies partners with the state park to host the annual event.

The festival’s namesake, Dr. Elsie Quarterman, Vanderbilt professor emerita, was a plant ecologist that studied limestone cedar glades in the Central Basin in Middle Tennessee. Much of this extremely fragile system has been destroyed of severely damaged by human activity. Glades have been historically viewed as wastelands, yet they support highly specialized plant species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Cedar glades are characterized by very thin soil and exposed, limestone rocky patches surrounded by redcedar trees. Seasonally contrasting, the glade environment is standing water during winter/early spring to hot and dry in the summer.

  • Events associated with the festival include three-hour hikes with field botanists for those that want to learn more about the plants. There are also shorter programs that are family friendly such as a short geology hike to learn more about the rocks and fossils in glades, native plant gardening, learning stations that teach about some aspect of cedar glades, an up close and personal visit with Orion the owl from Owls Hill, and several other activities.

For more information, contact Sadler at kim.sadler@mtsu.edu.

SEGMENT TWO – 8:25 a.m.

GUEST: Billy Pittard, professor and chair of the MTSU Department of Media Arts

TOPIC: Amazing new xR (Extended Reality) video production technology coming to MTSU to train students

xR or Extended Reality is a new immersive video production technology that allows content producers to create a myriad of virtual and mixed reality worlds on a production stage through the use of multiple mounted LED screens and computer software.

Led by Professor and Department Chair Billy Pittard and Mike Forbes, assistant director of technical systems, MTSU has been working with xR experts from Monolith Studios Inc. in Nashville to set up an xR stage on the MTSU campus that will be used to train students on the latest technology that will provide the necessary skills for them to succeed professionally once they graduate. 

Among project credits for some of Monolith’s team members is the popular streaming series “The Mandolorian” and the DC Comics movie “The Justice League,” both of which featured numerous eye-popping, other-worldly backdrops and environments to tell those stories.

This isn’t at all like using green screens. xR immerses an actor inside a virtual environment that they can actually see and react in real time to their environment.

For more information about Department of Media Arts programs, visit https://mtsu.edu/mediaarts/index.php.

SEGMENT THREE – 8:40 a.m.

GUESTS: Dr. Deborah Lee, NHC Chair of Excellence in Nursing and Director of the Positive Aging Consortium

Laura Grissom, Health and Wellness Education Coordinator at St. Clair Street Senior Center and a member of the Positive Aging Consortium and the Conference Planning Team

TOPIC: Inaugural Positive Aging Conference at MTSU on June 10

Registration is now open for the inaugural Positive Aging Conference, which will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 10, at MTSU’s Miller Education Center on Bell Street.

Keynote speaker will be Julie Sweetland, Ph.D., of FrameWorks Institute thanks to sponsorship by the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Fund. Her topic will be “Building Momentum: How Mindsets on Aging are Shifting.”

Other conference topics include exercise, nutrition, cognition, living environments, financial decision-making and scam prevention.

MTSU speakers include:

  • Dr. Jim Houston, Psychology, “Taking Steps to Maintain a Healthy Brain as we Age”
  • Dr. Brandon Grubbs and Dr. Vaughn Barry, Health and Human Performance, on “Reaching Your Physical Utopia”
  • Dr. Keith Gamble, Economics and Finance, on “Financial Decision-Making and Scamming”
  • Dr. Elizabeth A. Smith, Nutrition and Food Science, on “Tower Garden to Table: Using Produce to Create Healthy Meals”

Registration fee is $35 per participant and payment is by credit card only. Those registering by May 13 are entered in a drawing to win a significant prize at the conference. Registration is online only and closes May 27. Please register early as capacity at the venue is limited.

For conference updates and registration, visit https://mtsu.edu/pac.

The MTSU Positive Aging Consortium was established in April 2019 and brings together faculty from numerous programs, departments, and colleges who have expertise and research interests in the area of aging and older adults. Community partners were added to the Consortium membership in 2020.  

The Consortium provides opportunities for partnership and collaborative research, education and service in support of positive aging. The purpose of the Positive Aging Consortium is to bring together participants from MTSU, community partners, and individuals who provide services to aging and older adults to focus on framing aging from a place of positivity rather than decline.