Ten outdoor interpretive signs in Decatur's Delano Park were dedicated Friday during a ceremony hosted by the Delano Park Conservancy.
The new Riverwild signs serve as a tool to inform and educate the public and to share the historical, natural and cultural significance of the Tennessee River.
The signage consists of:
• Three double kiosks (limestone, swallowtails and eastern red cedar); and
• Seven single panels (hellbender, fishes including smallmouth bass and spring pygmy sunfish, bald eagle, great blue heron, wood duck, prothonotary warbler and land of the Indians, 1773.
Interpretive text for the signs was written by Paulette Haywood Ogard, author of “Butterflies of Alabama.” Many talented Alabama and Georgia photographers donated their professional photographs of plants and animals of the Tennessee River Valley for use on the signage. Maps of the southeast in 1773 were provided by the Alabama Department of Archives and History.
“Some of the animals pictured in the signage can only be found in the Tennessee River and nowhere else in Alabama. A few of the animals, such as the spring pygmy sunfish, are found in a few limestone springs of the Tennessee River and nowhere else on the planet,” said Barbara Kelly with the Delano Park Conservancy. “The signage tells a fascinating story that includes the limestone karst world of North Alabama and the Indian tribes that made this land their great hunting territory for hundreds of years.”
The ceremony, an official Alabama Bicentennial event, represents the culmination of many years of efforts on the part of many contributors. The project was made possible in part by grants from Alabama’s Mountains Rivers and Valleys Resource Conservation and Development Council and Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area.