HOHENWALD — To recognize the achievements of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, October 2014 has been declared “Elephant Awareness Month” throughout Tennessee, Lewis County and Hohenwald. Gov. Bill Haslam, Lewis County Mayor Bill Webb and Hohenwald Mayor Johnny Clayton all signed official proclamations stating, “The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee continually sets goals to better the lives of all elephants worldwide.”
Oct. 11 is the second annual Billie’s Birthday 5K & Fun Run, held in honor of Sanctuary resident Billie, the 21st elephant to retire in Tennessee. The Run kicks off at 8 a.m. at the CB&S Bank parking lot in downtown Hohenwald, with the route concluding just behind The Sanctuary’s Welcome Center. Same-day, walk-up registration will be accepted from 6:30–7:45 a.m.; advance registration is available at elephants.com, or by calling (931) 796-6500, ext. 101. Following the run is a presentation on Billie’s biography at The Sanctuary’s Welcome Center.
The Welcome Center will be open during Hohenwald’s Oktober Heritage Festival, held from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 10–11. Artwork created for Elephant Awareness Month by Lewis County Elementary School students will be on display at the Welcome Center throughout the month of October. The Sanctuary will hold a reception from 10 a.m.-noon to honor the second-grade artists’ work on both days of the Festival.
The Elephant Sanctuary also sponsors two classrooms annually through Lewis County Schools’ Adopt-A-Class program. This year, local students will take a field trip to The Elephant Sanctuary Welcome Center to take part in educational programming. Group visits to the Welcome Center are always available by appointment.
Other area events during Elephant Awareness Month include:
• Oct. 17, Third Coast Clay at The Factory in Franklin will hold an “Art for Elephants” gallery exhibit and reception, 6-9 p.m. Elephant-inspired original artwork by local artists and area students will be for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Elephant Sanctuary.
• Oct. 11, non-fiction author Carol Bradley discusses “Last Chain on Billie: How One Extraordinary Elephant Escaped the Big Top,” 2 p.m. at the downtown Nashville Library, as part of the renowned Southern Festival of Books. The book chronicles Billie’s difficult life in entertainment and subsequent triumphant journey to Sanctuary, and also explores the contemporary challenges facing zoos and circuses as public scrutiny around conditions for captive elephants steadily increases.
• Oct. 21, New York Times-bestselling fiction author Jodi Picoult discusses her latest novel “Leaving Time” at 6:15 p.m. at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. The novel is set against the backdrop of a fictional sanctuary whose elephants are based on those residing at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Admission includes a copy of the book, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting The Elephant Sanctuary.