Published On: Thu, Mar 29th, 2018

Upcoming Branch Out events scheduled in Park

 

Cultural history, natural surroundings, park cemeteries, and sweat-inducing, blood-pumping hikes. These are just a few of the topics to be explored in Great Smoky Mountains Association’s Branch Out activity. Those interested in learning more about the country’s most visited national park are encouraged to join any of these programs set within Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

 

Program: Wildflowers and Falling Waters

Date: Tuesday, April 10

Time: 9 a.m.

Location: Greenbrier – Porters Creek Trail

Details: Professional naturalist Liz Domingue will lead us through one of the Smokies’ prime wildflower hot-spots and introduce us to Fringed Phacelia, Spring Beauty, Hepatica and Brook Lettuce. We’ll take a snack break with a view of Fern Branch Falls.

 

Program: Hike Meigs and Curry Mountain Trails

Date: Saturday, April 14

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Location: Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, GSMNP, Tennessee

Details: Hit the trail for a springtime history hike with local author Steve Kemp on Meigs and Curry Mountains trails. We’ll organize a carpool and start our day in Elkmont and quickly head west along the base of Blanket Mountain, passing what’s left of homesteads that were settled in the 1920s. Don’t miss your chance to sign up. This event is limited to 15 people! Wildflowers and historical interpretation will be abundant.

 

Program: Bus Tour – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Date: Friday, April 20

Time: 9 a.m.

Location: Twin Creeks Picnic Pavilion

Details: Sit back and enjoy the view when you join this interpretive bus tour of Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. For this trip, GSMA collaborates with A Walk in the Woods, a premier tour company, to provide our guests with comfortable travel while Stephen Lynn Bales, direct descendant of homesteaders to the Roaring Fork community, interprets the rugged beauty, rich history of his family and the well-preserved historical structures of the area.

 

Program: Birding Basics – Tennessee

Date: Saturday, April 21

Time: 8 a.m.

Location: Sugarlands Visitor Center Training Room

Details: We’ll have an information packed full-day, two-part course to learn new birding skills or sharpening your current knowledge with local birding expert, conservationist and guide Keith Watson. Part one will be indoor instruction using photographs and sound bites of resident and migratory bird species seen in the Smokies. Part two will be field work and lessons on the importance of record keeping and sharing in the ever-connected digital world.

 

Program: Birding Basics – North Carolina

Date: Sunday, April 22

Time: 8 a.m.

Location: Oconaluftee Administration Building

Details: We’ll have an information packed full-day, two-part course to learn new birding skills or sharpening your current knowledge with local birding expert, conservationist and guide Keith Watson. Part one will be indoor instruction using photographs and sound bites of resident and migratory bird species seen in the Smokies. Part two will be field work and lessons on the importance of record keeping and sharing in the ever-connected digital world.

 

Program: Citizen Science Workshop

Date: Sunday, April 22

Time: 10 a.m.

Location: Sugarlands Visitor Center Training Room

Details: The Citizen Science movement pairs research and education with every day citizens who enjoy documenting the flora and fauna of the outdoors in settings like the Smoky Mountains, greenways, your backyard and other natural spaces across the country. Our instructor Wanda DeWaard, has shared Earth Kinship and outdoor education with people of all ages since 1974 and will treat us to a presentation reviewing the history of Citizen Science. Wanda will teach us how we can safely collect, identify, photograph, document and report our findings with the scientific community across the country. Then we’ll take to the trails and waterways to explore and test our new skills.

 

Program: Bus Tour – Cades Cove

Date: Monday, April 30

Time: 9 a.m.

Location: Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center

Details: We only have room to invite 16 lucky GSMA members on a one-way trip through Cades Cove, a broad and verdant valley surrounded by mountains. Tenured GSMA guides, Mark and Janet Snyder will lead us on a comfortable bus tour around the cove interpreting the historical and natural history of this once thriving community. As a group we will be able to explore historic cabins, gristmills, churches. And since you won’t be doing the driving, you might have a chance spot the abundant wildlife in the area such as; Black bear, White-tailed deer, Fox, Coyote and a variety of bird species.

 

Most Branch Out event fees are $35, with GSMA members receiving a $15 discount. Proceeds from registration fees support GSMNP through a scope of work that concentrates on education, research and preservation efforts. Because most programs require participation restrictions, registration is required online at http://www. smokiesinformation.org/info/branch-out-programs or by phone (865) 436-7318, ext. 349.

Great Smoky Mountains Association-sponsored Branch Out events are designed to enhance greater public understanding, enjoyment and appreciation of the national park. A national park partner, GSMA has provided more than $36 million to support the park’s educational, scientific and historical programs since its inception 65 years ago.

Info: SmokiesInformation.org or (888) 898-9102, ext. 222 or 349.

– Great Smoky Mountains Association

print