Whether your interest is in storytelling, park rangers or wild edibles, we have a course just for you!

Here’s what’s happening in August:

 

Stories, Tales and Adventures

Sat., 8/4/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Fee: $49

Bring a sack lunch and join Bill Landry for a day of adventure and learning about our southern Appalachian heritage. Sort out old sayings, stories and tales, in a backcountry setting where nature abounds. We’ll find an old rock wall or cabin porch to sit upon or walk and talk down a quiet path, probably both. Time will be spent exploring the origins of mountain remedies and cures, folkways, travels, people and adventures through the eyes, experiences and stories from the host of the Heartland Series and author of the new Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures. Instructor: Bill Landry, a native of East Tennessee, hosted the award-winning Heartland Series for twenty-five years.

 

Want to be a Park Ranger?-Introduction to Ranger Operations

Sat., 8/11/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Fee: $49

Have you ever wanted to be part of or experience what it’s like to be a ranger? National Park operations are divided into five main divisions: Administration, Maintenance, Resource Education, Resource Protection and Resource Management and Science. Glean a better understanding of all jobs in the park, with a special emphasis on the protection rangers, who are responsible for law enforcement, search and rescue, emergency medical and firefighting in our national parks. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on exercises, you’ll experience what it’s like to wear the many hats and experience the many challenges of being a National Park ranger for a day. Instructor: Rick Brown has served for 30 years with the National Park Service as a law enforcement ranger.

 

Incredible Edibles and Traditional Medicinals

Sat., 8/25/2012, 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Fee: $49

Climate and age of the Appalachian chain created a diversity of plant species that is greater here than anywhere in North America. Spend a day discovering how to identify plants and trees Native Americans and early settlers used for dye, food, medicines, crafts and other items of daily life. Sample delicious wild flavors appropriate to the seasons. The instructor will share the herb-lore from “medicine men” and “granny women” while the group searches the woods and fields of this temperate rain forest for its hidden treasures. Instructor: Ila Hatter is an interpretive naturalist, artist, storyteller, wildcrafter and gourmet cook with more than 31 years experience teaching the cultural heritage of native plants.

Whether you’re interest is salamander or bogs, or mosses or cooking, we have a course just for you!

Here’s what’s happening in July:

 Rare Mountain Bogs of Upper East Tennessee

Saturday, July 14, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM            Fee: $49

This course focuses on basic wetlands processes (vegetation, soils and hydrology) using some of the globally rare, critically imperiled southern Appalachian Bogs in Shady Valley, Tenn., as examples. Shady Valley is the highest valley in the state and contains remnants of peat bog wetlands that were largely drained in the middle of the 20th century. Numerous rare plants will be seen, many of which are uncommon or absent in the rest of the state, such as cranberry, northern-lax manna grass, marsh marigold, northern long sedge, crested wood fern, Canada lily, narrow-leaved meadow-sweet and others.  Instructor: Jamey Donaldson

 Sensational Salamanders

Saturday, July 14, 2012, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM            Fee: $35

Salamanders will captivate the interest of children. We’ll have a fun day searching high and low to get close-up looks at many different kinds of salamanders. Learn about where they live, what they eat, who eats them and lots more. After the day together, you’ll know why the Smokies is called the “Salamander Capital of the World!” We’ll drive and make several stops along Newfound Gap Road–with some walking on trails. Instructor: Elizabeth Domingue

 NEW INSTRUCTOR & NEW COURSE:

Early Settler Mountain Cooking

Saturday, July 21, 2012, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM              Fee: $59

Join Walter Lambert and friends for a fun day of southern Appalachian-style cooking in the midst of the Great Smokies. Chef Walter will share his knowledge of “old-timey delights” with participants as he cooks with a Dutch oven and a blackened iron skillet or two. Married in the Smokies more than fifty years ago, he is sure to engage cooks from novice to home-experts. Bring your favorite recipes to exchange and spend the day swapping culinary tips and tales just for the fun of it. Instructor: Walter Lambert

 Mosses and Liverworts of the Smokies

Saturday, July 28, 2012, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM              Fee: $49

Learn about the small plants which form a green blanket over the forest floor, the luxuriant mosses, liverworts and hornworts. View this miniature plant world with the aid of a hand lens and microscope. Learn how to identify these intriguing non-flowering plants and about their niche in the natural environment. Both experienced naturalists and those who are just curious to learn about these plants are welcome. We’ll admire these plants in their natural habitat within the Park and study details in a classroom at the nearby UT Biology Field Station. Bring a 10X hand lens!  Instructor: Kenneth McFarland  

Explore. Learn. Enjoy.

That’s what the Field School is all about. Below is a list of our June courses.  Whether your interest is in sketching or settlers, fireflies or ferns, edibles or ecology, we have a course just for you! 

 

NEW INSTRUCTOR & NEW COURSE:

Early Summer Wildflowers & Ferns

Sat., 6/2/2012, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM              Fee: $49

Visit various natural areas in the Park, from the lowest to the highest elevations and take short walks over moderate terrain to find and identify a variety of  wildflower and fern species. Anticipate seeing showy plants like Indian paintbrush, flame azalea, umbrella-leaf and blue-bead lily. The emphasis will be on appreciating the delicate beauty of wildflowers and ferns while learning non-technical identification methods. Instructor: George Ellison is a writer-naturalist who resides in Bryson City, N.C.

Nature Sketching-Watercolor or Pencil

 Sat., 6/2/2012, 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM                         Fee: $49

From a single wildflower to a mountain landscape, sketching outdoors is a wonderful way to enhance your appreciation of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. Both beginners and more experienced artists will find ample material for sketching as we spend unhurried time in the woodland landscape of the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail. Learn easy sketching techniques and styles. Instructor: Marty Komorny is a studio artist and has taught drawing and watercolor for 15 years.

Day Hike to Mt. LeConte

 Sat., 6/9/2012, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM                         Fee: $49

Spend the day with a naturalist and former park ranger exploring the plants, animals and history along one of the most beautiful and significant trails in the Smokies. Start in the hemlocks, and wind through northern hardwood, heath bald and spruce-fir forests to see majestic views on the third highest peak in the Park. Instructor: Carey Jones is a former park ranger-naturalist who has led walks in the Smokies for many years.

Incredible Edibles and Traditional Medicinals

 Sat., 6/9/2012, 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM                         Fee: $49

Spend a day discovering how to identify plants and trees Native Americans and early settlers used for dye, food, medicines, crafts and other items of daily life. Sample delicious wild flavors appropriate to the seasons. The instructor will share the herb-lore from “medicine men” and “granny women” while the group searches the woods and fields of this temperate rain forest for its hidden treasures. Instructor: Ila Hatter is an interpretive naturalist, artist, storyteller, wildcrafter and gourmet cook with more than 31 years experience teaching the cultural heritage of native plants.

Ferns, Wildflowers and Ecological Relationship of Roan Mountain

 Sat., 6/9/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM                         Fee: $49

Roan Mountain, a crown jewel of the southern Appalachians, has the highest concentration of rarity along the entire Appalachian Trail including 26 globally-rare plant communities, dozens of rare plants and animals and some of the oldest rocks in the region. Join us for the flame azalea bloom and the start of the mountain rosebay rhododendron bloom. Instructor: Jamey Donaldson is an adjunct curator at East Tennessee State University’s John C. Warden Herbarium and a professional botanist and biological consultant.

Bear Management in the Smokies-Living with Bears!

 Sat., 6/9/2012, 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM                         Fee: $49

Learn how to live with bears through an understanding of pro-active bear management techniques that help keep bears wild. Learn offensive and defensive bear behavior and how you should respond to each. Hear some interesting and funny bear stories that have happened over the past 30 years. Instructor: Kim DeLozier retired as supervisory wildlife biologist for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Early Settlers – Their Heritage and Dialect

 Sat., 6/16/2012, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM         Fee: $49

Journey back to the days of early cove and hillside settlement with award-winning author and columnist, Sam Venable in a session on mountain ways, traditions and southern Appalachian dialect. This talented speaker and writer will share his view of a past way of life as you sharpen your skills in expressing your perspective of the culture and traditions of the southern highlands. Instructor: Sam Venable is a well-known writer and speaker for the Knoxville News Sentinel entertaining everyone who comes in contact with his literary skills and southern wit.

Naturalist Workshop and Day Hike

 Sat., 6/16/2012, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM           Fee: $49

Join 30-year veteran Field School instructors, Joel and Kathy Zachry, for a day (morning workshop followed by hike) packed with stories, information and examples of the diversity of nature found within our Smokies. After learning about intriguing plants, animal life and how to avoid dangerous encounters, we’ll head outside and put the newly-learned skills to good use. Instructors: Joel and Kathy Zachry are husband and wife naturalists and the field school program managers.

Basic Visual Tracking

 Sat., 6/23/2012, 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM           Fee: $49

You’ll be introduced to several skills involved with tracking and locating persons in a woodland or wilderness setting. These include utilizing clues and “signs” left by the person being tracked. The goal of the course is to learn methods of determining the direction of travel of the person being sought. Instructor: Joey Holt grew up in the foothills of the Smokies and has been a lover of the outdoors all his life enjoying activities such as camping and hiking.

Photography for Naturalists

 Sat., 6/30/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM           Fee: $49

Photography is an important tool for many naturalists and one worth pursuing both for the presentation of our subjects and for the pure enjoyment of this creative outlet. Explore basic techniques and skills of photography for naturalists and how to use these skills to showcase specific natural topics. Begin in the classroom and end in the field. Instructor: Liz Domingue is a naturalist, guide, nature photographer and environmental educator.

Intermediate Photography for Naturalists

 Sun., 7/1/2012, 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM            Fee: $49

Prerequisite: Photography for Naturalists or equivalent experience

Experience this more in-depth look at how to improve skills of observation and enhance abilities as a naturalist through the use of photography. Most of the time will be spent in the field applying skills and improving upon the ability to capture natural images through the lens. Instructor: Liz Domingue is a naturalist, guide, nature photographer and environmental educator.

Explore. Learn. Enjoy.

That’s what the Field School is all about. Below is a list of our May courses. We are featuring two new instructors and four new courses this month. Whether your interest is birding, bears, or backpacking, we have a course just for you!

Here’s what’s happening in May:

Birding in the Smokies

Sat., 5/5/2012, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM         Fee: $49

Come along and we will consider basic materials (binoculars, field guides, checklists and CDs/tapes of calls and songs) as well as non-technical methods of identifying birds by both visual clues and their distinctive vocalizations. The remainder of the morning will be devoted to birding areas in the lower elevations of the park where anticipated species will include: Bluebirds, Indigo Buntings, various swallow species, Scarlet Tanagers and others. The afternoon will be devoted to birding middle and higher elevation hardwood and spruce-fir forests where anticipated species will include: Ravens, Rosebreasted Grosbeaks and more. Instructor: George Ellison.

NEW INSTRUCTOR & NEW COURSE:

Early Settlers – Their Heritage and Dialect

Sat., 5/12/2012, 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM     Fee: $49

Journey back to the days of early cove and hillside settlement with award-winning author and columnist, Sam Venable in a session on mountain ways, traditions and southern Appalachian dialect. This talented speaker and writer will share his view of a past way of life as you sharpen your skills in expressing your perspective of the culture and traditions of the southern highlands. The session will include a woods walk as participants swap their stories and learn from each other. Instructor: Sam Venable.

Bears of the Smokies

Sat., 5/12/2012, 1:00 PM to 8:30 PM            Fee: $49

Learn about the life of black bears in the Smokies. This hands-on course takes participants on a moderate hike into prime black bear habitat where we’ll discover some of the secrets of the success of this shy and often reclusive large mammal–what they eat, how do they survive winter without food while giving birth to cubs, what should you do when you encounter a bear and how do they interact with other mammals. Search for bear signs and find out how our research has begun to unravel the mysteries of this unique and adaptable carnivore. We’ll convene at Tremont for a casual workshop with lots of show and tell items, discussions and pictures. Instructor: Dr. Mike Pelton.

NEW INSTRUCTOR & NEW COURSE:

Bears and Hogs of South Cherokee

Sat., 5/12/2012, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM         Fee: $49

 Learn the biology, life history, management objectives and the challenges of managing black bears and wild hogs on the south Cherokee Wildlife Management Area. We’ll discuss the challenges of a growing population of both bears and hogs and what we need to do to control them. We’ll also take a short hike to explore for signs and possibly see a bear or hog. So come prepared for a full day of fun and information. Instructor: David Whitehead.

Safety in the Backcountry     

Sat., 5/12/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM            Fee: $49

 Each year hundreds of search and rescue operations result from accidents and circumstances that are avoidable. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on exercises you’ll learn the common denominator factors in most backcountry incidents, how to prevent accidents and protect yourself while in the backcountry. You’ll learn how to be properly prepared, what to be aware of, what to avoid and safety around wildlife. We’ll also discuss and demonstrate wilderness survival techniques in order to survive a backcountry emergency. Instructor: Rick Brown.

 The Natural Arches of the Big South Fork Area

Sat., 5/19/2012, 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM           Fee: $49

Explore fascinating geologic features of the North and South Arches in Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and Natural Bridge in Pickett State Park. The Big South Fork area has a truly impressive array of natural arches/bridges within a relatively small area, making it a wonderland of geologic and scenic features. We’ll hike to and explore three large arches in the Big South Fork area. Instructor: Butch McDade.

Exploring Stream Life

Sat., 5/19/2012, 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM         Adult Fee: $35/Child Fee: $25

 Investigate the cool, clear streams of the Smokies. See if you can be the first to find a water penny on the underside of a rock or try your skill at catching fish with a seine. We’ll catch and examine some of the many organisms that live in and around the flowing waters–like salamanders, aquatic insects, crayfish and trout. Come join us in the creek! Instructor: Joyce Coombs.

NEW COURSE:

Wilderness First Aid

 Sat., 5/19/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM         Fee: $49

 Whether you’re hiking, biking, camping, fishing or just generally enjoying the great outdoors, accidents can happen. This class is designed to provide basic first aid procedures to handle many field emergencies. In addition to learning first aid treatment for the most common backcountry emergencies found in wilderness and remote areas, learn leadership skills in how to manage a backcountry emergency incident. These include the initial response emergency scene management and techniques for safely reaching and transporting victims. Instructor: Rick Brown.

NEW COURSE:

Two Night Backpack Loop Adventure

Thur., Fri. & Sat., 5/24/2012-5/26/2012      Fee: $135

 Spend three days backpacking the remote Tremont Valley region while taking in the sights and honing your outdoor skills. This moderate, 23-mile hike makes a loop from the Tremont area and back after total elevation gains of 3,700 feet and descents totaling 2,900 feet and two nights of tent camping in primitive backcountry locations. We’ll prepare our evening meals and exchange hiking stories, then hang our food out of bear’s reach before turning in for a night filled with the sounds of the wilderness. Novices and pros alike are welcome but must be fit for the challenges of nature and terrain in the backcountry. Instructors: Joel and Kathy Zachry.

We are excited to introduce two new instructors to the Smoky Mountain Field School this month:  David Whitehead is a wildlife manager for TWRA and will teach about bears and wild hogs of the South Cherokee Wildlife area.  Also, Bill Landry, well-known host of the Heartland Series, is offering a new course, “Stories, Tales and Adventures.”

Whether your interest is in wildflowers or day hiking, storytelling or bear management, we have a course just for you!

Here’s what’s happening in April:

The Perfect Hike

Sat., 4/14/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM            Fee: $49

If you enjoy seeing waterfalls (there are two on this hike), vistas, old farms, home sites, unique geologic features and spring wildflowers, then this is your kind of hike! Come along with a seasoned backcountry ranger and learn about the natural beauty and splendor of the wilderness. If the weather cooperates, this feature-packed trip will truly be “The Perfect Hike.” Instructor: Ronnie Click is a retired ranger having spent his career as an interpreter, backcountry law enforcement ranger and water quality control specialist. Today he enjoys his passion for educating youth by teaching locally.

Hug a Tree

Sat., 4/14/2012, 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM            Adult Fee: $29 / Child Fee: $19

 Kids are curious; kids get lost. This program is set up to teach children what to do in case they get lost or separated during a family outing. Bring your family and join your instructor for a day of informative safety tips and illustrations for parents and kids on how to enjoy the outdoors safely. Instructor: Joey Holt grew up in the foothills of the Smokies. He has been a lover of the outdoors all his life enjoying activities such as camping and hiking. He serves on the board for the Appalachian Bear Rescue.

Wilderness Wildflowers-Marvels of Spring

Sat., 4/14/2012, 9:0  AM to 5:00 PM             Fee: $49

There is no greater sight to behold than the rainbow of colors from spring’s emerging wildflowers found in the Smokies. Take easy to moderate walks along footpaths bordered with many of these first beauties. We should see varieties of trillium; patches of bluets; carpeted hillsides of fringed phacelia and favorites like little common jug, jack-in-the-pulpit, toothwort, hepatica and several common non-flowering plants. This is an ideal outing for families with attentive youth and a passion for learning. Instructors: Joel and Kathy Zachry have been instructors since 1980 and 1983, respectively. They are husband and wife naturalists and the field school program managers. They are the owners/guides of Great Outdoors! Adventure Travel, completed section-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2005 and co-authored the book, Bears We’ve Met-Short Stories of Close Encounters.

NEW INSTRUCTOR & NEW COURSE:

Stories, Tales and Adventures

Sat., 4/21/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM                        Fee: $49

Bring a sack lunch and join Bill Landry for a day of adventure and learning about our southern Appalachian heritage. Sort out old sayings, stories and tales, in a backcountry setting where nature abounds. We’ll find an old rock wall or cabin porch to sit upon or walk and talk down a quiet path, probably both. Time will be spent exploring the origins of mountain remedies and cures, folkways, travels, people and adventures through the eyes, experiences and stories from the host of the Heartland Series and author of the new Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures. Instructor: Bill Landry, a native of East Tennessee, hosted the award-winning Heartland Series for twenty-five years earning four Emmys for Knoxville’s WBIR television station. Landry serves as the East Tennessee representative on the Tennessee Historical Commission.

Wildflowers and Trees-A Family Affair

Sat., 4/21/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM            Adult Fee: $35 / Child Fee: $25

 Explore the dozens of wildflowers and flowering trees that bring the Smokies to life in the spring. We’ll use hands-on folk-lore, plant uses, pollinators and habitat to give each flower new meaning, and not just a name. We’ll also learn some basics of wildflower and tree identification and discover the diversity within several rich forest types along easy trails. For children of all ages, whatever critter is found will be examined. Instructor: Carey Jones is a former park ranger-naturalist who has led walks in the Smokies for many years. Always the seeker and discoverer, his experience and M.A. help glean truths from nature to share with fellow learners.

Spring Wildflower and Nature Photography

Sat., 4/21/2012, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM            Fee: $65

If you want to develop your technical and visual skills in nature photography, this workshop is for you! We’ll concentrate on the two main subjects of spring photography in the Smokies: wildflowers and landscapes. The principles of composition, perspective, exposure, light and proper use of equipment will be covered during this workshop. Classroom instruction is held during the morning and field instruction during the afternoon. This workshop is applicable to both digital and 35mm SLR formats. Instructor: Kendall Chiles is a freelance nature photographer with more than 25 years of photography experience. His photos have appeared in numerous books, magazines and brochures and he has taught various photography workshops for many years.

 NEW INSTRUCTOR & NEW COURSE:

Bears and Hogs of South Cherokee

Sat., 4/21/2012, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM          Fee: $49

Learn the biology, life history, management objectives and the challenges of managing black bears and wild hogs on the south Cherokee Wildlife Management Area. We’ll discuss the challenges of a growing population of both bears and hogs and what we need to do to control them. We’ll also take a short hike to explore for signs and possibly see a bear or hog. So come prepared for a full day of fun and information. Instructor: David Whitehead has a B.S. in wildlife and fisheries science at the University of Tennessee. He is a wildlife manager for Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and manages the Tellico Lake and the south Cherokee Wildlife Management areas in Monroe County.

KidsU at the University of Tennessee is proud to over 10 new programs to get kids having fun and learning this summer. Camp Creativity is just a start to the exciting new camps available. Whether your children are interested cooking, writing, science, history, a future career, or more – KidsU may have a never before offered camp just for them.

Creativity:

World Music & Drumming  (Grades 4-6, rising) 

Playing with Poetry (Grades 7-9, rising)

Fun with Fiction ( Grades 7-9, rising)

Crazy Confections! Birthday/Specialty/Wedding Cakes (Grades 7-9, rising) & (Grades 10-12, rising) 

Jr. BBQ Pitmaster (Grades 7 & up) – Saturday class

 

Careers:

So You Want to be a Lawyer? (Grades 10-12, rising)

Discovery:

Don’t Bully Me (Grades 3-5, rising) & (Grades 6-8, rising)

Great Greeks & Ruling Romans (Grades 9-12, rising)

Modern Manners for Children (Grades K-2, rising)

Low Ropes, are “U” up to the Challenge? (Grades 7-12, rising)

 

Nature:

Plants (and Ants) on a Phone (Grades 7-9, rising)

 

 

Spring is a great time to visit the Great Smoky Mountains. And there is nothing better to enjoy in the spring than the myriads of wildflowers to bloom for only a short time. Even though spring has sprung early this year, don’t miss out the Smoky Mountain Field School’s upcoming wildflower-centric classes.

 

Wilderness Wildflowers-Marvels of Spring – April 14, 2012

There is no greater sight to behold than the rainbow of colors from spring’s emerging wildflowers found in the Smokies. Learn in a small group setting, some of the most common species that define many of the park’s slopes. Then take easy to moderate walks along footpaths bordered with many of these first beauties.

 

Spring Wildflower and Nature Photography – April 21

If you want to develop your technical and visual skills in nature photography, this workshop is for you! We’ll concentrate on the two main subjects of spring photography in the Smokies: wildflowers and landscapes. The principles of composition, perspective, exposure, light and proper use of equipment will be covered during this workshop.

 

Wildflowers and Trees-A Family Affair – April 21

Explore the dozens of wildflowers and flowering trees that bring the Smokies to life in the spring. We’ll use hands-on folk-lore, plant uses, pollinators and habitat to give each flower new meaning, and not just a name. We’ll also learn some basics of wildflower and tree identification and discover the diversity within several rich forest types along easy trails. For children of all ages, whatever critter is found will be examined.

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