Escape the summer heat to a cool mountain retreat and learn something new while there.  There are many courses offered in July from which to choose.  Find one that interests you below.

Here’s what’s happening in July:


Photography for Naturalists

Sat., 7/9/2011, 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. We’ll explore basic techniques and skills of photography for naturalists and how to use these skills to showcase your specific natural topics. We’ll begin in the classroom. Bring your camera – you’ll be out in the field as well! Instructor: Elizabeth Domingue.


Edible and Poisonous Fungi of the Smokies

Sat., 7/9/2011, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM      Fee: $49

The Smoky Mountains are world-renowned for mushrooms and home to more than 2,000 species. We’ll take short hikes in the Park to observe and learn about the many kinds of mushrooms and how to identify them by size, shape, and color. Through these field explorations, we’ll learn about the ecology and habitats for mushrooms, toxicology, and the association between fungi and tree roots. Instructor: Coleman McCleneghan, Ph.D.


Intermediate Photography for Naturalists

Sun., 7/10/2011, 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM      Fee: $49

This intermediate course focuses on refining your basic photography skills as a naturalist. Experience this more in-depth look at improving your skills of observation and enhancing your abilities as a naturalist through the use of photography. Most of our time will be spent in the field applying your skills and improving upon your ability to capture natural images through the lens. Bring a 35mm camera (film or digital), tripod, and your favorite lenses. Prerequisite: Photography for Naturalists or equivalent experience. Instructor: Elizabeth Domingue M.S.


Rare Mountain Bogs of Upper East Tennessee

Sat., 7/16/2011, 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM       Fee: $49

This course will focus 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. Sites we plan to visit include Osborne Bog and John’s Bog on the Cherokee National Forest as well as The Nature Conservancy’s Orchard Bog and Schoolyard Springs Preserves  Numerous rare plants will be seen. Instructor: Jamey Donaldson.

Amphibians and Reptiles of the Smokies

Sat., 7/16/2011, 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM      Adult Fee: $35/Child Fee: $25

Have fun wading in streams and gently turning rocks and logs in search of woodland and aquatic salamanders. With some luck, enthusiasm, and quick hands, many frogs, turtles, lizards, and snakes will be discovered. The program will begin with slides and a short introduction to the reptiles and amphibians of the Smokies, but mostly we’ll be exploring in the woods and observing amphibians and reptiles in their natural habitats. Kids young and old are encouraged to attend. Instructors: Matthew Niemiller and Graham Reynolds


Sensational Salamanders

Sat., 7/16/2011, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM      Adult Fee: $35/Child Fee: $25

Salamanders will captivate the interest of your children as we search high and low to get close-up looks at many different kinds. We’ll learn about where they live, what they eat, who eats them, and lots more. After our 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 M.S.


Mosses and Liverworts of the Smokies

Sat., 7/23/2011, 9:00 AM to 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 10X hand lens and microscope. Learn how to identify these intriguing non-flowering plants and about their niche in the natural environment. 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.  Instructor: Kenneth McFarland, Ph.D.


Sat., 7/30/2011, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM      Adult Fee: $29/Child Fee: $19

Come listen and learn stories at the historic Walker Sister’s Cabin and the Little Greenbrier School House. Charles Maynard, author and storyteller will tell Smoky Mountain tales and teach some basic elements of storytelling. The walk is 2.5 miles round-trip with stories every step of the way.


For more information, also check out the recent article in the Knoxville News-Sentinel: Green classrooms: Great Smokies provide setting for diverse Field School programs