That’s what the Field School is all about. Below is a list of our September courses.  Whether your interest is elk or butterflies, maps and compass, or Cherokees or dayhiking, we have a course just for you!

Here’s what’s happening in September:

Bringing Them Back to the Smokies: Elk, Otters, Falcons and Wolves   – **NEW INSTRUCTOR**
Sat., 9/10/2011, Noon to 8:00 PM               Fee: $49

Learn about the successes and failures of wildlife restoration programs in the Smokies. Are there any wolves in the Smokies? Where can I see a peregrine falcon? Where do otters live? How did elk get here? Come, see, and hear bull elk bugling, sparing, and working to protect their harems. What happens if elk leave the Park? How do we capture and monitor elk? Learn about radio telemetry tracking techniques and capturing newborn calves. Learn the specifics on how elk have been managed since their release in 2000.

Introduction to Map and Compass 
Sat., 9/17/2011, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM      Fee: $49

This course includes an introduction to the use of a forester’s compass and a basic understanding of reading a topographical map as used by land managing agencies for control and management of emergency incidents. This will be done through lecture, classroom activity, and outdoor exercise.

Advanced Use of Map and Compass
Sun., 9/18/2011, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM          Fee: $49

This course will be an in-depth instruction of map and compass skills by incorporating the use of the forester’s compass and the 7.5 topographical map series of the U.S.G.S. to conduct a simulator multiagency search and rescue exercise in basically a “table-top” format. The team approach will be used. Prerequisite: Introduction to Map and Compass.

A Smoky Mountain Day Hike 
Sun., 9/18/2011 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM           Fee: $49

Take a walk in the woods that will highlight many of the delightful aspects of these diverse mountains. In a moderate, 7-mile hike, we’ll have views, see big trees, encounter bear signs, rock hop a stream, witness old homesteads, and meander through quiet coves. There is some uphill climbing at first, but most of this hike is gentle and easy with views and a variety of plants that make the effort all worth it.

A Day with a Naturalist
Sat., 9/24/2011, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM           Fee: $49

Spend a day with an experienced field naturalist exploring the natural heritage of the Great Smokies. Learn about the geologic origins of the Appalachians and the Smokies’ exact place in the Blue Ridge Province. Visit various habitats like cove and northern hardwood forests, identifying distinctive birds, trees, wildflowers, and ferns associated with each. Discuss Park Service attempts to contain the adelgid that infests Fraser fir and other threats like the European wild boar and various “exotic” plants.  Walk along the moderate Kephart Prong Trail.  Then view the natural world of the Smokies with new eyes.

Elk in the Smokies 
Sat., 9/24/2011, 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM            Fee: $49

Come and learn about the experimental elk release in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Elk have been extinct in North Carolina and Tennessee for approximately 150 years, but they roam again now in the valleys of Cataloochee in Western North Carolina. We’ll view elk and their behaviors during the mating season, hear bugling, and learn how researchers track and monitor elk in the Smokies.

Ancient Mountaineers: Cherokees of the Southern Appalachians
Sat., 9/24/2011, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM           Fee: $49

The southern Appalachians have been inhabited by human beings for more than 12,000 years. Learn about the archaeological record of these mountains and the cultural history of the peoples who have inhabited them. Morning classroom instruction will focus on archaeology and the material culture of this region, culminating with a discussion of historic and contemporary Cherokee life in these mountains. Themes will include subsistence, settlement, and indigenous adaptation to sustained European presence. Take an afternoon excursion to several North Carolina sites where some of the archaeological investigations of the region will be detailed.

Butterflies and Flutterbies
Sun., 9/25/2011, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM          Fee: $49

Spend a delightful day out in a field in Cades Cove. This is a wonderful time of year to explore this interesting, diverse habitat and for identifying butterflies. We’ll learn about the signs left by animals, the flowers that are currently blooming, the changes taking place during the fall season while also learning about the various butterfly families and their natural history. Identify all butterfly species in order to contribute to the park’s ongoing inventory and monitoring efforts. Overall, it will be a great way to experience the Cove in a hands-on and personal way.