The 35th year of the Smoky Mountain Field School is beginning a brand new year, full of new courses and new instructors from which to choose.   There is sure to be one of interest to you!  Register early as spaces are limited.


Here’s what’s happening in March:


Introduction to Orienteering

Sat., 3/10/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM                        Fee: $49

In the simplest terms, orienteering is the process of using a map and compass to travel from one place to another. Traditionally, orienteering has been associated with competitive events where participants race cross country with map and compass to find targets in the shortest period of time. Through lectures, classroom activities and field exercises, you’ll learn the fundamental skills of both competitive and wilderness orienteering. Instructor: Neal Buckingham

Advanced Wilderness Orienteering

Sun., 3/11/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM           Fee: $49

Prerequisite: Introduction to Orienteering

If you have some outdoor and/or orienteering experience, here’s a chance to get in-depth instruction on using a map and compass to navigate in remote areas. Lectures and classroom exercises will emphasize the advanced aspects of map reading, using an orienteering compass, declination, route projection and improvisation. Practical field exercises will enable you to learn first-hand how to navigate from one point to another in the wilderness. Instructor: Neal Buckingham


Hiking – Just Getting Started

Sat., 3/17/2012, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM            Fee: $49

 Learn about clothing and equipment a person just getting started would need to carry with them while hiking. The instructor will also cover how to plan a trip and then you’ll hike to see some of the wonders that lie ahead with proper planning and research of any hike. This instructor brings youth, experience and enthusiasm to make for an exciting day! Instructor: Joey Holt


Animal Tracking and Nature Observation

Sun., 3/25/2012, 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM       Fee: $49

Tracking is an ancient, survival skill but it can open up a whole new world. Tracking is a focus that enables us to be so much more aware, to experience and see much more on the natural landscape. We don’t need to see the animals to tell that they were there, what they were doing and when they might come back. We’ll learn their stories from the traces they have left behind. Slow down, look closer and accept the challenge of tracking in the Smokies. You may be surprised by what you find! Instructor: Wanda DeWaard


Polliwogs, Eggs and Singing Frogs

Sat., 3/31/2012, 1:00 PM to 6:30 PM    Adult Fee: $35/Child Fee: $25

Visit various ponds in Cades Cove and help find spotted salamander and wood frog eggs and tadpoles. Weather and frogs permitting, we’ll hear choruses of singing frogs. If we are fortunate and have quick hands, we’ll catch and get a close-up look at three stages of amphibian development–eggs, larvae and adults. We’ll discuss amphibian biology, ecology and research throughout the afternoon. Instructor: Liz Domingue