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! 



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.