Prehistoric plate tectonics gives rise to Smokies’ diversity

Dr. Dan Pittillo will explore the natural history of the southern Appalachians at 7 p.m. on Aug. 2 at the Highlands Nature Center as part of the Zahner Conservation Lecture series.

In a geological discussion, Pittillo will go back to the theory of plate tectonics and consider how mountain building took place here in the southern Appalachians. Did we have peaks pushed up to 15,000 to 20,000 feet or might it have been less dramatic? He will use case studies in the Flat Laurel Gap at Pisgah, Craggy Gardens, and Panthertown Valley to get clues of how these processes have been contributing to our very biodiversity.

Dr. Andrew Methven will discuss “Highlands Fungi: The good, the bad, and the deadly” at the next lecture, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 9.

The southern Appalachian Mountains are world-renowned for an incredibly rich diversity of fleshy fungi, especially mushrooms.  This lecture will introduce participants to some of the common and unusual fungi that can be encountered on a walk through the woods in the vicinity of Highlands. Attendees are encouraged to bring mushrooms for identification before or after the lecture! 

All Zahner lectures take place at the Highlands Nature Center. or call 828.526.2221.

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