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Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00

Outdoors roundup

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Celebrate Earth Day and plant a tree

Pay homage to Earth Day with a drop-in celebration 9 a.m. to noon Friday, April 29, at the Swain County Cooperative Extension Center at the old Almond School. 

Educational opportunities, refreshments and free Norway spruce seedlings will mark the morning. 



Fireflies, resorts and mountain life

Learn what’s unique about the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with the one-hour program “Epic Elkmont” at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Waynesville Public Library. 

Elkmont is prime habitat for synchronous fireflies, insects that present an amazing light show during their mating season each summer, but it’s also rich in human history. Naturalist, photographer and educator Wilma Durpo will give the talk, expounding on the logging industry that was once based there, the history of the resort cottages that remain from a bygone area, stories of the area’s first settlers and, of course, the fireflies. 

Kathy Olsen, 828.356.2507 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Walk on the wild(flower) side

A wildflower walk through Panthertown Valley on Friday, April 29, will be the second installment in the Mountain Classroom series offered through Western Carolina University’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education. 

Horticulturist Adam Bigelow will lead the 5-plus-mile walk through Panthertown, a 6,300-acre recreation area in the Nanthala National Forest, boasting granite domes, rare Southern Appalachian bog communities and an abundance of spring wildflowers. 

$69, with transportation and lunch included. 828.227.7397.


Buy your ticket to fresh summer produce

CSA sign-ups are underway for the Blue Ridge Farmers co-op, based in Cashiers. 

Members of the Community-Supported Agriculture program receive a basket of fresh, organic, heirloom, non-GMO produce throughout the 18-week season stretching from June to October. Pick-up is Wednesday afternoons at United Community Church in Cashiers, with delivery options also available. 

Prices range from $220 to $600, depending on the length of membership and size of basket purchased. Mail checks, payable to Blue Ridge Farmers Co-op, to 4631 Big Ridge Road, Glenville, N.C., 28736. 828.226.9988 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 


Canine distemper found in Haywood

A heightened number of canine distemper cases has been found in Haywood County this spring, leading the county’s Animal Services and Health & Human Services agencies to ask residents to ensure pets are vaccinated and be careful about their contact with other animals. 

In March, three raccoons — in Clyde, Ironduff and Waynesville — a fox in Maggie Valley and a dog on Rabbit Skin Road tested positive for the virus. Canine distemper is highly contagious, causing wild animals to appear tame, confused and disoriented. These symptoms typically show in the later stages of the illness. There is no cure, and while the disease is often fatal, animals that survive usually suffer irreversible neurological damage.

All dogs are at risk, but puppies younger than four months and dogs that have not been vaccinated against canine distemper are at increased risk. Use caution when socializing puppies or unvaccinated dogs in places where groups of dogs gather. 

Avoid contact and report any unusual behavior witnessed in a wild animal such as a raccoon, skunk, coyote or fox, to Haywood County Animal Services, 828.456.5338.


Fossils and minerals program in Franklin

The past will come to life with a program on fossils and paleontology, 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28, at the Macon County Library in Franklin. 

Paleontologist Richard Hightower will lead the presentation as part of the library’s Science Club, showing specimens of fossils and minerals while explaining how they were formed. Hightower and his wife, also a paleontologist, have also donated a fossil to the library. 



Become a weather vigilante 

A grassroots effort to get a better handle on weather patterns in North Carolina is looking for volunteer weather monitors. 

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network — or CoCoRaHS — began in Colorado in 1998 and has existed in North Carolina since 2007. Through CoCoRaHS, thousands of volunteers, young and old, document the size, intensity, duration and patterns of rain, hail, and snow by taking simple measurements in their own backyards.

The more volunteers participate, the better rain, hail and snow maps can be produced. Recently, drought reporting has become another important facet of the organization’s work, with COCoRaHS data now included in the National Integrated Drought Information System.

Volunteering is simple. Visit and click on the “Join CoCoRaHS” emblem. After registering, take the simple online training, order a 4-inch rain gauge and start reporting. Official rain gauges are available on the website for $30 plus shipping. 


Prepare to survive no matter what 

Grasp the tools needed to survive no matter the circumstances with Heritage Life Skills, a collection of classes in everything from blacksmithing to bread making offered April 29 to May 1 at the Haywood County Fair Grounds.

The three-day event is packed full of classes, including some new offerings like land navigation, pallet-building and community patrolling. Participants can learn outdoor skills like building emergency shelters and tanning hides as well as homesteading skills such as emergency childbirth, food preservation and beekeeping. Prepper-specific skills such as community patrolling — including a field exercise — global intelligence and basic family prepping are also offered. 

Cost is $100 for adults, with single-day admission and student admission available for $50. Organized by Carolina Readiness Supply. 



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