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Outdoors roundup

See space through a telescope

Check out the night sky with the Western Carolina University Department of Chemistry and Physics during a telescope viewing party 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 16, at the Jackson County Airport in Cullowhee. 

The viewing is part of the 2021 North Carolina Science Festival’s Statewide Star Party, and WCU astronomy faculty will have telescopes on hand to show the Moon, Mars, star clusters and galaxies. Viewers will learn how to identify spring contellations, and children will have the chance to participate in activities around the theme “Moon and Mars.” The event is supported by the N.C. Space Grant.

In case of bad weather or overcast skies, the viewing will be postponed to Saturday, April 17, at the same time and location. For more information, including COVID-19 protocols, visit or contact Enrique Gomez at 828.227.2719.


Pitch in at the Pisgah Center

Volunteers are wanted for various roles at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education near Brevard this spring, with many positions open to people of all ages and requiring little experience. 

Positions include:

  • Fishing mentors who help guide and instruct fishing program participants. 
  • Front desk greeters who answer phones, greet visitors and answer basic questions. 
  • Facilities maintainers who work on garden, building and lawn maintenance tasks. 
  • Gardeners who help with activities in the native plant, wildlife and pollinator gardens.
  • Raceway monitors who answer visitor questions about trout in hatchery raceways. 

Volunteer hours are flexible and fall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sign up with Lee Sherrill at 828.877.4423 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 


TVA campgrounds open for spring

Seasonal campgrounds operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority are open for the season, which runs March 15 through Nov. 15. 

The campgrounds are all located in Tennessee and associated with dam areas. They include Douglas Dam Headwater and Douglas Dam Tailwater near Sevierville; Watauga Dam near Elizabethton, Cherokee Dam near Jefferson, Melton Hill Dam near Lenior City and Pickwick Dam near Savannah. 

Recreation Resource Management LLC manages the campgrounds. Details and reservations are available at


Explore Smokies wildflowers

Go on a virtual wildflower hike with Olympian Missy Kane during an upcoming series on Wednesdays in April. 

Each Wednesday, Missy and Friends of the Smokies will be out on the trail exercising, enjoying the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and learning about the history, wildlife and nature found there, with a special focus on wildflowers. 

Registration is full for the limited in-person attendance option, but the virtual option is still available. All participants will receive hike swag, including wildflower-themed items and the opportunity to meet Kane. 

Learn more at


Help replace old trail signs

Volunteers with Partners of Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness are raising money to replace mislabeled, missing and aging signs in the Snowbird area of the Nantahala National Forest, with a GoFundMe campaign now underway.

“Limited resources for unnecessary rescues and an increase in hikers seeking safe places to recreate mean that it’s past time to knock this chore off of our to-do list,” reads a summary of the need on the campaign page. 

The signs are expected to cost about $1,600. To donate, visit


Register for Discovery Camp

Discovery Camp at the N.C. Arboretum in Asheville will look and feel a little different this year, but it will nevertheless be a good time with registration now open. 

Camps will be offered weekly from Jun 7 through July 2 and July 19 through Aug. 13. They’re open to rising second through seventh graders, who will spend the week exploring the great outdoors in the 434-acre Arboretum campus. 

Learn more or sign up at

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