Archived Outdoors

Get schooled in the Smokies

Catch a doubleheader in mountain education with a pair of programs offered through the University of Tennessee Smoky Mountain Field School Saturday, Aug. 19.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., “Plant Diversity of the Smokies” will teach participants how to identify trees, shrubs and wildflowers, meeting at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The class will explore different forest types to discover the diversity of flora for which the Smokies is famous and discuss elevation impacts, plant ecology, natives versus non-natives and the future of our trees. Participants should come prepared for a short hike.

From 2:30-7:30 p.m., naturalist Esther Blakely will give a guided tour to Cataloochee Valley during “Historic Cataloochee Valley, Smoky Mountain Elk and More.” After meeting at Lake Junaluska, the group will travel back in time to one of the most beautiful and remote parts of the park. The day will be spent exploring the rich natural and cultural history of the early settlers to the valley and the formation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with an emphasis on the elk reintroduction.

Registration for either program is $69, and participants must be 18 or older. Register or view the entire Smoky Mountain Field School schedule at

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