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Field Course: Forest Insects Are for the Birds: The Caterpillars Count! Monitoring Program

June 15, 2024 @10:00 am - 4:00 pm

$51.00 – $60.00

Join Dr. Allen Hurlbert from UNC-Chapel Hill as we learn about the important role that insects play in forest ecosystems, as herbivores and as a critical food source for migratory birds. You will learn how to identify the most common groups of forest insects, how to conduct simple insect surveys and you will participate in the insect monitoring being done at Grandfather Mountain along a nearly 1,000-foot elevational gradient from the park entrance to the summit. We will discuss evidence for insect declines and the impacts of global change, and you will learn how to contribute to the Caterpillars Count! citizen-science project and share critical data from your own yard or local park.

Allen Hurlbert is a Professor of Biology and the Director of Graduate Studies for the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. His research seeks to understand the drivers of large-scale patterns of organismal diversity and distribution and how those patterns are being impacted by global change. His work often makes use of large citizen-science observations such as eBird and iNaturalist, and Hurlbert is the founder of the foliage arthropod monitoring project Caterpillars Count!, which has been implemented in over 30 states and provinces across North America.

Program Itinerary
10:00 – 10:15 – Meet at the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery and Introductions
10:15 – 11:00 – Why Monitor Forest Insects?
11:00 – 11:30 – Identifying Common Forest Insects
11:30 – 12:30 – How to Monitor Forest Insects (Training and Survey Circles 5-6)
12:30 – 1:00 – Lunch at Wilson Center
1:00 – 2:30 – Monitoring Grandfather Mountain (Group 1: Circles 1-4, Group 2: Circles 7-10)
2:30 – 3:30 – Lessons learned from Caterpillars Count!
3:30 – 4:00 – Wrap up/Q&A/Evaluations

What’s included?
Your program cost includes admission into the park, field instruction and transportation during your program (you may drive your own vehicle to visit sites on the mountain if you would prefer). It does not include meals or lodging. Bringing a bagged lunch is recommended for most field courses, although Mildred’s Grill will be open to attendees. Tips are not accepted for field courses. However, donations to the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation are accepted if you would like to recognize a program.

This event costs $60 for general admission and $51 for members of Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club – plus tax. Registration opens below on April 30, 2024, at 10 a.m. Limited to 20 participants.

General Clothing List
Much of your time will be spent outdoors and all programs are held rain, snow or shine. You should be prepared for a variety of mountain weather conditions and temperatures. Appropriate clothing, equipment and footwear are very important.


  • Daypack with enough room to carry extra clothing, water, lunch, camera, etc.
  • Water Bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hiking boots

Equipment Specific to this Course:

  • Note pad and writing utensil
  • Long pants and preferably long-sleeved shirts are strongly encouraged as we will be walking through the woods.
  • Sturdy hiking boots or closed-toed shoes are required
  • (Optional) Caterpillars Count! mobile app (available for iOS and Android)
  • Other data gathering instruments will be provided

Adult Field Courses generally sell out and have a waiting list associated with the event. If you cannot attend the field course that you are registered for, a full refund will be granted within a five-day notice of the day of the field course. This allows time for individuals on the waiting list to make accommodations to attend the event. We ask that individuals who are sick with any illness to stay home to ensure the health and safety of other participants, our staff and the field course instructors – refunds will be granted to these individuals.


June 15, 2024
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
$51.00 – $60.00
Event Category:


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Forest Insects General
$ 60.00
17 available
Forest Insects Bridge Club
$ 51.00
17 available

Grandfather Mountain | Home to the Swinging Bridge, Animal Habitats and Nature Museum

GPS: 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646
Mailing: PO Box 129, Linville, NC 28646

Owned & operated by Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.
Go here for Grandfather Mountain State Park information.
Member of Southern Highlands Attractions