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Adult Field Course – Salamanders: Why Grandfather Mountain is a Hotspot for Biodiversity

August 20th, 2022 @10:00 am - 4:00 pm

$51.00 – $60.00
Salamanders on Grandfather Mountain

During this Adult Field Course, receive an overview of salamander diversity in the southern Appalachians with a particular focus of species at Grandfather Mountain. Due to the unique ecological zones at Grandfather Mountain, there is an amazing diversity of salamanders and is home to the type locality of two endemic species (Plethodon welleri and Desmognathus marmoratus). Participants are encouraged to bring questions regarding amphibians to discuss. Participants also take part in a salamander survey on Grandfather to understand how diversity is assessed in the field. Participants will also gain experience in field identification of the local salamander communities.

The southern Appalachians are a biodiversity hotspot for many organisms (e.g., lichens, wildflowers, land snails, salamanders, etc.). One such diverse group is lungless salamanders of the family Plethodontidae with over 67 species found in the southern Appalachians. Recent research suggests that many Plethodon salamanders are limited to higher elevations due to climatic factors and cannot disperse across unhospitable lowland habitats. Therefore, baseline data on salamander populations is needed to assess conservation status and deployment of management strategies.

Instructor Jon Davenport is an assistant professor of Biology at Appalachian State University in Boone. Jon grew up in Sevierville, TN, the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where he developed his passion for the outdoors. Jon’s research focuses on the ecology and management of amphibians and reptiles. He has published peer-reviewed papers on those topics and works closely with state agencies and non-profits to promote conservation.

Program Itinerary | Salamanders: Why Grandfather Mountain is a Hotspot for Biodiversity
10:00 a.m.: Meet at the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery and Introductions
10:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: Lecture in the classroom
12:00 p.m.-12:30 p.m.: Lunch Break (bring your own or can be purchased at Mildred’s Grill
12:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.: Outdoor discover and salamander survey
3:15 p.m.-4:00 p.m.: Questions and wrap up

What to Bring?
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. We recommend bringing a daypack with enough room to carry extra clothing, water, lunch, camera, etc. Plus, a water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen and hiking boots.

This Adult Field Course costs $60 for general admission and $51 for members of Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club. Attendance is limited to 20 participants. Registration opens here June 24. Purchase tickets below. Your program cost includes admission into the park, field instruction, and transportation during your program. It does not include meals or lodging. Bringing a bagged lunch is recommended for most field courses. 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. Limited to 15 participants.

The majority of Grandfather Mountain events generally sell out and have a waiting list. If you cannot attend the event that you registered for please let us know. Full refunds will be given to individuals who reach out to us at least five days before the event. This allows time for individuals on the waiting list to make accommodations to attend the event. To cancel your registration please call 828-733-2013 Monday-Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We ask that individuals who are feeling ill stay home to ensure the health and safety of other participants and Grandfather Mountain staff. Refunds will be granted to these individuals.

About Adult Field Courses
Grandfather Mountain’s Adult Field Courses offer participants the chance to explore the mountain like never before. Students examine specific aspects of the park ecosystem through fun, hands-on field excursions. Course leaders are experts in their fields and include professors, naturalists, scientists and acclaimed photographers, writers, historians and artists.

Since 2008, the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation has aimed at creating educational programming that deepens understanding through in-depth study and field research. Our goal is to provide you with a rich experience in a particular field of study, and to also provide a safe and memorable trip to Grandfather Mountain.


August 20th, 2022
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
$51.00 – $60.00
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Grandfather Mountain
2050 Blowing Rock Highway
Linville, NC 28646 United States
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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