At Grandfather Mountain, education is literally a top priority.
After all, when your classroom is a mile high, the sky is the limit. Even for grown-ups.
The Linville, N.C.-based nature park is bringing its Adult Field Courses series back for 2019, offering participants the chance to explore Grandfather Mountain like never before.
“These courses allow students to examine speciﬁc aspects of the park ecosystem through fun ﬁeld excursions,” said Amy Renfranz, director of education for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the park. “Our course leaders are experts in their ﬁelds and include professors, naturalists, scientists and acclaimed photographers, writers, historians and artists.”
The series runs from May through September, with topics including birding, trails, geology, fungi, spiders and more.
Courses cost $60 per person (or $20 for members of Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club membership program), with registration required in advance at www.grandfather.com.
Most courses run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., unless otherwise stated, and participants are asked to bring their own lunch to be eaten in the field.
The Joy of Spring Birding – May 4
May is an exciting month for birding in the High Country. Songbirds are arriving every day from as far away as South America, flying at night so they can use daylight hours to feed and rest. Join High Country Audubon’s Steve Dowlan to delight in the joy of spring birding. To register, click here.
Sketching Spring Ephemerals – May 18
Designed for enthusiasts with little to no artistic training, this foundation course focuses on creating accurate and artistic botanical illustrations. Led by Preston Montague, Carolina Naturalist, participants will learn basic observation and drawing techniques with pen and pencil and will use colored pencils to apply vibrant color. To register, click here.
Rocky Top: The Art of Grandfather’s Trail System – June 15
Known as one of the most rugged mountains in the southeastern United States, Grandfather Mountain’s trails share the same status. Led by John Caveny, Grandfather Mountain’s natural resource management specialist, this course will provide participants with an in-depth look at how to sustainably maintain hiking trails, as well as discover the history of the mountain’s trail system. To register, click here.
Investigating High Elevation Pollinators – June 26
We all know that rare plants grow atop Grandfather Mountain, but just who pollinates them? Join N.C. State University’s Dr. Clyde Sorenson to investigate the landscape with a special eye for bees, beetles, wasps and butterflies. To register, click here.
Exploring Grandfather Mountain’s Geologic Window – July 12
There are more than 300 million years of history written into Grandfather Mountain’s rocks. Join Appalachian State University’s Dr. Anthony Love to learn to decipher the stone, and discover a world so complex and amazing that it will change your perspective of the Appalachian Mountains forever. To register, click here.
Fungi of the Cloudland Forest – Aug. 10
The Southern Appalachians are world-renowned for different types of fungi, from mushrooms to lichens, and are home to more than 2,000 species. Join mycologist Dr. Coleman McCleneghan for a chance to observe many kinds of fungi at higher elevations and learn how to identify them by size, shape and color. To register, click here.
Spiders: Identification, Diversity, Ecology & Biology – Aug. 24
Participants will be introduced to the biology of spiders, with an emphasis on the ecological roles of spiders, their incredible diversity and techniques to identify specimens to species level. Excursions will provide the opportunity for hands-on exploration of spider diversity and behavior. To register, visit https://grandfather.com/events/spiders-identification-diversity-ecology-biology/.
Fall Color Sketchbook – Sept. 28
Designed for enthusiasts with little to no artistic training, this foundation course focuses on creating accurate and artistic botanical illustrations. Guided by artist and Carolina Naturalist Preston Montague, participants will learn basic observation and drawing techniques with pen and pencil and will use colored pencils to apply vibrant color. To register, click here.
For more information, call 828-733-2013. To learn more about the Bridge Club membership program, click here.
The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325.