One one hand, it seems like the passage of time has slowed to a crawl at times; we’re doing so much each day it’s hard to keep track of everything. On the other hand, it’s hard to get my head around the fact that the pilot year of the Great Smokies Experience is already two thirds through. Even trying to remember back to everything we did on the day before heading to the Park is getting difficult at this point. In short, I’m glad I took a lot of pictures and I have this blog available so I can try to remember what we’ve been up to lately.
Day 4: Forests and The Maryville College Woods
Among the highlights of Day 4, Dr. Drew Crain, Professor of Biology at Maryville College, took students on an interpretive hike through the College Woods.
We also got to look at the fruit tree orchard which Dr. Crain helped to establish on the fringes of the College Woods.
Students learned a good deal about ecology and the challenges to maintaining and managing a woodland property. We also got to meet a box turtle, we took some spore prints of some fungi (a bolete and a coral fungus), and used some state-of-the-art water quality analysis hardware to examine water quality in the creek.
Day 5: Welcome to the Park, Learning to See
In many ways, this week at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the keystone of the entire Great Smokies Experience and students were extremely excited to get to the park.
In the Park, we went to the Great Smokies Institute at Tremont where we met with John DiDiego, Director of Education and Interim Director. He helped settle everyone in and introduced them to Tremont’s policies and procedures.
Days 6 & 7: Salamanders and a world-renowned diversity of species
The next two days were spent visiting different kinds of forests at different altitudes in the Park. Here is just a sampling of the kinds of things we got to see.