From Maryville College to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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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.

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Dr. Drew Crain points out some of the different species in the Maryville 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.

The Orchard at Maryville College

The Orchard at Maryville College

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.

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Box turtle in the College Woods

Making spore prints of mushrooms

Making spore prints of mushrooms

Measuring water quality in the College Woods

Measuring water quality in the College Woods

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.

Students arrive at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Students arrive at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Maryville College staffers and faculty at the Park entrance

Maryville College staffers Eric Kearney and Mia Sundstrom sitting on the wall; faculty members Mark O’Gorman and Doug Sofer at the Park entrance

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Crossing the bridge to the Great Smokies Institute at Tremont

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.

Low country salamander inventory

Low country salamander inventory

One of the many salamanders we met in one of the streams near Tremont

One of the many salamanders we met in one of the streams near Tremont

Waterfall hike on Day 6

Waterfall hike on Day 6.  The students painted their faces by grinding colorful rocks from the stream.

Getting instructions on the high country salamander survey

Getting instructions on the high country salamander survey

To be continued

Sometimes it was hard to tell who was surveying whom

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One Response to From Maryville College to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  1. John DiDiego says:

    This is a tremendous photo! Staring diversity in the face!

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