Last Days at the Park, 2013

The final five days of our program’s pilot year were both enriching and fun.  Students visited Cades Cove and nearby historic sites, prepared and delivered top-notch presentations about what it means to have a sense of place.  There was a long hike in the rain, and said goodbye to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  We visited the Smoky Mountain Heritage Center and learned about how different peoples made their livings in the Smokies.  We kayaked down a flatwater section of the Ocoee River and heard about how the Tennessee Valley Authority manages its dams.  The academic part of the program culminated with a two-hour final examination, after which we unwound at a cool restaurant down the street from the college and reflected on what we’d gotten out of our time here.

Last Days at Tremont, Days 9 through 11

John DiDiego, Director of Education at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, talks to students about Cades Cove

John DiDiego, Director of Education at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, talks to students about Cades Cove

This class is about humans’ role within the complex, interconnected web of natural relationships that make up our environment.  Cades Cove’s history tells us a great deal about how different peoples supported themselves through their connections to the land.

Students walking in front of one of the buildings at Elijah Oliver’s 19th century homestead at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Elijah Oliver's House

Elijah Oliver’s House

Spring house on the Elijah Oliver homestead.  This old-school refrigerator uses spring water to preserve foods for storage

The spring house on the Elijah Oliver homestead. This ‘refrigerator’ uses spring water to preserve foods for storage.

A day-long hike in the rain that included a significant solo-hiking component.  Some of the students said that they found this activity especially profound.

A day-long hike in the rain that included a significant solo-hiking component. Some of the students said that they found this activity especially profound.

On the morning of our final day in the Park, John helped students mull over what they’d gotten out of their experiences living, studying and playing around Tremont.  Tremont’s core objectives include encouraging a love of the natural environment in the Smokies and fostering a sense of stewardship of nature.

Contemplating our time at the Tremont and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Contemplating our time at the Tremont and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tremont practices what it preaches when it comes to environmental stewardship.  The measurement of food waste in the cafeteria is just one way it lives this commitment.

Tremont practices what it preaches when it comes to environmental stewardship. The measurement of food waste in the cafeteria is just one way it lives this commitment.

 

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