GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK (June 2014) – From the park’s famous black bears to humble snails, from slimy stream algae to the majestic poplar trees, Discover Life in America will celebrate all life forms that call Great Smoky Mountains National Park home June 19-21.
Activities include short, family friendly hikes, lively presentations, hands-on workshops and presentations by field scientists and naturalists eager to share their knowledge of the truly amazing diversity of life forms in the Smokies.
The three-day event is free and open to the public. Participants of all ages should arrive by 10 a.m. at Twin Creeks Science Center at 1316 Cherokee Orchard Road, located about one mile from downtown Gatlinburg, Tenn. Please bring your lunch, enough water for the day, and dress for being outside in the weather.
Thursday, June 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Did you know that there are five basic types of centipedes and that none has 100 legs? It’s true! This is your chance to learn firsthand the important role centipedes play in the park’s fragile ecosystem. An overview of centipede basics, followed by a look at some species examples, and then a “field trip” to collect and observe centipedes in the field will be the highlights of this workshop. Please call to register 865-430-4756.
Friday, June 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Freshwater sponges are a good indicator of the health of the water around them. Participants will learn about the foods these fascinating creatures eat, as well as their symbiotic relationships with algae. An overview of sponge basics, followed by a look at some species examples, and then a “field trip” to collect and observe sponges in the field will be the highlights of this workshop. Please call to register 865-430-4756.
Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m. – Sunset
Hike the trails with DLIA botanists and discover some of the most beautiful — and dramatic — fauna the park has to offer: Ferns! Fossil records place the ancestors of America’s favorite houseplant to about 360 million years ago—a time long before dinosaurs ruled the land. Please call to register and get information about where to meet. This event will not take place at Twin Creeks Science Center.
DLIA’s mission is to discover and understand America’s species through science and education for conservation. DLIA’s flagship project, the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory, is a joint effort with the National Park Service to identify and record every single species within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To date, DLIA has assisted in adding 7,799 new species to the park’s records and 931 new to science.
For more information, visit www.dlia.org.
Todd P. Witcher