Smoky Mountain Field School | June 2015 Course Schedule

Smoky Mountain Field School

We are so fortunate that the Tellico Lake Area is just a short drive away from the beautiful Smoky Mountains which offer a world of outdoor activities.  The Smoky Mountain Field School presents high-quality workshops, hikes, and adventures for people who want to enhance their enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of the Smokies and the great outdoors. Click on the course name to be taken to the SMFS website for more information.

Ferns, Wildflowers, and Ecological Relationships of Roan Mountain

June 13     9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Roan Mountain, a crown jewel of the southern Appalachians, has the highest concentration of rarity along the entire Appalachian Trail, spanning 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine, including 26 globally-rare plant communities, dozens of rare plants and animals, and some of the oldest rocks in the region. Join us for the flame azalea bloom and the start of the mountain rosebay rhododendron bloom. We’ll focus on the flora but also discuss geology, balds restoration, and Roan’s unique Alder Bald. Atop Roan at 6,285 feet, Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest and North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest meet, while Roan Mountain State Park is located near its northern base.

Click here for additional instructions and directions for this course.


Mosses and Liverworts of the Smokies

June 20     9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Discover the miniature plants that blanket the forest floor as well as rocks and trees, including mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. Learn how to recognize these three prolific groups and different species of each. You’ll spend the morning in the Greenbrier area, then stop at the nearby UT Biology Field Research Station to examine the plants with microscopes. We’ll then go outdoors for an afternoon hike on the Sugarland Mountain Trail at Mt. Collins to see high elevation bryophyte flora. Experienced naturalists as well as those just curious about these verdant small plants are welcome. Everyone departs with more skills and enrichment. Bring a lunch and camera. We’ll spend a very short time in the classroom.

Click here for additional instructions and directions for this course.


Mt. LeConte Hike and Overnight in the Lodge

June 20-21     Meet at 9:00 am on Saturday

What better way to experience the beauty of the Smokies than through a hike and overnight stay at LeConte Lodge? At over 6,000 feet, the facility is the highest guest lodge in the eastern U.S. and has been a rustic attraction since the 1920s, providing guests quaint accommodations and hearty meals. Join your experienced instructors on one of three seasonal trips journeying up and back down the Alum Cave Bluff trail in hopes of an enticing sunset and invigorating sunrise. While a popular five-mile hike, it’s only for those most fit and well-equipped for the ever-changing weather and challenging terrain that the mountains provide.

Click here for additional instructions and directions for this course.


Park Flora (Plants) – Jr. Naturalist Course (Grades 6-8)

June 20     9:00 am – 4:00 pm

•Ferns and Mosses


•Vines and Shrubs



Early Settler Mountain Cooking

June 27     9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Join Walter Lambert and friends for a fun day of southern Appalachian-style cooking in the midst of the Great Smokies. Chef Walter will share his knowledge of “old-timey delights” with you as he cooks with a Dutch oven and a blackened iron skillet or two. Married in the Smokies more than 50 years ago, he is sure to engage cooks from novices to experts. Bring your favorite recipes to exchange and spend the day swapping culinary tips and tales just for the fun of it.

click here for additional instructions and directions for the June course.

click here for additional instructions and directions for the August course.


Foraging for Food and Farmacy

June 27     9:30 am – 4:00 pm

Spend a day discovering how to identify plants and trees Native Americans and early settlers used for dye, food, medicines, crafts, and other items of daily life. Sample delicious wild flavors appropriate to the seasons. The instructor shares the herb-lore from “medicine men” and “granny women” while the group searches the woods and fields of this temperate rain forest for its hidden treasures. In addition, the June experience explores the original route between Gatlinburg and Cherokee and a portion of the Appalachian Trail, while the August experience explores the area around the Mountain Farmstead and Luftee riverside. (Tip: August is the best month for mushroomers!) Each session provides valuable insight into how early Native Americans and Caucasian settlers found a bounty from which to live off the land.

Click here for additional instructions and directions for this course for the June session.


Introduction to Fly-casting & Fly-fishing

June 27     1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

This course provides a basic working knowledge of fly-fishing equipment, casting techniques (including forward cast and back cast), and fly identification. The novice fly-fisherman will be instructed to properly read streams in order to get the most out of each cast. We focus on proper technique and practice casts in an open field with individual tips and instruction.

Click here for additional instructions and directions for the June course.


Mountain Music – Beginner’s Acoustic Rhythm Guitar

June 27     10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Come prepared to pick and sing for a beginner’s hands-on workshop to learn old-time basic rhythm guitar. You’ll be introduced to the basic rhythm techniques for accompanying singing and instrumentals. This beginner’s course is a must for those who want to learn how to play by ear and join in on jam sessions while enjoying songs and stories of the Appalachian culture. You’ll learn how to make the proper chords as well as timing. What better opportunity abounds than a day of fun, tales, and music in a Smokies landscape alongside a true southern Appalachian songwriter and musician?

Click here for additional instructions and directions for this course.


Park Fauna (Animals) – Jr. Naturalist Course (Grades 6-8)

June 27     9:00 am – 4:00 pm

•Amphibians and Reptiles

•Insects and Birds

•Small Mammals

•Big Game Animals


Posted: June 11, 2015