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Wednesday, 30 March 2011 19:43

Learn about benefits of land conservation

Haywood County landowners can learn about conserving their land Monday, April 4, at the Haywood Agricultural Center in Waynesville. The workshop will review how conservation agreements work and why they are beneficial to landowners of rural lands. A conservation easement…
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 19:41

The Roosevelt-Ashe Conservation Awards

Through some kind of mix up in the mail, I received a nomination from Wild South’s Roosevelt-Ashe Society for “Outstanding Journalist in Conservation” and an invitation to their 2011 “Green Tie Gala” held last Friday night (March 25) in Asheville.…
Thru-hikers on the Appalachian Trail — those hearty souls who attempt the entire 2,170-mile trek from Georgia to Maine from start to finish — will soon be arriving in droves in Western North Carolina. To finish the trail before the…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 13:58

Ramp recipes

Ramp Biscuits 4 cups Flour 1 tablespoon Baking Soda 1 teaspoon Salt 2 Heaping T Baking Powder ½ cup Shortening or oil 2 cups Buttermilk 1 cup uncooked Minced Ramps Sift flour, salt, baking powder and soda together. Cut in…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 20:07

Guided hike in the Smokies set for April

Join Friends of the Smokies April 2 for a hike to see early spring wildflowers and historic remnants on the Smokemont Loop trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hiking enthusiast and author Danny Bernstein, who wrote “Hiking North…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 20:05

Sign-up under way for Greening Up 5K race

The Greening Up the Mountains 5K Run/Walk in Sylva is forsaking its historically grueling course on the hillside streets above Sylva for more friendly terrain this year. The Greening Up 5K will be held on Saturday, April 23, in conjunction…
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 19:57

Festivals getting ramped-up for spring

With the coming of spring the pungent ramp is about to strut center-stage once more. For either the novitiate or the aficionado, there are ample opportunities over the next month to sample this Southern Appalachian delicacy — no fewer than…
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:56

Fontana bass fishing tournament

The annual Fontana Classic Bass Tournament will be held April 9 and 10, a chance for anglers to compete for prize money in this Smoky Mountain classic. With water temperatures already rising, local anglers are reporting an increase in the…
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:55

Racers get ready for Lake Junaluska duathlon

Local athletes who enjoy the challenging combination of a mountain-terrain duathlon — a 2.2-mile run, followed by a 20-mike bike ride, capped by a repeat of the run — will compete Saturday, April 9, at Lake Junaluska in Haywood County…
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:54

Looks like this race is a winner

The Lilly of the Valley half-marathon attracted a whopping 164 runners last weekend, triple what organizers expected for the inaugural race. The top female runner, Jennifer Bell, 37, of Brasstown (shown here) finished the 13.1-mile course along the Tuckasegee River…
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:50

A perfect fit

The planets must have been in alignment when Buddy Young, director of residential services at Lake Junaluska, and Candace Stimson, Low Impact Development (LID) student at Haywood Community College, became acquainted. Stimson and her LID 112 class began working with…
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:47

Gearing up for spring

Kathy Calabrese, who makes herbal-medicine products such as lip balms, sprays and salves using herbs she grows at her Whittier home or gets from local farmers, is glad to see winter go — not so much the passing of winter…
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:58

Macon birding hike follows Little Tennessee

The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee and the Franklin Bird Club will host a bird outing at the Tessentee Bottomland Preserve on April 15.   The preserve is located in Macon County, south of Franklin. Birders will meet at…
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:57

Recycle cell phones

In honor of Earth Day, Steve and Mary Abranyi of Green Mountain Builders & Realty Group are collecting unused cell phones. Any proceeds received from the collected phones will be donated to local environmental organizations.   Cell phones can be…
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:56

Freestyle Shootout and Demo Days at NOC

The annual Freestyle Shootout and Demo Days are set for April 15-17 at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The competition in the shootout, which includes some of the top professionals, begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday lights…
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:53

Mushroom workshop planned for April 14

A workshop on preparing shiitake or oyster mushroom long will take place at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, at the Cashiers Community Library. Participants will learn to prepare a shitake or oyster mushroom log and can take a log…
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:52

Junior ranger day set for April 16

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will celebrate its fifth-annual National Junior Ranger Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, with special activities at Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee. Activities planned will range from ranger-guided walks…
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:49

Got Mud?

I wrote a few weeks back about my kayak adventure with my daughters to Sister Island (The Naturalist’s Corner Mar. 16, 2011) on a recent trip to Isle of Palms. Well, the kayak trip was only the beginning of an…
Tom Robbins came out of retirement for two months to help the National Park Center open up the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center. “I never thought I’d get a chance to work in the new building,” he said. “This is nice.”…
To describe the new visitor center on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a long time coming is something of an understatement. Try some 76 years since plans were first hatched for a museum…
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:52

Help clean-up Panthertown Valley

The Friends of Panthertown and the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust will hold a clean-up day along trails in Panthertown Valley at 11 a.m. on April 15. Panthertown Valley, often called the Yosemite of the East, is part of the Nantahala National…
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:57

Stocked trout season has arrived

Fishermen took to the creeks and rivers last weekend with the opening of hatchery-supported trout waters. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission began stocking trout in early March and will continue through August. About 1,100 miles of trout waters in WNC…
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:53

Volunteer to keep the Tuck clean

Raft loads of volunteers will take to the Tuckaseigee River on Saturday, April 16, for the 27th annual clean-up organized by Western Carolina University’s Base Camp Cullowhee. The Tuckaseigee River Cleanup is the largest single-day effort to clean up a…
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:52

Gorges State Park hosts spring celebration

Gorges Gratitude Day will be held Saturday, April 16, featuring special presentations on a variety of topics, live music, food, and hayrides. Speakers will share programs on falconry, black bears, mountain ecosystems, folklore and geology. Community organizations will provide food…
The Great Smoky Mountains chapter of the Audubon Society, based in Maggie Valley and Waynesville, has been officially recognized and accepted by The National Audubon Society after initially forming a year ago. The mission of the chapter is to promote…
A pesticide disposal collection day has been scheduled in Haywood County from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Center at 589 Raccoon Road. The primary objective is to assist farmers and homeowners in…
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:31

Get wet and help monitor area streams

Help protect the creeks in the Tuckasegee River Watershed by learning to collect and identify aquatic insects, considered key indicators of how polluted a creek is. The Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River (WATR) will hold a one-day training on…
Western North Carolina has one of the highest concentrations of summer camps in America, and an economic-impact study completed in January by a team of researchers from N. C. State University found it amounts to about $365 million. The researchers…
Families can discover how the great outdoors exists in their own backyards during “Outdoor Adventure Day,” from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in Asheville. The event is being put on by the N.C. Arboretum but will be…
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:29

Plant sales in full force this spring

Several plant sales are coming up for gardeners and flower lovers. • Haywood Community College will hold a Spring Plant and Craft Sale from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Friday, April 29. The sale will be held on campus…
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:28

Celebrate new bike trails at Jackrabbit

The grand opening of a 14.5-mile trail system near Hayesville in Clay County is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 30. The Southern Appalachian Bicycle Association, Clay County Communities Revitalization Association and Tusquitee District of the Nantahala National Forest will…
Nantahala Outdoor Center and The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa have unveiled plans for NOC’s Basecamp Asheville, solidifying a strategic relationship between two classic Southern travel destinations. NOC will operate an experiential retail and outdoor activity concept shop within…
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is seeking volunteers to help remove the invasive weed garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) from the trail’s corridor at Max Patch in northern Haywood County this Saturday, April 23. Teams will competing to pull the largest amount…
A meteor shower with up to 20 meteors per hour will happen Friday night, April 22. The most meteors are expected Friday night and early Saturday morning, but might be as good Thursday night as well. Unfortunately, the light of…
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:26

Want to take photos this good?

Wildflowers, Waterfalls and Vistas will be featured in an upcoming Field Photo Program by Bob Grytten beginning May 17 to June 14. Participants will meet at the Waynesville Armory Recreation Center Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., and carpool to the…
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 12:24

Sixty-one years young!

Pilgrims from across the country and around the globe are on the move. They are headed to the Mecca of biodiversity – the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – to join in celebrating the 61st annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, April 26-May…
Richland Creek is now teaming with new inhabitants raised by Haywood County students in classroom fish tanks. After feeding and caring for the fish all year, the students set them free last week as part of an effort to restore…
Ed Williams lugged a giant plastic bag teaming with silvery blue fish down a creek bank in Waynesville where they would soon test the waters of their new home. Earlier that day, the fish were scooped out of Jonathan Creek…
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:55

Tour de Cashiers rolls on April 30

More than 200 riders are expected to participate in the 19th anniversary of the annual Tour de Cashiers on April 30. The tour has grown to three routes, ranging from 25 to 100 miles. Once again, this year the tour…
Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:54

Sponsored bicycle rides begin in Haywood

BicycleHaywoodNC is sponsoring group rides for new and newly returning bicycle riders. The focus of the rides will be to assist cyclists in enhancing their fitness and including bicycling as part of a lifestyle change. Rides start at Rolls Rite…
The Cherokee Runners Organization is seeking sponsors for its first Cherokee Runners Moonlight Race 5K Run/Walk, which will take place on Monday, July 4. The event will coincide with the tribe’s Fourth of July celebration and fireworks. The race will…
“I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree” … wait, that’s been done, hasn’t it? Time to get out the pen and paper and write your own poem to mark the 75th anniversary of the…
The Western North Carolina Fly-fishing trail is being stocked with 49,400 trout up through June, with the U.S. National Fly Fishing Championship using part of the trail in May. The WNC Fly-Fishing trail, centered in Jackson County, includes some of…
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:52

WCU outdoor adventure summer camp

From kayaking to rock climbing, elementary and middle school students can sample outdoor adventure through the Catamount Adventure Camps this summer. Teaching young people new outdoor skills, as well as the value of teamwork and an appreciation of nature, are…
Hikers, hunters and others who enjoy North Carolina’s mountain landscapes will soon have access to 534 acres of gameland and a national historic trail that are accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Spruce Pine. The Conservation Trust for North…
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 20:22

Smokies ranger honored for service

Kevin M. FitzGerald, deputy superintendent of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, recently was presented the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Meritorious Award, the department’s second-highest honor.    FitzGerald was recognized for his extraordinary performance of duties during the span…
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 20:21

Spring wildflower and bird pilgrimage

Celebrate Appalachian nature with the 39th-annual Spring Wildflower and Bird Pilgrimage April 29-May 1, with a line-up of 16 hikes, talks and guided tours on local flora and fauna. The program is sponsored by UNC Asheville’s Biology Department and is…
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 20:21

Time to wet those hooks

The West Swain Fire Department is hosting its 18th annual Bass Tournament at Almond Boat Park on May 7. The fire department auxiliary will dish up barbeque (lunch and dinner) with all the trimmings. A raffle will be held, with…
The North Carolina Arboretum will host the annual show of the American Rhododendron Society’s Southeast Chapter from noon until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 30 and May 1. Hundreds of blooms will be featured at this yearly event. Spring and summer…
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 20:19

HCC student advances to championships

Daniel Jones, a forest management and fisheries/wildlife management student at Haywood Community College from Hayesville, took home top honors in the Stihl Timbersports Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Qualifiers. The event was held April 17 at Penn State Mont Alto. Chopping and sawing…
A Kids Indoor Triathlon and Aquathlon will be held May 6 for ages 15 and under, hosted by MedWest Health and Fitness Center in Haywood County. The Asheville Triathlon Club will help coordinate this event, which begins at 6:30 p.m.…
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 20:18

New nesters

I believe all of my feathered friends that nest and raise families in my yard and in the woods surrounding my yard are once again setting up housekeeping. That includes the year round residents like downy woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, pileated…
Luke Hyde is too young to remember Horace Kephart, but his parents and grandparents knew the great American outdoor writer well when the St. Louis transplant was living in the Bryson City area. “He was a highly talented man who…
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 20:28

If you teach a child to fish …

Two free fishing clinics for ages 6 to 15 will be offered at the 21st Annual Great Smoky Mountain Trout Festival on Saturday, May 7, at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. The clinics are sponsored by the Haywood Community College…
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 20:27

Chunky Gal campout and hike this weekend

A hike and campout at Tusquitee Bald, the highest point in Clay County, will be held Friday, May 6, by the WNC Alliance, a regional conservation group. A carpool leaves Asheville at 5 p.m. on Friday. Hiking takes place Saturday…
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 20:26

Buzzin’ right along

I spoke with Blair Ogburn, senior naturalist at Balsam Mountain Trust, the other day and she related a perplexing incident. She said she was leading a group on a nature hike when she heard a blue-winged warbler. Now, blue-winged warblers…
A Songbird Celebration will be held at the Cradle of Forestry in America Saturday, May 7, to honor the annual migratory bird influx. At 8 a.m., the cradle will offer a guided walk to learn and practice identifying birds by…
The U.S. Forest Service is warning hikers to stay back a good 50 feet or so from a towering poplar tree in Macon County that is now rotting and falling apart. The Wasilik Poplar is the second-largest tree of its…
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 20:54

The Smokies’ biggest job

Alan Sumeriski, chief of facility management, was selected as Great Smoky Mountains National Park employee of the year for major accomplishments in improving park facilities. Sumeriski has led the park’s facility management workforce since 2007, which consists of about 160…
The third-annual Bicycle Rodeo is set to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14, in Clyde. Children ages 5 to 11 can ride their bicycles inside a closed course, designed to instill safe habits while biking,…
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 20:52

Corridor K back for public comment

An open house and public hearing is set for Tuesday, May 17, on a segment of Cooridor K, a controversial highway through the far western counties that has been partially built but still has two missing segments. On the table…
A discussion about creating a science discovery center along the Tuckasegee River will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at the Fairfield Inn and Suites across from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. This brainstorming meeting is open…
This past Saturday, May 7, was (I believe) the 12th-annual “Birding for the Arts” fundraiser for the Haywood County Arts Council. I can’t remember exactly how many Saturdays we’ve done it, but I do know it’s become one of my…
You’ve got to be just a little bit crazy, maybe, to do this trail race — crazy for an epic trail-running experience, that is. The Smoky Mountain Relay, taking place this Friday and Saturday (May 13-14), is more than 200…
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 20:29

Landowners protect 13 acres in Haywood

A conservation agreement with landowners has preserved 13 acres in the Bethel community of Haywood County. The property is largely agricultural land, providing corn, hay and a critical calving unit for a larger cow-calf operation. The land will remain in…
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 20:29

Lake Junaluska foot bridge under repair

Until May 23, walkers and runners at Lake Junaluska won’t be able to make their usual circuit. The Turbeville Footbridge, which spans the lake and completes the loop, will be closed for renovations. No foot traffic will be able to…
In a combination celebration of migratory birds and Balsam Mountain Trust’s 10 year anniversary, hikes and classes are scheduled at the preserve 115 bird species call home from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 14. Events include a beginner’s…
The Waynesville Parks and Recreation Department will offer TetraBrazil Soccer Camp for ages 10 to 18 July 11 through 15 at the Waynesville Recreation Center. The camp will offer Brazilian coaching staff, individual technical development and a unique cultural experience.…
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 20:49

Competitive youth soccer try-outs

Carolina Mountains Soccer Club in Haywood County is holding tryouts May 24 through 26 for the coming season. The soccer club is designed for youth players who have the skill, drive and desire to take their development to the next…
Adults with a hankering for soccer this summer can sign up to play in a league run by the Haywood County Recreation and Parks. There is a open league and a women’s league. Teams in the open league (maximum of…
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 20:47

Gardening for Wildlife series in Macon

Do you want to attract more birds, butterflies, beneficial insects and other native species to your backyards? It’s easy, fun for the family and an important way to help restore native habitats. Friends of Rickman Store, in the historic Cowee…
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 20:46

Learn how to build a backyard habitat

The Great Smoky Mountains Audubon Society will hold a Backyard Habitat Workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at the Maggie Valley Pavilion. Come learn how to transform yards into native plant and wildflower paradises. Presented by…
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 20:46

Four planets visible to naked eye in May

Western North Carolina stargazers will be able to witness a rare astronomical phenomenon this month when four of the five planets visible to the naked eye can be observed close together in the early morning sky. That’s the word from…
The Mountain Sports Festival returns to Asheville on May 27-29, with a line up to entice any pro or amateur athlete to test themselves in mountain sports. The festival brings in more than 15,000 visitors and competitors. Competitions will take…
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 20:45

Make money off your forestland

A wildcrafting, general make-your-forest work for you workshop is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 26 at the Cashiers library in Jackson County. Topics include new ginseng regulations, how to start an agro-forestry business, green certification and branding…
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 20:44

Lend a hand for the birds

Volunteers are needed at the bird-monitoring station at Tessentee Bottomland Preserve in Macon County. The program is a nationwide effort coordinated by the Institute for Bird Populations to monitor productivity, survivorship and population trends of breeding birds throughout North America.…
Want to see some of the best fly-fishing imaginable? The 2011 U.S. National Fly Fishing Championship will be held May 19 through May 22. It will be headquartered in Cherokee with fishing held on several waterways in the region The…
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 20:40

Quiet please!

Last Saturday morning I was racing around in the woods of the Tusquitee Ranger District on the other side of Murphy, surveying some of the outlaying bird points, trying to finish up that district. I don’t know why it is,…
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 20:40

Get on that bike and ditch the car

A “Bike to Work” ride will be held in Waynesville May 20 on National Bike to Work Day. The length is about three miles and is mainly over flat terrain. The ride will begin at the large parking lot beside…
Hiwassee-Valley Land Trust, a project of the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, has purchased the 100-acre Salman Farm that lies on Valley River near Andrews. The farm was acquired by the land trust last month, and is now protected…
Some of the scientists helping to identify every living species in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are giving up rights to name their discoveries for an even bigger prize: raising money to ensure the continued survival of the Discover…
The Waynesville Kiwanis will host a “Spring Fling” at the Waynesville Recreation Center on Saturday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be tubing in Richland Creek, a dunking booth, kids’ dog show, a three point and…
Medwest Health and Fitness Center in Haywood County will be holding its last American Red Cross lifeguard training course beginning May 20.   This will be the final opportunity to obtain certification before the summer swimming season arrives. The course…
Wednesday, 11 May 2011 20:50

Leave Bambi alone

They might look abandoned and waiflike, but the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is urging folks to not approach, touch, feed or move them. Whitetails are a “hider” species, which means the female will hide her fawn in vegetation during the…
There will be a free lecture on “running medicine” Tuesday, May 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30. p.m. at the Jackson County Recreation Center in Cullowhee. Topics include running gait and technique, barefoot running and minimalist shoes and running after…
The  annual Ruby Ride & Run will be held Saturday, May 21, in Franklin. There will be a 5K and 10K run and three bike rides of varying lengths: 24 miles, 64 miles and 100 miles. Last  year, 75 bicyclists and…
Thursday, 26 May 2011 04:52

Get kids involved in free fishing fun

Kids can fish for free and register to win prizes, including two lifetime licenses, at a variety of fishing events in Western North Carolina. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is supporting these fishing events as part of National Fishing and…
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open approximately 63.5 miles of trout streams and one lake classified as delayed-harvest trout waters under hatchery-supported regulations on Saturday, June 4. But there’s a catch . . . only anglers 15 years old…
A Salamander Soiree is set for June 2 at 6 p.m. as the kickoff to “Think About Thursdays,” a summer series of programs and talks sponsored by the Highlands Biological Station. The Salamander Soiree will feature a reception and games,…
Thursday, 26 May 2011 04:50

Smokies conducts search for missing man

Rangers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park are continuing to search for a Cary man who was reported missing April 27. The park is asking that anybody who may have seen the subject, Christopher Lee Cessna, 45, in the last…
Thursday, 26 May 2011 04:49

Author to speak at Pisgah Center

On June 4, from 10 a.m. until noon at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, Tim Spira will give a 45-minute presentation followed by questions and discussion about the ecology of Southern Appalachian Wildflowers. Spira is a plant ecologist, photographer,…
Thursday, 26 May 2011 04:48

Donation box theft ends in conviction

Another Swain County man, Gregory Cline, 35, was convicted of one count of tampering in federal court for breaking into a trailhead collection box. After rangers learned that money was being stolen from a self-pay trail map collection box, an…
Two Swain County men were convicted and sentenced in federal court last month in Bryson City for stealing ginseng from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Billy Joe Hurley, 42, and Jeffrey N. Hurley, 34, of Bryson City, were found…
Thursday, 26 May 2011 04:46

Reward offered for capture of elk killer

One of the original elk brought to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 10 years ago as part of a reintroduction of the magnificent species was shot and killed by a poacher in February. The killing took place in Haywood…
A bald eagle was shot and killed at the Maggie Festival Grounds, a large open field off the main drag through town, in early May. A reward of up to $2,500 is offered to anyone for information leading to a…
Mast General Store in Waynesville will donate a portion of its sales on Saturday June 4 to the to Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in honor of National Land Trust Day. Since 2004, Mast has donated $54,000 to the conservancy during…
Rain barrels, which hook into your gutters to catch rain coming off your roof, are being sold for $75 in a joint conservation project by Haywood Waterways Association, the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce and the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service…
A Waynesville watershed hike is scheduled for Saturday, June 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Naturalist Don Hendershot and Western Carolina University Forestry Professor Peter Bates will lead the group. Bates and Hendershot will discuss the flora and fauna…
Thursday, 26 May 2011 04:41

Pretty in pink

I have had the opportunity to make several trips along the Blue Ridge Parkway, in the vicinity of Devils Courthouse and Black Balsam this month. The first was on May 7 with Birding for the Arts. Then I had a…