Outdoors roundupWritten by Admin
Give a hand to Panthertown
A trail work day in Panthertown Valley near Cashiers Saturday, March 28, will help improve trails leading to Wilderness Falls and Frolictown Falls.
Volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. and should supply their own lunch, water and good shoes, but tools will be provided in this Friends of Panthertown event.
Volunteers needed to help with park guests
People interested in roaming the frontcountry of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are needed as the park starts up its roving volunteers program for 2015.
Volunteers typically work one four-hour shift per week, informing visitors about park rules, helping with crowd control around the elk and telling visitors about their area’s cultural and natural resources. Volunteers work at the Oconaluftee River Trail, Mountain Farm Museum and in the fields at Newfound Gap Road and Oconaluftee Visitor Center.
A five-hour training session beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 1, at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center will kick off this season, which runs mid-April through mid-November.
Kathleen Stuart, 828.497.1914.
Economic development program dishes about loans and grant opportunities
A meeting to get Jackson County residents up to speed on the resources available to them as one of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s StrikeForce counties in North Carolina will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, March 30, at First Baptist Church in Sylva.
StrikeForce aims to leverage community resources in rural communities with persistent poverty to lift up the economy. The meeting will include information on USDA loans, grants and technical assistance programs.
Help out at Clingmans
A training session for people interested in helping out at the Clingmans Dome visitor information center will be held 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, March 27, in Gatlinburg.
Volunteers help educate visitors about the high-elevation spruce-fir forests at the site and provide logistical information during a four-hour shift each week through the end of November.
Road widening project starts on White Oak
Road work on White Oak Road will stall traffic through the bulk of the year but result in a newly widened, paved section where it crosses through a piece of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park between Interstate 40 and Cataloochee.
The goal of the project is to improve access for emergency and over-sized vehicles to local residents of the White Oak area.
The N.C. Department of Transportation will start work by April 15 and finish by Dec. 31, primarily affecting local residents. Delays should be expected weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Bring butterflies to the classroom
A pair of free curriculum trainings will give Haywood County teachers the tools to teach their classes about butterfly and bird egg development.
• An embryology training at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 16, will walk teachers through showing their students how the egg of a cornex quail develops.
• A butterfly training at 4 p.m. Monday, April 20, will train teachers to show their students the butterfly lifecycle.
The curriculum matches Common Core and essential standards for second-graders, and the trainings count as continuing education units for teachers.
Fish festival planned for HCC
Eating, catching and competing over fish will all be celebrated at the Fish Fest Youth Fishing Clinic, Fish Fry and Fishing Tournament, to be held 1-6 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at Haywood Community College’s Millpond.
The day will begin with a youth fishing clinic to introduce concepts such as water safety and fishing ethics from 1 to 4 p.m., with a fish fry and tournament to follow from 4 to 6 p.m. The winner will nab the grand prize of $100 at Bass Pro Shops.
Free for youth ages 6-12 with registration required. Space is limited. Includes clinic, t-shirt and dinner. Entry fee for the tournament, open to kids and adults, is $8 and dinner is $7. Proceeds benefit the HCC Wildlife Club, which is hosting the event.
Beekeeping for beginners
A crash course in beekeeping will lay out the basics for people looking to make life a little sweeter, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at the Bryson City campus of Southwestern Community College.
The beekeeping school, an annual offering of the Smoky Mountain Beekeeping Association of Swain and Jackson counties, will cover equipment, bee biology and how to locate, manage and harvest honey from hives. Weather permitting, students will have a chance to watch a beekeeper inspect a nearby hive when classes conclude.
Learn your wildflowers
A six-week class teaching the names and stories of Southern Appalachian wildflowers will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesdays at Southwestern Community College in Sylva.
Adam Bigelow, horticulturist and director of Cullowhee Community Garden, will teach the course. Students will learn techniques for identifying wildflowers and put that knowledge into practice during wildflower walks outdoors. Bigelow will cover each species’ benefits, uses and cultural ties.
$90. Course runs from March 25 to April 29. Registration required.
Milkweed sale to help butterflies and bees
The Haywood County Master Gardeners Association is adding nectar-producing perennials to the line up of its plant sale this year, an effort to help monarch butterflies and honeybees — both of which are embattled species in Western North Carolina.
Milkweed, a vital food source for monarchs, will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, at the Cooperative Extension office on Raccoon Road in Waynesville. Cost will be $5 per plant, with one free for every two purchased.
Orders can also be placed ahead of time to guarantee your order. Other plants offered through the Master Gardener sale must be pre-ordered by March 13.