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Wednesday, 22 April 2015 00:00

Outdoors roundup

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Spring plant gala and wildflower celebration 

Wildflower Whimsy, a garden-centered celebration to raise funds for the Highlands Biological Foundation, will be held May 8-9.

“This celebration will deepen your appreciation of spring ephemerals, sharpen your observation skills, and show you some of our favorite places to discover wildflowers,” said Michelle Ruigrok of Highlands Biological Station. 

The event will begin with a Friday evening wine and hors d’oeuvres reception featuring a native plant auction and lecture on native plants and pollinators by Nancy Adamson of the Xerces Society, at 5:30 p.m.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, participants will choose a guided wildflower walk from a selection of favorite places to seek out new blooms with local and regional experts. 

Proceeds benefit the Highlands Biological Foundation, which includes the Highlands Biological Station, and the Nature Center, Botanical Garden and Laboratory. wildflower-whimsy or 828.526.2221.


Teams to tackle fitness and health challenge course to raise money for heart research

An interactive team scavenger hunt at Haywood Regional Health & Fitness Center on May 16 will put participants through the paces of various fitness obstacles as they move through a series of stations.

Teams of five will take on the HeartChase challenge by completing 12 checkpoints. Activities include physical challenges such as “laser yoga,” mental exercises like guessing the amount of sodium in a variety of foods and searching for secret words hidden throughout the course. Modified checkpoints are available for participants with physical limitations. 

Paper forms or a smartphone HeartChase app will guide the games, with winners decided based on points earned by completing checkpoints, finding secret words and fundraising. Prizes are available as well for different fundraising levels. 

“This event is a great way for our community to learn more about heart-healthy living,” said Dr. David Peterson, cardiologist at Haywood Regional Medical Center. “Sometimes events like these can be eye-opening, because we all have certain assumptions about what is and isn’t good for the heart.” 

Presented by Haywood Regional Medical Center. Registration available at Limited space available. Businesses interested in sponsoring checkpoints should call 800.424.DOCS. 


Profs to treat public to telescope star party

A star party with telescope viewing of the night sky will be will be held by Western Carolina University faculty at 7 p.m. Friday, April 24, at the Jackson County Airport in Cullowhee.

Part of the 2015 North Carolina Science Festival, the event is designed to give members of the campus and surrounding communities an up-close view of stars, the moon and the planet Jupiter through telescopes at various magnifications.

Enrique Gomez, WCU assistant professor of physics and astronomy, will give a brief presentation on identifying well-known constellations and stars that can be seen in the sky during the spring season.

“Children also can participate in an activity designed to help them understand the tremendous distances that separate the planets and the stars,” Gomez said. 

The viewing is open free of charge. In the event the evening is overcast, the viewing will be canceled. Young children must be accompanied by an adult. Participants should dress warmly.

828.227.2718 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Open house to open up outer space

A celebration of space will commence at Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute’s Space Day open house, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 2. 

The event will include the grand opening of a new section of the exhibit gallery housing an array of gems and minerals, mostly from North Carolina. The planetarium will be open for most of the day, featuring staff presentations, new hiking trail sections, and a Galaxy Walk that will allow visitors to enjoy a scale model view of the solar system while strolling campus. Tours of PARI’s Astronomical Photographic Data Archive and Astronomy Image Gallery will also commence. 

Free, with nominal charge for planetarium presentations and refreshments. 


River cleanups flow in Swain County

A pair of trash pickups in Swain County this weekend aim to make a dent in litter along the Tuckasegee River. 

• From 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25, volunteers will disperse along River Road, U.S. 19 and other locations around Swain County in a cleanup effort with Swain Clean. The group will meet at the Ingles parking lot in Bryson City before fanning out and then gather at 12:30 p.m. for lunch, courtesy of Bojangles. Chris Roth, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 770.315.8950. 

• At 1:30 p.m. April 25, teams will deploy on rafts and along the river’s edge to collect trash for pickup along U.S. 19 and Main Street in Bryson City. The group will meet at Darnell Farms, 2300 Governors Island Rd. in Bryson City. Nantahala Outdoor Center will supply rafts for the event, organized by the Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River. Roger Clapp, 828.488.8418 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 


Swap outdoors gear, enjoy a brew

A gear swap and community cookout at Outdoor 76 in Franklin will give anyone with extra outdoors gear in the closet a chance to swap it for something to fuel the next adventure. 

The gear swap will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 25, with live music and beer tastings offered afterward from noon to 5 p.m. Soldier’s Heart, Nitrograss and The French Broads will play, and beer from Highland Brewing Company, Hi-Wire Brewing and Oskar Blues Brewery will be served. 

Gear swap applications are online at 828.349.7676.

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