Plott Balsams kickoff nature series in Sylva

A six-part lecture series on nature, ecology and conservation will kick off with a program titled “Plott Balsams Business Case for Conservation” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 17, at the Jackson County Library in downtown Sylva.

The relationship between the tourism economy and conserved landscapes will be discussed by Erika Zambello, Stanback intern for The Conservation Fund. She will share data-driven visitor surveys that estimate per-day tourist spending and reveal tourist preferences, opinions on future development and how changes on the landscape would impact their future visitation. Taken together, these results can create a business case for protecting land in North Carolina. 

The six-part series will focus on topics relevant to the conservation arena in the seven western counties and is hosted by the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee and the Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department.

The free programs will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Jackson County Public Library’s Community Room in downtown Sylva. 828.524.2711 or visit 

Other upcoming topics include:

• The Ecological Recovery and Restoration of the Pigeon River: Can the ‘Dirty Bird’ Clean Up? on Friday, July 25, byDr. Tom Martin, Western Carolina University.

• Leopold Land Ethics Leaders on Thursday, July 31, by Rob Hawk, North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

• Golden Winged Warbler and Early Successional Habitat on Thursday, August 7, by Patrick Farrell, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

• The Mountains-to-Sea Trail – 1,000 Miles Across N.C. on Thursday, August 21, by Kate Dixon, Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

• Conserving the Natural and Cultural Histories of the Southern Blue Ridge on  Thursday, August 28, by Paul Carlson, Land Trust for the Little Tennessee.

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