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GRITS Kids on Acorn Adventures

Everyday someone becomes a firefighter, a teacher, a trail-builder, a museum curator, and a park ranger. But before all that, they were kids who learned from exceptional educators about biology and history. These teachers, most would agree, opened their eyes to the beauty and wonder of natural areas.

That’s why Great Smoky Mountains Association has partnered with longtime naturalist and educator Wanda DeWaard to create our Acorn Adventures, designed especially for our Acorn Members. For only $5 per event, we invite Acorn Members 14 years and younger (with at least one chaperone invited to attend at no charge) to discover more about the Great Smoky Mountains.

Play with us. Learn with us. Develop and strengthen outdoor skills. Find a new hobby. Enjoy observations and hands-on exploration of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Be a part of the next generation to preserve and protect this special place.

Most of all, kids who join these programs become GSMA Acorns. And what does an acorn need to grow? It needs to Get Rooted in the Smokies (GRITS!)

1. Earth Kinship As a group, we'll share a series of creative and playful activities while learning what may be there for you to enjoy. By the end of our day together, you will know the natural world and our relationship to it in a very different and personal way. enjoy a sense of wonder and awe for what nature holds for you and learn to fall in love with the natural world again. 

2. Be an Animal Track Detective! Animal tracking focuses us on being more aware. This experience will teach you to see more in the outdoor environment safely.

3. What goes Bump in the Night? During your evening in the Smokies, you may hear different sounds, smells and even bioluminescence as we move quietly about. You will be encouraged to listen to the sounds of the night while looking for nocturnal, winged hunters and insects.

4. Lost! How to Prevent it for Families During this outing, your group will spend time exploring how to "lost proof" yourself with simple planning and techniques to remain safe until you are found. Shelter ideas, water sources, water purification, fire building and how to build a basic survival kit are all options.