Author: Frances Figart

  1. What we can learn from the wild turkey

    What we can learn from the wild turkey If you traveled around in Western North Carolina or East Tennessee to visit friends or family and eat turkey for the Thanksgiving holiday, there is a high likelihood you passed a rafter of wild turkeys along the way. Though a group of them can also be called a flock, the term “rafter” is also correct and was adapted because when Read more...
  2. Bryson City Artist Elizabeth Ellison Represents Everything Smokies

    Bryson City Artist Elizabeth Ellison Represents Everything Smokies Readers of the Asheville Citizen Times have enjoyed the Nature Journal column by regional author and naturalist George Ellison since the 1980s. His work is often accompanied by that of his wife, Elizabeth Ellison, a North Carolina artist whose natural history documentation and inspired landscape paintings represent the Smokies region in a way Read more...
  3. Research Holds Key to Wildlife Crossing Success on I-40 in the Pigeon River Gorge

    Research Holds Key to Wildlife Crossing Success on I-40 in the Pigeon River Gorge On November 3, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) announced that when it begins to replace the Harmon Den bridge on Interstate 40 between Asheville and Knoxville later this month, a wildlife underpass will be included in the construction. Just 48 hours later, the House passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill including $ Read more...
  4. Asheville professor and Smokies researcher discovers four new snake species in six years

    Asheville professor and Smokies researcher discovers four new snake species in six years October 21 is National Reptile Awareness Day, and perhaps few people are more aware of these beautiful yet often misunderstood creatures than University of North Carolina Asheville professor R. Graham Reynolds. His earliest memories of becoming enamored with reptiles started in elementary school at the Western North Carolina Nature Center where Read more...
  5. Volunteer Preserves Smokies’ Plant Diversity

    Volunteer Preserves Smokies’ Plant Diversity by Aaron Searcy, Publications Associate With the eye of an artist and the steady hand of a lab technician, Janie Bitner carefully preserves some of the rarest and most delicate plants found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Taken together, the many species she helps enter into the park’s collections build a convincing case Read more...
  6. Park scientists and nature writers reflect on the meaning of ‘habitat’

    Park scientists and nature writers reflect on the meaning of ‘habitat’ George Ellison, whose “Nature Journal” has long been a fixture of the Asheville Citizen-Times, was named one of the 100 most influential people in the history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He is shown here with columnist Frances Figart. When the United Nations designated the first Monday of October of Read more...
  7. Storybook Trail Returns in October with “A Search for Safe Passage”

    Storybook Trail Returns in October with “A Search for Safe Passage” Great Smoky Mountains Association’s most recent book release for younger readers will soon be featured on the Storybook Trail of the Smokies—an initiative dedicated to promoting literacy in nature. A partnership between the park, the University of Tennessee Extension Cocke County Office, and educational park partner Great Smoky Read more...
  8. Two dragonfly species recently spotted for the first time in the park

    Two dragonfly species recently spotted for the first time in the park In the past few months, two dragonfly species have been documented for the first time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Little Blue Dragonlet (Erythrodiplax miniscula) and the Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa) were both known to exist outside the Smokies and only recently recorded inside the park boundary. “We were Read more...
  9. Put safety first as the park’s elk herd enters its 20th rut season

    Put safety first as the park’s elk herd enters its 20th rut season It’s that time of year again. The elk are rutting in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From September to early November, the fall breeding season, hormones kick in, and elk go into overdrive. Bulls’ antlers reach maturity, and their ethereal bugling calls can be heard resounding through fields and forests within the park and Read more...
  10. Wildlife Biologist Helps Elk Return to Appalachia

    Wildlife Biologist Helps Elk Return to Appalachia By Aaron Searcy, Publications Associate In the not-so-distant past, red wolves and bison roamed the Great Smoky Mountains, passenger pigeons flew en masse overhead, and Carolina parakeets chattered in the welcoming branches of American chestnut trees. Today, every one of those species has disappeared from the Southern Appalachian landscape & Read more...

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