Author: Frances Figart

  1. Smoky Mountain Air Podcast: Vesna Plakanis talks about the wild foods of summer

    Smoky Mountain Air Podcast: Vesna Plakanis talks about the wild foods of summer Please remember that picking plants is prohibited in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but some fruits, berries, nuts, and certain mushrooms may be gathered for personal use within limits. No wild mushroom should be eaten unless its identification is absolutely certain, which usually requires an expert to determine. ­Many mushrooms are Read more...
  2. Teachers need support too!

    Teachers need support too! By John Didiego, Tremont Education Director In a typical year, the social and emotional wellbeing of students might top my list of concerns heading into the school year. Kids can’t even begin to learn when their basic needs aren’t met.  This year, however, that concern is edged out by the needs of another critical Read more...
  3. Why euthanize bears that have fed on human remains? Biologist: Bears may repeat behavior

    Why euthanize bears that have fed on human remains? Biologist: Bears may repeat behavior This article is being shared with the permission of Karen Chávez and Asheville Citizen Times. It can be read in its entirety by clicking the link below. By Karen Chávez, Asheville Citizen Times What's in a black bear's belly? It could range from bees to household trash to blueberries. And even the remains of humans, according Read more...
  4. Ancient Grassy Balds: A Great Place to be During a Pandemic

    Ancient Grassy Balds: A Great Place to be During a Pandemic By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director  Mysterious and haunting, Southern Appalachian grassy balds have long fascinated scientists and hikers alike. How many balds are there in the Smokies? How did they evolve? How do they support rare plants? Can balds be found in other parts of the world?  Great Smoky Mountains National Park Read more...
  5. Image for the Asking: Waking Up the Cove

    Image for the Asking: Waking Up the Cove Story and image by Don McGowan The great open valleys of the Smokies—Cataloochee in North Carolina; Big Cove in Qualla Boundary; and Cosby, Tuckaleechee, and Cades Cove in Tennessee—are self-contained microcosms of the diverse human history of this wonderful land. Ongoing research and discovery is continuously adding to our Read more...
  6. Permanent Camp: Grass-of-Parnassus

    Permanent Camp: Grass-of-Parnassus by George Ellison with illustration by Elizabeth Ellison  “From a distance the white flowers are attractive but not extraordinary; when observed closely, though, the delicate tracery of the green veins on the waxy white petals is astonishing.” ~Alan S. Weakley, “Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States& Read more...
  7. Sail into 2021 with the Butterflies and Moths of the Smokies

    Sail into 2021 with the Butterflies and Moths of the Smokies Each and every year, the Great Smoky Mountains are home to an intricately orchestrated show that has been going on since calendars were invented—wildflowers bloom in spring, leaves fall in autumn, and the Smokies’ many unique butterflies and moths come from near and far on their patterned wings to float amongst it all right on cue.  Read more...
  8. A Long Day’s Walk to Hear President Roosevelt

    A Long Day’s Walk to Hear President Roosevelt by Jim Casada  Among the many intriguing characters I was privileged to know as a boy growing up in Swain County was a local old-timer, George Monteith, who had grown up on lower Forney Creek in an area that eventually became part of the park with the flooding of Fontana Lake. In my mind’s eye I still see him, invariably clad in clean Read more...
  9. Permanent Camp: Skunk Goldenrod

    Permanent Camp: Skunk Goldenrod By George Ellison with illustration by Elizabeth Ellison  Have you ever been enjoying a walk along a mountain trail when you suddenly encountered a musky unpleasant smell? I've learned to consider five likely sources: bear scat, wild boar, carrion vine, galax, or goldenrod. Goldenrod? Yes, if you’re walking in the higher elevations Read more...
  10. Illuminating the Magic and Mystery: An Interview with Radim Schreiber, Firefly Photographer

    Illuminating the Magic and Mystery: An Interview with Radim Schreiber, Firefly Photographer   By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director  One of our favorite products that we sell in our GSMA bookstores is Radim Schreiber’s book, Firefly Experience. The coffee-table book has a glowing cover and contains scores of amazing photographs of lighting bugs both in the Smokies and throughout the country. For our latest Read more...

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