Author: Frances Figart

  1. Mountain Time: The Jewel of the Smokies

    Mountain Time: The Jewel of the Smokies Story and images by Arthur “Butch” McDade Mount Le Conte may not be the highest peak in the Smokies, but its impressive hulk looms over the Tennessee side of the national park. Here’s what writers Ken Wise and Ron Petersen say in A Natural History of Mount Le Conte: “Mount Le Conte is the crown jewel of the Great Smoky Read more...
  2. Wildflowers 101: Late Winter Wonders

    Wildflowers 101: Late Winter Wonders Story and photos by Tom Harrington Searching for, finding, and identifying wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains enables one to expand their horizons and add new chapters to their national park experience through beauty and an enjoyable, healthy activity. Trailing arbutus When you hear the word spring, you may associate Read more...
  3. Looking at Birds Through an Artist’s Eye

    Looking at Birds Through an Artist’s Eye Story and artwork by Gaynell Lawson Heron in Search of Fish by Gaynell Lawson Birds fascinate me. They always have. I enjoy watching them wherever I’m fortunate enough to spot them—in our streams, in the Great Smoky Mountains, or even in my own backyard. I’ve found that if I provide the right feeder, Read more...
  4. GSMA publishes educational adventure to teach young readers about wildlife crossings

    GSMA publishes educational adventure to teach young readers about wildlife crossings GSMA is pleased to announce the publication of A Search for Safe Passage, an educational adventure for readers ages seven to 13 written by Creative Services Director Frances Figart and illustrated by GSMA Publications Specialist Emma DuFort. A Search for Safe Passage tells the story of best friends Bear and Deer who grew up together on the Read more...
  5. Award-winning Writer Makes Great Smokies Her Park

    Award-winning Writer Makes Great Smokies Her Park by Frances Figart, Creative Services Director In the spring of 2019, Latria (pronounced La-tray-a) Graham was chosen to be one of the first Steve Kemp writers-in-residence, spending six weeks learning and writing in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The residency—funded by Great Smoky Mountains Association and named for its 30-year Read more...
  6. Image for the Asking: Carter Shields Cabin

    Image for the Asking: Carter Shields Cabin Story and image by Don McGowan The census records for the year 1850 tell us that Cades Cove—that most idyllic valley in Blount County, Tennessee, in what is now the southwestern corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park—was populated with 135 families accounting for 625 hearty souls. Six years earlier, on February 5, 1844, the Read more...
  7. Trailside Talk: Mission 66

    Trailside Talk: Mission 66 By Mike Hembree A happy coincidence in the 1950s led to change for the national park system. The Baby Boom of the post-World War II period increased the population of children in the United States dramatically. At the same time, the country was becoming increasingly mobile. Many veterans returning from the military had the money to buy their Read more...
  8. Biological Science Technician Reflects on Career Choices

    Biological Science Technician Reflects on Career Choices By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director Alix Pfennigwerth maps and surveys wetlands and collects data from forest monitoring plots as a biological science technician with the Inventory and Monitoring program at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo courtesy of Matt Jernigan. Alix Pfennigwerth works as a biological Read more...
  9. Smokies Entomologist Reflects on Role of Women in Science

    Smokies Entomologist Reflects on Role of Women in Science Entomologist Becky Nichols determines the peak display period for the famous synchronous fireflies of the Smokies. Photo courtesy of Joye Ardyn Durham. By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director When Becky Nichols was in graduate school there weren’t many women studying to become entomologists. Over the years, she Read more...
  10. Beyond the Shadow of the Woodchuck

    Beyond the Shadow of the Woodchuck By Frances Figart, Creative Services Director The woodchuck is the largest ground squirrel in the deciduous forests of the eastern United States. Photo courtesy of Tim Parker. Whether you call him a woodchuck or a groundhog—whether you consider her precious or a pest—you must admit this charismatic critter has Read more...

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