Word from the Smokies

  1. Discover Life in America Brings Aspiring Naturalists Together for Eco-Adventure

    Discover Life in America Brings Aspiring Naturalists Together for Eco-Adventure By Elly Wells An oncology nurse from Houston. A Charleston-based executive director for a national nonprofit. A retired biology teacher with her daughter and two teenage granddaughters. In total, 15 hikers from diverse backgrounds were gathered together on a mid-April morning, carefully poking up a trail in the Greenbrier area of Great Smoky Read more...
  2. Writer in Residence Finally Arrives in America’s Most-Visited Park

    Writer in Residence Finally Arrives in America’s Most-Visited Park Sue Wasserman of Bakersville, North Carolina, is the 2022 Steve Kemp Writer-in-Residence, which means she will be living near and working in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for six weeks. She’ll be writing, creating photography, and offering public programs both on the Tennessee and North Carolina sides of the park. Wasserman was Read more...
  3. Green With Envy

    Green With Envy Story and photos by Sue Wasserman Jack in the pulpit I don’t remember how old I was when I became enamored of the word “hue.” Thanks to a mom who took my sister and me to the library every week, whether we’d finished our books or not, it’s hard to remember a time when words didn’t hold a Read more...
  4. Plant life makes a comeback after 2016 wildfires

    Plant life makes a comeback after 2016 wildfires By Alix Pfennigwerth A few days after the arson-caused 2016 Chimney Tops 2 wildfire spread across 11,000 acres of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Rob Klein, a National Park Service fire ecologist, hiked up the park’s Bull Head Trail. National Park Service fire ecologist Rob Klein discusses the impacts of the 2016 Read more...
  5. Photographer and parks shine a light on the magic of fireflies

    Photographer and parks shine a light on the magic of fireflies Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to large populations of synchronous fireflies, which create a magical spectacle that draws thousands of visitors each year. The park will host the annual synchronous firefly viewing opportunity at its popular Elkmont Campground June 3–10 this year, but there are many other places where this Read more...
  6. GIS makes it simpler to map a complex park

    GIS makes it simpler to map a complex park Twenty years ago, the map room in Great Smoky Mountains National Park might have been dedicated to heavy, flat-file drawer cabinets—each one filled with stacks of intricately detailed maps of the mountains. These days, the room is much more spartan. Gone are many of the paper maps and heavy cabinets. In their place is a relatively modest Read more...
  7. Reducing artificial light at night (ALAN) can save thousands of park bird species

    Reducing artificial light at night (ALAN) can save thousands of park bird species Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a vital part of the greater southern Appalachian region through which many bird species migrate to and from their breeding grounds in warmer climates. Birds traveling at night have used the stars for millennia to help them navigate safely to their destinations. But thousands of birds who regularly visit Read more...
  8. Data Monitoring Protects Species for the Long Haul

    Data Monitoring Protects Species for the Long Haul Most of the scientists on staff at Great Smoky Mountains National Park contribute in some way to the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI), an ongoing catalog of all Smokies life forms. Managed by nonprofit park partner Discover Life in America in cooperation with park service staff, students, community scientists, and researchers from around Read more...
  9. Convergence of Diversity: The Twin Creeks Natural History Collections

    Convergence of Diversity: The Twin Creeks Natural History Collections By Aaron Searcy. All images by Joye Ardyn Durham. The Natural History Collections room at Twin Creeks Science and Education Center in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is the one place in the world where the endlessly surprising diversity of life found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is assembled together as one astounding whole. Beyond a Read more...
  10. TEDx Speaker Champions Safe Passage Project for Wildlife

    TEDx Speaker Champions Safe Passage Project for Wildlife When Nikki Robinson walked out onto the stage during the final dress rehearsal for TEDx Asheville last month, the spotlights of the Diana Wortham Theatre shining in her eyes, she thought, “This is what it feels like to be a deer in the headlights.” And then she smiled and relaxed a bit, realizing the irony of that thought. After Read more...

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