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Grandfather Mountain Offers After-Hours Programs, Educator Workshops

By Tzar Wilkerson

Wonders never cease at Grandfather Mountain—even after business hours. The Linville, N.C.-based nonprofit nature park is bringing back its Grandfather Presents evening lecture series for 2019. “On the mountain, we like to bridge outdoor fun with education,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the park. “With our Grandfather Presents series, guests can enjoy presentations from some of the country’s foremost experts on conservation, including professors, naturalists, scientists, photographers, writers, historians and artists.” Grandfather Presents topics include:

Dr. Patrick McMillan’s lecture will focus on his passion for the natural world on June 20.

Grandfather Presents: Dr. Patrick McMillan, Naturalist and TV Host 
Thursday, June 20
Limit: 165 · $20/Free for Bridge Club Members

The opening lecture will feature Dr. Patrick McMillan, naturalist, author, educator and Emmy Award-winning host of “Expeditions with Patrick McMillan.” This PBS-aired series follows McMillan on expeditions throughout North and South America, featuring wilderness, journeys through gorges, wildlife and other ecologically rich destinations. In his presentation, McMillan will expound on his passion for the natural world and how Grandfather Mountain is part of that. Aside from his PBS series and frequent lectures all over the South-East, McMillan is the Glenn and Heather Hilliard Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson University.

For more information, or to register, visit https://grandfather.com/event/grandfather-presents-dr-patrick-mcmillan/.

Scott Huler will discuss his unlikely choice to travel the Carolinas by foot and canoe on July 18.

Grandfather Presents: Scott Huler, Author and Radio Personality
Thursday, July 18
Limit: 165 · $20/Free for Bridge Club Members

Scott Huler is an award-winning radio personality and the author of seven books. In 2014, Huler decided to journey from home to follow in the footsteps of 1700s renowned naturalist John Lawson. In this lecture, Huler will discuss his unlikely choice to travel by foot and canoe through the Carolinas and reveal what it’s like to rediscover one’s own home. Huler currently works as the senior writer at Duke Magazine. However, he has also taught at colleges such as Berry College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his books have been translated into five languages.

For more information, or to register, visit https://grandfather.com/event/grandfather-presents-scott-huler/.

Record setter Jennifer Pharr Davis, who claims the current fastest time for the AT, will talk about her motivations on August 29

Grandfather Presents: Jennifer Pharr Davis, Hiker and Author
Thursday, Aug. 29
Limit: 165 · $20/ Free for Bridge Club Members

In 2011, Jennifer Pharr Davis covered the 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes, maintaining an average of 47 miles per day. Because of this remarkable hike, she claimed the overall (male or female) fastest known time on the AT and became the first woman to set the mark. Davis has covered over 14,000 miles of long-distance trails on six different continents, is an author, speaker and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and strives “to make the wilderness accessible and enjoyable” for hikers of all ages. In her upcoming lecture, Davis will speak about what motivates her and what gives her strength to persevere.

“I saw Jennifer speak in Winston-Salem for the anniversary of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail,” said Julie Mullis, naturalist at Grandfather Mountain. “The one thing that really struck me about her is how much she was down to earth, funny and just had so many engaging stories about her experiences on the Appalachian Trail. I would say she is inspirational, and I am looking forward to seeing her speak again.”

For more information, or to register, visit https://grandfather.com/event/grandfather-presents-jennifer-pharr-davis/.

Registration and More

Each Grandfather Presents event runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with refreshments being served at 6 p.m. and the program beginning at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $20 per person and free for members of Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club program. Lectures are limited to 165 attendees each, and registration is required. Call 828-733-2013 or visit grandfather.com for more information.

The Bridge Club is a way for guests to save on visits to the mountain and other area attractions. When guests purchase a membership, they help build a bridge to the future for Grandfather Mountain, so that generations to come can experience its wonders. Membership benefits include unlimited access to the mountain for one year, park-wide discounts, free access to numerous special events and more. To become a member, visit https://grandfather.com/support/give/become-a-member/.

The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call 800-468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com to plan a trip.