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Grandfather Mountain Presents Adult Field Courses April 29 – September 30

When your classroom is a mile high, every student has their head in the clouds.

Grandfather Mountain is introducing a series of Adult Field Courses in 2017, offering day-long sessions on various topics, including birds, salamanders, history, wildlife drawing and geology.

“These courses allow participants to examine specific aspects of the park ecosystem through just the right combination of fun field excursions and classroom presentations,” said Amy Renfranz, education specialist for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Linville, N.C., nature preserve and travel attraction. “Our course leaders are experts in their fields and include professors, naturalists, scientists and acclaimed photographers, writers, historians and artists.”

Furthermore, each adult field course counts as six hours toward the N.C. Environmental Educator Certification Criteria II, with the exception of “Salamanders of Grandfather,” which counts as seven.

The Blackburnian warbler/Photo by Monty Combs

Most courses run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., unless otherwise stated, and participants are asked to bring their own lunch to be eaten in the field.

The course schedule is as follows:

Spring Migration in the Canadian South

Saturday, April 29, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Hosted by Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation executive director Jesse Pope, this six-hour program will explore the birds of Grandfather’s mountaintop island.

Salamanders of Grandfather

Yonahlossee salamander/Photo courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Saturday, June 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Participants of this seven-hour program, hosted by renowned herpetologist Dr. Wayne Van Devender, will traverse Grandfather’s natural communities in search of its most prolific predators: salamanders. Van Devender will lead discussions on the salamanders’ natural history and fragile future.

From Board Roads to the Swinging Bridge: The History of Grandfather Mountain 

Saturday, July 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hosted by Michael Hardy, 2010 N.C. Historian of the Year, this six-hour program will showcase the unique history of Grandfather Mountain.

This course will include both time indoors and exploration outdoors. Participants will discover the sites that showcase the work of men and women of long ago.

Celebrated wildlife artist Ryan Kirby/Photo courtesy of Ryan Kirby

Grandfather’s Animals in Art: Wildlife Drawing

Saturday, Aug. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Learn how to accurately draw wildlife in one of our country’s most game-rich habitats, Grandfather Mountain, with celebrated wildlife artist Ryan Kirby.

Kirby will lead a six-hour course on drawing wildlife anatomy, with actual animals as models. Participants will learn the basic fundamentals and unique tricks to accurately depict big game and birds, using Grandfather’s most prized wild creatures as reference.

Celebrate Migration on Grandfather Mountain

Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Broadwing hawks above Grandfather Mountain/Photo by Jesse Pope

Join Jesse Pope for this six-hour course on raptor migration. In 2015, more than 11,000 raptors were observed in September as they soared over Grandfather Mountain on their annual migration south. Learn why they do this – and become an official “watcher” yourself!

Grandfather’s Geology by Foot

Saturday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There are 300 million years of history written into Grandfather’s rocks. Join naturalist Corey White to learn to decipher the stone and discover a world so complex and amazing that it will change your perspective of the Appalachian Mountains forever.

Registration and More

Each adult field course is limited to 12 participants and costs $40 for general registration or $20 for Bridge Club members.

To register, or for more information, email Amy Renfranz at amy@grandfather.com.

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.

Exploring “Grandfather’s Geology by Foot”/Photo by Monty Combs
Hanggliders at Grandfather Mountain/Photo by Hugh Morton