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Today’s Email Announcements

North Carolina Native Plant Society Meeting Notice 

It’s that time for the North Carolina Native Plant Society monthly meeting soon. It will be held on Wednesday, May 10th (second Wednesday) at the Holiday Inn Express, 1943 Blowing Rock Road in Boone. The meeting room will open at 6:30 and the meeting will start at 7:00.

Our program this month will be Bird-Friendly Gardening: Your Yard Matters!

Your yard — and the kinds of plants in it — matters more than you may know. Native plants play a very important role in providing the food birds need to survive and thrive in a way that non-native plants cannot do. By planting shrubs that provide the high-fat berries birds need to fuel up for long migration flights, trees that host the caterpillars that become baby-bird food, and flowers that provide nectar for hummingbirds, your yard can make a real difference for birds year-round. Learn how you can start helping birds in your yard and in your community.

Kim Brand is the Bird-Friendly Communities Coordinator for Audubon North Carolina, a state program of the National Audubon Society. Kim has a master’s degree in ornithology and was an Audubon Toyota Together Green Fellow in 2013 for her work with Habitat for Humanity and Audubon in Forsyth County. Kim lives with her two daughters in Winston-Salem. Bird-Friendly Communities is a partnership program led by Audubon North Carolina that focuses conservation efforts where most people live – in cities and towns. From planting the native plants birds need to succeed to putting up birdhouses, people can play a critical role in fostering healthy bird populations.

It looks to be another exciting program, so be sure to attend.

Another part of this will be Kim leading a hike Thursday morning along with members of the High Country Audubon Society with this special note from her regarding this event.

Bird-Friendly Nursery BlitzThursday, May 11, 9 a.m. to noon.

Meet at 9:00 at The Local Lion, 791 Blowing Rock Rd, Boone, NC 28607.

Want to see more bird-friendly native plants in our local nurseries and garden centers? Come on out and learn all about Audubon North Carolina’s Bird-Friendly Native Plants of the Year program from Kim Brand, Bird-Friendly Communities Coordinator for Audubon NC. We’ll meet for coffee, Kim will talk about the program and let us know what to say to the nursery owners and managers – including answers to their most frequently asked questions – and then we’ll go out in pairs to visit nurseries and sign them up. Nursery owners have been very receptive to this program. Who wouldn’t want these lovely Bird-friendly plant tags? Everyone wins – nurseries sell more plants and birds get more of the plants they need. For more information, email Kim at kbrand@audubon.org.

May Programs at Grandfather Mountain State Park 

Stream Ecology

Appropriate for all ages. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No pets please.  Join a Park Ranger to learn about how the living and non-living things interact in mountain streams. What are all of those bugs and other critters swimming and crawling through the creek? We will catch and identify what type of creature they are and what these species could tell us about water quality. Nets will be provided. Any participants wanting to get into the stream should bring waders or clothes that can get wet and a towel to dry off.  Boone Fork Parking Lot is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway; just north of mile marker 300.  For more information, please contact us at 828-963-9522 or grandfather.mountain@ncparks.gov.

Date: Sat, 05/06/2017 – 11:00am to 1:00pm

Location: Boone Fork Parking Area (Just north of the 300 Milepost on Blue Ridge Parkway) (GPS: 36.120076,-81.781358) http://goo.gl/dEizYH

Spruce Fir Moss Spider

Appropriate for ages 10 and older; children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Please leave pets at home.  Celebrate State Parks “Year of The Spider” by Joining Ranger Sicard for a PowerPoint presentation focused on the Spruce Fir Moss Spider, A globally endangered species that can be found in less than 5 places in the World. One of those places is Grandfather Mountain State Park.   For more information please call Andy Sicard at the park office 828-963-9522 or email: grandfather.mountain@ncparks.gov.

Date: Sun, 05/07/2017 – 10:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Park Office – 9872 Hwy 105 S, Suite 6, Banner Elk (Google Map: https://goo.gl/Uq0vrX)

2017 Annual Wildflower Walks

Free and Open to the Public – Join a park ranger for a guided wildflower walk in Grandfather Mountain State Park.  There is a walk for everyone – some are more challenging but some do not venture far from the parking lot.  Grandfather Mountain produces an amazing variety of wildflowers, which change from week to week, so join us throughout the season to experience the changes!  This hike is Moderate – Two miles, round-trip.  The trail is easy but rocky and can be muddy.  Dress for the weather, wear appropriate footwear, bring water and be prepared to be outside.  Participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. No pets, please.

Date: Sun, 05/07/2017 – 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Location: Boone Fork Parking Area (Just north of the 300 Milepost on Blue Ridge Parkway) (GPS: 36.120076,-81.781358) http://goo.gl/dEizYH

Gems of the Forest Birding Hike

Appropriate for ages 10 and up; children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Please no dogs.  Join a Park Ranger for a woodland walk among Southern Appalachia’s forest gems: song birds. Field guides and binoculars are encouraged and will enhance the experience. Participants should be prepared to hike a two-mile round-trip along a moderately strenuous trail. Trail conditions will vary depending on weather but all participants should wear hiking boots and bring a light jacket. Please contact the park office if you have further questions. 828-963-9522 or grandfather.mountain@ncparks.gov.

Date: Fri, 05/12/2017 – 8:00am to 10:00am

Location: Profile Parking Area, Hwy 105 S, Banner Elk (GPS: 36.121990, -81.829993) https://goo.gl/dBX99s

Summer Tree ID Hike

Appropriate for ages 10 and up; children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult.  Please, no pets.  Participants will learn how to identify local trees by learning differences in bark, limb, bud and branching patterns. Participants are encouraged to bring field guides to local trees. Program will last approximately two hours and hike 1 mile (2 miles round-trip).  Hiking boots are recommended. This is an outdoor event and those in attendance should come dressed for the current weather conditions. Please contact the park office with any questions at 828.963.9522 or email grandfather.mountain@ncparks.gov.

Date: Sat, 05/13/2017 – 10:00am to 12:00pm

Location: Boone Fork Parking Area (Just north of the 300 Milepost on Blue Ridge Parkway) (GPS: 36.120076,-81.781358) http://goo.gl/dEizYH

Grandfather Mountain as a Biosphere Reserve

Appropriate for ages 10 and up (Children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult). Please leave pets at home.  What makes Grandfather Mountain State Park so special, it is a Biosphere Reserve.  Join Ranger Sicard for a PowerPoint presentation explaining what a Biosphere Reserve is and why Grandfather Mountain State Park is so fortunate to be a Biosphere Reserve.  Please contact the park office with any questions:  828-963-9522 or grandfather.mountain@ncparks.gov.

Date: Fri, 05/19/2017 – 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: Park Office – 9872 Hwy 105 S, Suite 6, Banner Elk (Google Map: https://goo.gl/Uq0vrX)

Senior Softball Starts on June 1 in Watauga County

Senior Softball is only one month away! The slopes are green, not white. We have planted our gardens and grass. The mountain wildlife have shown us their new offspring. All sure signs spring is here and softball can’t be far away! So, get out your bats, balls and glove and start warming up .

Senior softball starts June 1 at Watauga County Recreation at 10 a.m. After that, all games are Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at the Lees McRae College softball complex and Thursdays at 10 a.m. at  Watauga County Recreation off State Farm Rd. Please contact Holly Gates at Watauga Recreation 828 264 9511 or Bert Valery 727 215 5560 for more details

Local Author Birgitta McGalliard Presenting at Watauga County Public Library May 6

The Watauga County Public Library would like to invite you to join local author Birgitta McGalliard for a presentation about her book Lives Divided: My Family Torn Apart by World War II and the Russian Gulag.

Captured by the Soviets in 1944 as he tries to flee across the Turkish border with his fellow German diplomats, Roland Gottlieb leaves behind his wife, two young daughters and his newborn baby girl. Lives Divided is Birgitta’s story of what life was like growing up in Sweden without her father and seeing her mother’s despair. Finally, after resigning herself to the idea that her husband will never come back, Birgitta’s mother is about to remarry when a post card changes everything.

The presentation will be held at the Evelyn Johnson Memorial Meeting Room this Saturday, May 6, at 2:00 p.m.