Friday Walks, Workshops & 1/2 Day Field Trips

Hike difficulty ratings

1– Easy, light walking, in and out of van
2 – Moderate, trail walking, a mile or so
3 – Moderately strenuous, away from bus, four miles or so
4 – Strenuous, uneven trails away from bus, steep terrain, 4+ miles
5 – Very strenuous, rough terrain, away from the bus

Friday Morning Half-Day Field Trips

FT 13: Cullowhee Falls, Peter Loos and Adam Bigelow
Join us for a half-day hike to one of the most glorious waterfalls in Western North Carolina, Cullowhee Falls (a.k.a. High Falls).  Along the West fork of the Tuckasegee River, the trail winds through a mixed hardwood forest, through rhododendron thickets, and along riparian habitat passing Thurston Hatcher Falls, a beautiful cascade, leading to the base of a two-tiered waterfall approximately 200 feet tall, with a box-canyon feel.  The waterfall area features a spray-cliff grotto, pot-holed bedrock and a refreshing swimming-hole. Surrounding flowers include mountain dwarf-dandelion, sundrops and Michaux's saxifrage.  Along the way, we'll view numerous summer wildflowers, including galax, goat’s beard, Indian ghost pipe, and many ferns, lichens and mosses.  Please bring rain gear, field guides, hand lens, water, snacks, a swimsuit, and a sense of adventure.  Hike difficulty rating = 3, moderately strenuous (hiking, away from vehicle, more than a mile).

FT 15:  Balsam Gap to Richland Balsam: Riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, George Ellison, and Tim Spira
The purpose of this field excursion is to explore flowering plants and ferns in several higher elevation communities along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including a spruce-fir forest along the Richland Balsam Nature Trail at an elevation greater than 6,000 ft. We’ll also identify and discuss interesting features of plants along woodland borders and roadside areas along the Parkway at various elevations. Hikes are mostly short and easy. Things to bring: rain gear, hand lens, your favorite wildflower guide, and most importantly, enthusiasm and curiosity. Limit =15. Hike difficulty rating =2, moderate.

FT 16: *NEW* Nodding Trillium Garden midsummer and Pinnacle Park, Dan Pittillo
The highly dissected Balsam Mountains support valleys with Rich Cove Forest. Although the big trees have been cut, a few areas are recovering second growth and still support a diverse flora. Within three miles of the Ramsey Center is a recently established Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust property with the native plant garden enhanced over the past three decades with local species. We will compare this enhanced native garden to the recently established Pinnacle Park, the former watershed from which Sylva obtained its drinking water. A trail in the lower edge provides access to rich cove forest with the half-dozen characteristic canopy trees, shrubby spice bush, hydrangea, and herbs such as hepatica, horsemint, blue and black cohoshes, jack-in-the-pulpit, and several ferns including wood, maidenhair, lowland bladder, Christmas, and others. The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust and WCU student volunteers have been constructing a looped foot trail up Henson Ridge. The trail will eventually connect to Nodding Trillium garden trails. It likely will be available by July. However, it does ascend more elevation and includes steep slopes crossing a narrow ravine.  Limit = 15. Hike difficulty rating = 2, moderate.

Friday Morning Half-Day Walks and Workshops

W 5:  *NEW* Bee Hotels, Becky Griffin
In this workshop, attendees will build bee hotels that can be placed in any garden to provide nesting habitat for several native bee species, which are being displaced at an alarming rate due to increasing amounts of construction in suburban and urban areas. The workshop will begin with a presentation on bee garden plants, water sources, and best landscape management practices in the Ramsey Center.  Participants will then move outside to construct their own hotel with step-by-step guidance. Materials to construct the hotel will be provided, but attendees must bring a standard home use power drill with drill bits ranging from 1/16th to 1/2 inch sizes.  A cordless drill is preferred. Don’t forget your safety goggles!  There is a $5 fee to cover the cost of materials.   This workshop is strictly limited to 20 participants.  For information about the use of bee hotels, visit this webpage. Limit = 20.

W 6:  Mosses: Ancient Emerald Jewels for Today’s Landscapes- Annie Martin
Take a journey into The Magical World of Moss Gardening to discover aesthetic, environmental, and spiritual benefits including year-round green appeal. As our planet’s first land plants, ancient mosses offer amazing horticultural options in today’s landscapes. Nationally-recognized moss gardener and author, Annie Martin (aka Mossin’ Annie), guides participants on an exploration of the advantages of mosses in gardens. Impressive photographs provide inspiration. Topics will include moss identification; appropriate/best bryophyte species for shade and sun applications; unique botanical characteristics; hands-on demonstration of planting methods; as well as discussion of maintenance regimes and troubleshooting needs. Responsible land stewardship will be emphasized regarding the acquisition of mosses for projects (i.e., Purchasing versus rescuing/harvesting/stealing). Teachers will learn differences between bryophytes and vascular plant features for classroom instruction about the Plant Kingdom. A case study on creating a learning moss garden and curriculum enhancements will be highlighted. Bring your hand lens for a closer look. Limit = 20. Hike difficulty rating = 1, easy.

W 7: Campus Tree Walk, Laura DeWald

W 8:  Walking tour of the Cullowhee Creek stream restoration project, George Morris
We will have a short presentation about the pre-construction conditions, construction, and habitat improvements along Cullowhee Creek and then take a walk on the stream restoration project that dissects the WNC campus.  The project was started during the summer of 2005 and construction was completed during the summer of 2006.  We will discuss the structures and construction methods, and explore how vegetation plays a role in stream restoration.  Limit = 20.  Hike difficulty rating = 1, easy.

W 9:  Vendor Plant Walk:  Identification, Habitat, and Growing Available Plants, Lauri Lawson and Wes Burlingame
Lauri and Wes will walk participants through the plants that are available from each vendor represented at the conference, pointing out the merits and specific requirements of the displayed plants.  Emphasis will be placed on specific growing conditions, culture, and habitat.  Limit = 20.  Hike difficulty rating = 1, easy.

W 10:  Southern Appalachian Native Grasses and Associated Communities, Gary Kauffman and Nancy Adamson
Join Gary Kauffman, National Forest in North Carolina Botanist, and Nancy Adamson, Xerces Society ecologist, for a hands-on native grasses workshop highlighting natural communities that inspire ecological landscaping. We’ll see where grass communities are more common and why, learn to use a key based on grass families and tribes, look at samples of common native grasses (many easy to identify without a hand lens), touch on native meadow establishment and long-term maintenance, and help identify samples you share. Bring a hand lens, the keys you like to use, and a copy of the grass section of Weakley’s flora (contact or for a resource list).

Gary will be leading an all-day tour to grass-rich habitat (native meadow) with Peter Loos (Ecovirons Native Plant Nursery) on Wednesday, July 20th. Along with a diversity of grasses on the hike, participants will see how prescribed fire helps invigorate these fire-adapted communities.

W 11:  *NEW* Commercial Landscape Design Process, John Magee
Landscape Designer John C Magee will be teaching the basics on how to improve speed and accuracy in bidding landscape projects for commercial firms.  Geared mostly toward the professional landscaper, designer or Landscape Architect, this half day course will cover basics in design/ sales and offer ideas of how to quickly increase your ability to get back to people with clean, legible, sellable designs.  Tips on simplifying your bidding process and working together with sub-contractors to achieve optimal job-site goals. Limit = 25.  

W 12:  Plant Propagation:  Herbaceous Plants, Gail Barton
This interactive hands-on workshop will focus on propagating herbaceous native plants. We'll begin with a brief discussion of plant reproductive strategies. We will then take cuttings, divide plants and discuss timing and follow up care. Since biodiversity is such an important part of native plant gardening, we will concentrate mostly on seed propagation. We will handle samples of many types of seed and discuss harvesting techniques and timing. Participants will process fruit to get clean plant-able seed that will be available to take home. We will review seed treatment options and techniques for storing or planting seed and discuss where and how to successfully grow young seedlings. The instructor will recommend pots, soil, plant labels, irrigation & winter protection that would be useful in a small backyard nursery. Participants should wear comfortable clothes that can handle some dirt. Please bring a pair of sharp scissors and lots of questions. Limit = 20

W 13: Vegetative Propagation Workshop: Fundamentals of Vegetative Propagation and Methods for Propagating Woody and Perennial Plants by Means of Stem Cuttings, Division, and Root Cuttings, Matt Gocke
Participants will be exposed to the fundamentals of vegetative propagation and learn methods for propagating woody plants by means of stem cuttings. Discussion will include methods applicable to home gardeners and larger propagation operations, and dormant and growing season propagation. Additional methods of vegetative propagation will be briefly touched upon including division and root cuttings. Plants native to the southeastern United States will be emphasized. The workshop will be organized into a series of lectures followed by hands-on demonstrations after each topic. All materials will be provided. Limit = 20.

W 14: Campus Bird Walk, Dawn Sherry and Kim Brand
Western North Carolina is an excellent place for people who enjoy bird watching! Over 200 birds make their home here year-round, and another 80 species migrate through the Southern Appalachian mountains. Join us as we walk around campus identifying birds by sight and sound. Tips and tricks for bird identification will be covered as well as planting ideas for native plants to attract them. Handouts will be provided but we recommend you bring a bird identification guide and binoculars for the best experience. Limit = 15 Hike difficulty rating = easy.

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