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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:  Mushroom Identification and Ecology Walk Tradd and Olga Cotter

>Interested in learning more about mushrooms and native plant associations?  Tradd and Olga Cotter will take you on a relaxing hike teaching mushroom hunting techniques as well as basic identification strategies for Appalachian Fungi. Discover mycorrhizal relationships, glow in the dark fungi, and with any luck Cordyceps mushrooms that mummify and attack the brains of insects!  Heavy emphasis on interkingdom interactions.  Bring a wicker/peach type basket, a small knife, bugspray, a magnification loupe(if you have one), water, and any mushroom field guides dedicated to southeastern or appalachian species.  We will be keying out species and provided a table for display and collections near the main event. (2) moderate= trail walking, a mile or so

FT 14    Birds and Botany, Dawn Sherry and Kim Brand (van)

>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. 

>FT15  *New for 2018* Bogs and seeps of the Blue Ridge Parkway

>The Blue Ridge Parkway provides fairly easy access to a number of unique high elevation habitats and many rare and endemic plants. Just being up there is a treat – cool, moist air, blue sky (we hope) and communities of plants found nowhere else. We will visit three classic sites: (1) the southernmost (and very tiny) Cranberry Bog at Black Balsam. It is a short hike on a flat dirt road with seeps, springs, and lots of plants. We should see 4 small orchids and numerous shrubs and wildflowers. (2) Three rare or endemic shrubs along the BRP: Pink-shell azalea, Mountain fetterbush, Buckley’s St. Johns-wort. (3) Seeps at Wolf Mountain overlook. Remarkable vertical cliffs drip water and create mossy-boggy sites for sundews, grass-of-parnassus, orchids, gentians, St. John’s-worts, goldendrods, and much more. Easy.

FT 16:  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 Pittillo Family Preserve, a Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. Available to public access, Nodding Trillium Garden has been enhanced with native basiofilic plants. 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. If participants wish to climb the more difficult section, we can do this before visiting Pinnacle Park, the former watershed from which Sylva obtained its drinking water..  Limit = 15. Hike difficulty rating = 2, moderate (steeper for 0.2 mile up Henson Ridge).

Friday Morning Half-Day Walks and Workshops

W 3:  Appalachia, A short film from In Defense of Plants.


W 4:    Year-round Green Appeal: Creating Moss Landscapes

Year-round green appeal is just one of the advantages of gardening with mosses. Sporadic sporophytic displays of crimson, bronze and gold add special delights throughout the year. Besides beauty, bryophytes (mosses) offer eco-friendly alternatives to issues of erosion control, mitigation of storm water run-off, elimination of groundwater contamination, and sustainable approaches to landscaping. The “original” native plants, mosses date back 450 million years. Nationally-recognized moss gardening expert and author of The Magical World of Moss Gardening, Annie Martin (aka Mossin’ Annie), leads participants on an informative and entertaining exploration of how shade and sun moss species can be featured as intentional horticultural choices in your native plant garden. A display of live mosses provides the opportunity to take a closer look at these fascinating miniature plants.

W 5:   Campus Native Plant Walk, Vicky Heatherly

Grab your water bottle and most comfortable walking shoes as we take a two-mile (give or take) hike around WCU's campus to identify and discuss our native trees, shrubs and perennials that encompass this beautiful area we live and work. We’ll spend some time enjoying nature discussing the importance of native species for our entire ecosystem.While we will be walking and talking at a leisurely pace be prepared for some hilly terrain and multiple types of walking surfaces. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

W 6:    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 7:  Nature Sketching Made Easy, Preston Montague

>Explore your love for nature through sketching in a lite and fun atmosphere! Join artist and landscape designer, Preston Montague, for a workshop exploring simple techniques for creating accurate and beautiful botanical illustrations. No experience is necessary, and all supplies are provided (though, feel free to bring any supplies you like)!

W 8:  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 9:  *NEW* Native Plants on Campus Design Charrette, Jesse Turner & Claudia West

>Among the many observations attendees make each year during the conference there is one that always stands out: Why aren’t there more native plants on campus? This year we are excited to offer a design charrette that will give participants an opportunity to create visions for how WCU might enrich the campus with native plants! The charrette will be led by Jesse Turner and Claudia West, both landscape architects with experience in leading design workshops and working in campus environments. This workshop will be fast-paced and meant for people with some experience in landscape design, plant selection, and working in groups. We will prepare plans and to be shared with WCU in a spirit of collaboration. We hope that our work will influence campus, but we understand that this first step is meant to begin what could be a long and fruitful dialogue. If you’re inspired and ready to put your ideas on paper, this is for you! (LIMIT = 20 People)

W 10:  Plant Propagation: Herbaceous Plant Propagation: Why, What, Where and a Little How- Rick Webb

Instead of just how to do seeds, we will talk about the most important factors:

1. What plant do I propagate?
2. Why do I want to propagate this plant?
3. Where do I want the plant to come from and where will it go?
4. How many do I need and for which use?
5. How do I propagate it?

These factors will be discussed In addition to actual hands-on work with the several methods and plants available at the time of the meeting from softwood cuttings to seeds.  Limit = 20.

W 11:  Plant Propagation:  Propagation of Native Woody Plant Species- Emily Driskill

Join Emily Driskill, head grower at Carolina Native Nursery, to learn about propagation methods for native woody plant species.  We will cover both seed and vegetative methods, and which approach to take based on the plant you are working with.  The seed discussion will cover sustainable collecting practices, protocols for conserving genetic biodiversity, cleaning, stratification, and sowing.  Vegetative methods will cover stem cuttings, layering, root cuttings, and division.  There will be demonstrations of most vegetative methods, and everyone will have a chance to make a stem cutting to take home.  We will discuss ways to adapt methods to various production scales.  You will leave with a stem cutting or two, a list of supplies needed to start your own project, and a trusty compilation of references. All materials will be provided. Limited to 20 participants.

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