Monday, June 20, 2011

Biodiversity Days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Take Place This Week

The Great Smoky Mountains national park (GSMNP) was officially designated as an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations because of the tremendous biodiversity of the more than 100,000 different plants and animals that inhibit this environmentally crucial location.

This week features four Biodiversity Days taking place in the Great Smoky Mountains national park presented by the nonprofit organization working to inventory all of the plants and animals in the GSMNP: Discover Life in America (DLIA).

The first event takes place on June 22nd from 1 pm to 3 pm with a presentation given by Glenn Taylor on the Spruce-Fir Moss Spider held at the Twin Creeks Science center in the Cherokee Orchard Road/Roaring Fork section of the Great Smoky Mountains national park bordering Gatlinburg Tennessee.

The second event taking place is a class on scientific illustrating on June 23rd at Twin Creeks Science Center from at 10 am to 2 pm taught by Artist extraordinaire Deborah Blind.

The third event takes place on June 24th at Twin Creeks Science Center from 10 am to 2 pm which is a lecture on Springtails and a field collection session looking for these important tiny critters that live on the forest floor and in foliage present by springtail expert Dr. Ernest Bernard.

Lastly is an event for those in good enough physical shape to hike a distance in order to help with an on-going survey of the ferns in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park taking place on June 25th. Group will meet at the Jakes Creek Parking area in the Elkmont section of the park at 9 am.

All of these events and programs require registration in advance by phone (865)430-4757 or email at

Friday, June 17, 2011

Volunteers Needed To Help Survey Tree Arthropods in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park

If you love science, want to get your hands dirty, become more intimately knowledgeable and help the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, here is your chance to do something exciting and help advance science in the GSMNP.

For those who are seriously interested in helping collect specimens and data compilation on an ongoing long term basis, Discover Life in America (DLIA), the non-profit organization coordinating the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) in GSMNP, will host the Tree Team Training program beginning at 9:00 am on June 18th at the Twin Creeks Nature Center just outside Gatlinburg off Cherokee Orchard Road.

For those who wish to partake in this program, you will be collecting insects, spiders and other arthropods specimens at what is considered easily accessible areas, on both Tennessee and North Carolina sides of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

You will be trained and will make use of a variety of collection techniques in order to survey these animals so that not only can the vitality, but unknown ecological linkages between flora and fauna can be studied.

Registration in advance is required. You must contact Todd Witcher the executive director of DLIA, at (865)430-4757 or email him at

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Discover Life in America Synchronous Firefly Events

Time is running out to not only support Discover Life in America, what I feel is the most important organization operating in the Smokies and to enjoy natures finest light show the Synchronous Fireflies and beat the crowds. Move fast as there are only a few slots left!

Secret Synchronous Firefly Event 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm June 10 & 11
Enjoy exclusive access to the Norton Creek Sanctuary near Gatlinburg where you will be provided heavy hors d'oeuvres and drink (beer and wine) along with a firefly expert. Next after a nighttime picnic with the fireflies, a short walk you will learn more than you ever thought imaginable about these fascinating creatures of the Smokies!

Reservations are required for this fund raising event and space is very limited. Call (865)430-4756 for tickets ($75 per person)

Secret Synchronous Firefly Event 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm June 12
This Firefly event will be much like the Norton Creek adventure on June 10th and 11th except the adventure begins at the Park Grill, and after food and drink and firefly presentation, we will carpool to a secret site in the Park. Reservations are required and space very limited. Call (865)430-4756 for tickets.

Nantahala Outdoor Center Free Firefly Festival 11am-4pm June 11
Come to the Nantahala Outdoor Center Great Outpost in Gatlinburg, TN right at the border of the Great Smoky mountains national park and celebrate for free the amazing diversity of Fireflies in the Smokies with this event.

There will be educational opportunities, art, music by Captain Firefly, an insect zoo, kids activities, a secret "dark room" to "bioluminate," and food and drink vendors. There will be presentations on the synchronous firefly phenomenon in the Smokies at 1 pm and again at 3 pm.

Discover Life in America has spent more than 10 years inventorying all the plants and animals in the Great Smoky Mountains national park and so far has identified more than 7,100 species we did not know existed in the park and more than 920 that are newly discovered species!

Synchronized Fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains

Related Smokies Fireflies News Stories

Synchronized Fireflies in the Great Smoky Mountains