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Asheville, North Carolina News

Posts Tagged ‘nature’

All Abuzz about Hummingbirds at Asheville Wild Birds Unlimited

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

ASHEVILLE NC – On Sunday, August 25, 2013 at 3 PM at the Asheville Wild Birds Unlimited Store, renowned ornithologist Simon Thompson will give a talk on the “World of Hummingbirds”. In addition to sharing hummingbird facts, he will show photographs of wonderfully colorful species and give advice on how to attract and keep these tiny flying jewels in your garden.

Simon will take the audience on a virtual trip with the much loved Ruby-throated hummingbird, following it from nest building to egg laying and on the twice yearly migrations to Central America.

Captivating photographs and information will be presented about the hummingbird rich countries of northern South America and their comets, sapphires, velvetbreasts and coquettes.

The free program will start at 3 PM and refreshments will be provided. In addition, attendees will be entered into a raffle for a free Mini High Perch Hummingbird Feeder.

There are limited parking spots at the store, but additional parking can be found at the Bank of North Carolina next door or near the Stone Bowl Korean Restaurant.

Asheville Wild Birds Unlimited, your backyard bird-feeding specialists, brings people and nature together as the one stop shop for nature and birding in Western North Carolina. The experienced staff provide exceptional customer service for all outdoor birding needs from quality bird seed, feeders, and bird houses to binoculars and field guides –  www.asheville.wbu.com.

Backyard Naturalists After School Program

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

ASHEVILLE NC – The Highlands Biological Foundation has received a $25,000 grant from the Eckerd Family Foundation to create “Backyard Naturalists,” an after-school program designed to inspire a lifelong appreciation of the natural world through science, art and technology.  The program is created in partnership with Meet Your Neighbours, an international photographic initiative designed to reveal the wildlife living amongst us in an extraordinary way, and will draw upon the educational resources of the Highlands Nature Center.   The Pilot program will begin on March 19, 2012 in Highlands, NC.

Backyard Naturalists participants will learn the essentials of how to be an amateur naturalist. The program will include eight weeks of lessons, one afternoon per week, structured to promote a better appreciation and understanding of the natural world by nurturing creativity and independent observation skills.  Study topics will include learning about plants and animals, community interactions between species, nature journaling, illustration and a nature photography workshop. Using this knowledge, the students will work together to develop a wiki, a website that is collaboratively developed by a community of users, which allows them to freely add content, edit and become active participants of the website rather than just visitors. After the initial pilot program is launched in Highlands, NC we will incorporate images produced by other Meet Your Neighbours photographers around the world into the wiki and encourage the development of similar Backyard Naturalists programs in their own communities. In this way technology becomes a tool and an asset used to put students in touch with the natural world around them in ways that only beautiful close-up photography can provide. It is our hope that Backyard Naturalists will have a lasting, positive impact on the lives of our participants and encourage them to get outside and explore the natural world that is as close as their own backyards.

For over 84 years the mission of the Highlands Biological Station and Foundation has been to foster education and research based on the rich natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau.  To become a part of the Highlands Biological Foundation and assist in this mission visit Highlandsbiological.org   To learn more about Backyard Naturalists or to sign up please visit www.backyardnaturalists.com or, or call (828) 526-2221.  To learn more about Meet Your Neighbours, visit www.meetyourneighbours.net

City of Asheville Launches Website for WNC Nature Center

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The WNC Nature Center is getting a new look, digitally. The Asheville Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department is launching a new website for the Nature Center, www.wncnaturecenter.com, that gives visitors information on hours and pricing, animals on exhibit, and educational and conservation programs. The website features of calendar of events, information on each of the Center’s 60 indigenous species, and online enrollment in programs and summer camps.

The website launch coincides with many changes happening at the Nature Center. In March, the Otter Falls exhibit was renovated and expanded. On April 30, the Nature Center will open a new cougar exhibit, featuring two juvenile cougars. The large felines are brothers who were abandoned in the wild.

Located on 42 acres, the WNC Nature Center is a living museum of plants and animals native to the Appalachian region, including black bears, gray and red wolves, bobcats, otters, and birds of prey. Its purpose is to increase public awareness and understanding of all aspects of the natural environment of Western North Carolina through hands-on and sensory experiences.

To visit the website, go to www.wncnaturecenter.com. For more information, contact Frank McGowan, Business Services Superintendent of the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department at 828-259-5811 or [email protected].

The WNC Nature Center is owned by the City of Asheville and operated by the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts Department.

Help Name the WNC Nature Center’s New Otter

Monday, April 5th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The City of Asheville’s Western North Carolina Nature Center is celebrating the arrival of a new male North American River Otter. The otter arrived from the Pittsburgh Zoo on March 9th, and has been getting to know Olive, the Nature Center’s long-time otter resident. Now, the City of Asheville is hosting a contest to give the new otter a name.

The contest is open to Western North Carolina residents of all ages, and will run through April 30th, 2010. At that time, staff will select the top five names, which will be posted online for the public to vote on their favorite. The most popular name will be given to the new otter. To submit entries, visit http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/nameourotter

The person who suggests the winning name will receive an otter adoption package courtesy of the Friends of the Nature Center and will be invited to attend a special naming event in June. If more than one person suggests the winning name, a drawing will be held to choose one winner for the otter adoption package and naming event invitation.

In the past, otters at the Nature Center have had names beginning with the letter “O,” but all names submitted will be considered. For more information, contact Chris Gentile, Director of the Western North Carolina Nature Center, at 828-298-5600.

The WNC Nature Center is a City of Asheville facility and is a living museum of plants and animals native to the Appalachian region. Our purpose is to increase public awareness and understanding of all aspects of the natural environment of Western North Carolina through hands-on and sensory experiences.

‘Walk with a Naturalist’ at The N.C. Arboretum’s New Spring Program

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – The North Carolina Arboretum will offer “Walk with a Naturalist” programs beginning April 10 each Tuesday and Saturday at 1 p.m. through early summer.

Interpretive guides will lead small groups of participants along woodland trails and through a variety of forest types. Depending on the season, topics of discussion include wildflower and plant identification, natural history and tree lore, and the cultural and land use history of the Arboretum campus. Guides may include such areas as the National Native Azalea Collection as well as Bent Creek. Handouts after class may include such information as identification keys for plants, or lists of common wildflowers.

Program participants should dress for the weather as programs are held rain or shine. Individuals should wear sturdy shoes and bring water, as well as plant and animal identification guides as desired. Programs may last between one and two hours, depending upon the interest of the group, and will be approximately one to two miles in length.

The tour size is limited to 12 participants and pre-registration is strongly suggested. Space may be available on a drop-in basis on the day of the program and any openings are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The program fee is $3 per adult and $2 per child ages 8 to 17. Due to length and content, this program is not recommended for children under 8 years of age.

To register, visit www.ncarboretum.org and click on the “Plan-a-Visit” tab. Look for “Walk with a Naturalist” link on the left side of the page. You may also check this link to see if space is available on a particular day. Usual parking fees apply for your Arboretum visit.

‘Swamped with Orchids’ Sweeps into the NC Arboretum

Monday, March 1st, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Visitors to The N.C. Arboretum on March 27 and 28 will be “Swamped with Orchids” at the WNC Orchid Society’s Annual Show. The North Carolina Arboretum celebrates 25 years as a natural treasure that helps people cultivate connections with plants, and is pleased to host the popular show, featuring hundreds of orchids, education classes, plant and supply vendors, and Orchid Society members to answer questions and provide orchid-growing advice.

“This year is really going to be the biggest and best show ever,” said an excited Graham Ramsey, President of the WNC Orchid Society.

With a beautiful display in honor of the theme “Swamped with Orchids,” unique programs, 10 vendors and five orchid societies represented, visitors to the show will be able to explore and enjoy the wonders of this beautiful plant.

Programs during the Orchid Show include:

– Around the World of Orchids with Tom Nasser from Carolina Orchids

– Indoor Orchid Culture with Mark Reinke from Marble Branch Farms

– Paphiopedilum and their Culture with Hadley Cash from Marriott Orchids

– Phalaenopsis Violacea and Phragmipedium Kovachii History, Breeding and Culture with H.P. Norton from Orchidview

How to Repot your Orchids by Cynthia Gillooley

The show, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days, will also offer a raffle table with a chance to win prized orchids. The show is free with the parking fee. Parking is always free for Arboretum Society members. For more information, visit www.ncarboretum.org or call 828.665.2492.

Popular Wee Naturalists Program in Full Swing at NC Arboretum

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Parents, grandparents and children alike enjoy connecting with nature, and a popular youth education program at the North Carolina Arboretum provide affordable ways for all ages to bond and explore nature together.

Wee Naturalists is a hands-on, outdoor learning experience for pre-kindergarten children and their parents, grandparents and caregivers. Every lesson includes age-appropriate activities for ages 3 to 5 (2-year-olds are also welcome) such as nature walks, garden exploration, stories, crafts and visits from our classroom animals.

Upcoming programs include:

Birds of a Feather – November 3, 2009: While many birds live in our area year-round, several fly south for the winter months. We’ll talk about some of the brightly colored birds that have left or are leaving in search of warmer places and will go on a short hike in search of beautiful warblers that we may find passing through. Make and color a monacular to take along with you on a hike, then use it to study birds where you live! (Additional $2 fee applies for crafts).

Winter Sleepers – November 10, 2009: There’s a chill in the air and the leaves have fallen from the trees, which means animals need to prepare for the winter. Join us as we talk about local wild animals that sleep all winter long. We’ll head outside to see places that make an ideal den for animals from flying squirrels to black bears, and what foods animals can find in our
woodlands to prepare for their long nap.

Wild about Turkeys! – November 17, 2009: This time of year one bird in particular tends to get a lot of attention. Join us as we explore the wonders of wild turkeys – what they eat, how they live, and what those crazy sounds they make are all about. Children will make a craft using real turkey feathers.

At only $6 for each child over age 2 (younger siblings and adults may attend free of charge), Wee Naturalists provides a cost-effective opportunity to explore nature as a family. A “Wee Card” may also be purchased at a cost of $20 and is good for 4 visits. Registration not required. Programs begin in Classroom 3 at the Education Center most Tuesdays
October – May.

The hour-long program begins at 10 a.m. A parent or guardian is required to attend the full duration of the program. All participants should be dressed for an outdoor program. For information, contact Jonathan Marchal, Youth Education Coordinator, at [email protected] or 828.665.2492, ext. 228.

“The Scoop on Poop” Traveling Exhibit Opens at the NC Arborteum

Monday, January 11th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Everything poops, and The North Carolina Arboretum brings new meaning to doo doo during a new exhibit opening January 22, 2010 at the Baker Exhibit Center.

Fish do it, frogs do it, pythons, eagles and elephants do it, yet poop is one of those subjects we find difficult to talk about with a straight face. Children, however, are positively fascinated by it and we can learn a lot about an animal by examining what it leaves behind.

“The Scoop on Poop” is a new interactive zoological exhibit based on the popular book by science writer Dr. Wayne Lynch. The exhibit leads visitors on an investigation of what poop is and how animals use it – to build homes, hide from enemies, attract mates, send messages, cool off and yes, some even eat it! The exhibit also explores the ways veterinarians, paleontologists, field biologists, farmers, Maasai tribesmen, and power companies make use of animal waste.

“The Scoop on Poop,” created by Peeling Productions at Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland in Allenwood, PA, features large colorful graphic panels, three-dimensional models, and sturdy interactive components. Visitors are invited to:

– Listen to the fascination sounds of a bear’s digestive system;

– Learn the language of poop in countries around the world;

– Examine fecal samples in a veterinarian’s lab;

– Compete in dung beetle races and track wild animals by clues left in scat;

– Explore how long it takes an elephant to poop their body weight; and

Meet a dinosaur dung detective.

“The Scoop on Poop” exhibit, which runs through May 9, 2010, treats the subject with a tactful blend of good science and fun.
The Baker Exhibit Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays from Noon to 5 p.m. Admission is in addition to the parking fee: $3 for adults, $2 dollars for children ages 5 to 18, members and children 4 and under free. School group exhibit admission $2 per child with or without additional guided program – adult chaperones are free – all groups must pre-register.
For more information, call (828) 665-2492.

Would You Loan Your Body to WNC Nature Center for a Wednesday?

Monday, January 4th, 2010

ASHEVILLE, NC – Back by popular demand is the WNC Nature Center’s Winter Work Day Wednesdays. During the months of January and February, the Nature Center, located at 75 Gashes Creek Road in East Asheville, will CLOSE TO THE PUBLIC on Wednesdays in order to work on large scale projects and habitat improvements. Volunteers are desperately needed for this effort.

If you are interested in volunteering some muscle and want to help spruce up your favorite Nature Center for exhibit improvements and outdoor landscaping, check out our dates below:

Jan – 6, 13, 20, 27

Feb – 3, 10, 17, 24

To volunteer, contact Keith Mastin, Education Curator, at 298-5600 ext. 305.

Sponsoring restaurants are also needed to feed these deserving Wednesday volunteers. To sponsor a Workday Wednesday with a donated lunch, please contact Sarah Oram, Friends Director, at (828) 298-5600 ext. 308.