Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg, Tennessee
This has been a spectacular winter. Snows came early and often this year and the landscape has never been so beautiful. As winter fades and the colors of spring begin to sparkle throughout the Smokies, Gatlinburg blossoms into the center of all things botanical during Great Smoky Mountain Association’s 65th Annual Wildflower Pilgrimage.
From April 21-25, everyone from the serious botanist to the weekend gardener can experience unprecedented access to some of the nation’s leading botanical experts as well as Appalachian wildlife authorities.
“It is a rare opportunity for those with a personal love of flowers to have the same access to leaders in the field as researchers,” said Ken McFarland, a botanist and professor at the University of Tennessee. “Through seminars and intimate guided tours, each participant will expand his or her skills and knowledge of the unmatched flora and fauna of the Smokies.”
The Wildflower Pilgrimage, which dates to 1951, offers over 150 programs including an array of instructional walks and guided hiking tours tailored to meet individual walking skill and ability, along with demonstrations and guest lecturers. These tours showcase the abundant varieties of wildflowers, plants, ferns, mosses, trees and shrubs, as well as birds, reptiles and amphibians, all native to the Great Smoky Mountains.
While most classes take place in the Great Outdoors, a number of educational classroom sessions and evening entertainment taking place in W.L. Mills Conference Center in downtown will round out the week in Gatlinburg and the Smokies.
This is a great opportunity to see the Great Smoky Mountain National Park with all the beauty and glamour of spring. Online registration for the classes and events began on February 14th and for more information of the event, classes and contests go to the event website at http://www.springwildflowerpilgrimage.org.