UNC Asheville’s Biology Department and the Botanical Gardens at Asheville will celebrate Appalachian nature with the 40th annual Spring Wildflower and Bird Pilgrimage April 27-29. Fourteen special events, including talks and guided tours, will focus on local flora and fauna. All are open to the public.
The popular annual celebration begins with registration at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 27, in the lobby of UNC Asheville’s Robinson Hall. The registration fee is $5 for adults and $1 for students and covers all events.
Following registration, David McAdoo, co-founder of the Native Orchid Conference, will present “Native Orchids of North Carolina,” at 7:30 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Robinson Hall Auditorium. North Carolina has about 70 different native species; McAdoo’s presentation will include photos of the state’s orchids along with information on their distribution, bloom times and conservation status.
Events on Saturday, April 28, include nine guided tours and activities. The outings feature both morning and afternoon half-day adventures such as a birding trip through Craven Gap and Beaver Lake, and wildflower walks in many sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The day will conclude with a presentation by Asheville Citizen-Times nature columnist George Ellison, at 7:30 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Robinson Hall Auditorium. Ellison will present a talk, “Edible, Medicinal, and Utilitarian Plants Used by the Cherokees and Early White Settlers,” including discussion of ginseng, poison ivy, bloodroot, mushrooms and spring greens. Ellison is the author of “Mountain Passages: Natural and Cultural History of Western North Carolina” (2005, History Press).
Events on Sunday, April 29, include a birding trip to Mt. Mitchell, a trip to the Craggy Mountains to explore old growth sites and a wildflower walk in the Shinn Gardens.
Coinciding with the Spring Wildflower and Bird Pilgrimage is the festival, “A Day in the Gardens.” The two-day celebration includes plant and craft vendors, food and entertainment from 1-6 p.m. Friday, April 27, and from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in the Botanical Gardens at Asheville, 151 W.T. Weaver Blvd., adjacent to campus.
For more information about UNC Asheville’s Spring Wildflower and Bird Pilgrimage, call David Clarke, UNC Asheville associate professor of biology, at 828/232-5151 or visit http://biology.unca.edu/wildflower-pilgrimage.