14th annual Mountain Wildlife Days offers fun, educational experience with region’s wildlife July 14-15

Michael Skinner and His Eagle. Photo courtesy of event organizers

From event organizers:


One of the many magical things about our mountains is the chance – often unexpected – to meet the creatures with which we share this beautiful area. The 14th annual Mountain Wildlife Days, July 14-15, at the Sapphire Valley Resort, will once again offer something for all ages in getting “back to nature.” Be prepared to meet and learn about the animals that live outside our back doors – and some that come from a little farther away.

Friday’s (July 14) Daytime Activities offer a wide variety of free programs:

  • 8 a.m. – A “Let’s Get Acquainted with our Birds” walk led by Russell Regnery, President of the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society. Over 20 different species of birds are often seen in this area including several species that have nested nearby.
  • 9:30 a.m.Two guided nature hikes: an easy to moderate two-mile roundtrip hike to Whiteside Mountain and a moderate 3.5 mile roundtrip hike to two waterfalls in Panthertown Valley.
  • 3:30 p.m.“Owls – Masters of the Night” program by naturalist Carlton Burke.

This is a free, open presentation, designed specifically for Sapphire Valley Resort campers, Boys and Girls Club members and other youth groups in the area.  

Friday Evening Program – 7 p.m.: The first featured performer is Christian comedian Geraldine Regan, who will bring to life her puppet, “Ricky”. Ms. Regan and Ricky will be followed by bear expert and noted photographer, Bill Lea, who will share his insights and nature photography in presenting a new important program, “Understanding the Misunderstood Black Bear”. Entry fee for the Friday evening program is $7 for adults; children with adults free.

Saturday’s Schedule is a full and entertaining one, with Highlands Plateau Audubon Society President Russ Regnery as Master of Ceremonies. Admission for all day Saturday is $8.00 for adults; children free with adult:

  • 9:30 a.m. — Exhibits and Silent Auction Open (Evergreen Room)
  • 10:00 a.m. — Opening with Russ Regnery, President of Highlands Plateau Audubon Society.
  • 10:05-10:50 a.m. — “The Raptors of Balsam Mountain Trust’s Nature Center” with naturalist Michael Skinner and his birds of prey.
  • 10:50-11:05 a.m. — Break – Exhibits and Silent Auction Open
  • 11:05-11:50 a.m. —  “Appalachian Wild” – small mammals, reptiles and amphibians of Western North Carolina by Carlton Burke, noted naturalist and wildlife rehab specialist.
  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. —  Lunch Break – Exhibits and Silent Auction Open
  • 1:00-1:45 p.m. — “Wolves, Wolf-Dogs and Your Dogs”  A popular presenter, Rob Gudger and his wolves, will be returning to Mountain Wildlife Days for an informative and exciting program.
  • 1:45-2:00 p.m. — Break – Final Silent Auction Bids
  • 2:00-2:50 p.m. — “Unique Animals from Around the World” –  the North Georgia Zoo will provide a close-up look at some of their most unusual animals.

A silent auction will be held Saturday with proceeds going to Mountain Wildlife Days’ Western North Carolina Wildlife Outreach. This program provides important wildlife and outdoor education for schools and other organizations throughout Western North Carolina. Auction items will go on display at 6:30 p.m. at the Sapphire Valley Community Center prior to Friday evening’s program, with bidding throughout the day on Saturday.

Mountain Wildlife Days is co-sponsored by the Sapphire Valley Resort and financially supported by sponsors and friends of wildlife. For more information on Mountain Wildlife Days and to make reservations for Friday’s bird walk or hikes, visit the Sapphire Valley Resort Community Center or call 828-743-7663. Information is also available at www.mountainwildlifedays.com.

About Max Hunt
Max Hunt grew up in South (New) Jersey and graduated from Warren Wilson College in 2011. History nerd; art geek; connoisseur of swimming holes, hot peppers, and plaid clothing. Follow me @J_MaxHunt

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