Mountain Wildlife Days returns to Sapphire Valley Resort July 13-14

Press release from Sapphire Valley Resort:

In appreciation of past presenters who have been responsible for the success of Mountain Wildlife Days over the years, the 15th annual event will be dedicated to those who have made this a successful and meaningful event for all ages. Mountain Wildlife Days is scheduled for July 13 and 14 at the Sapphire Valley Resort, whose management continues to make this event possible along with sponsors and attendees.

Hikes and a field trip will again be a part of opening on Friday, July 13. At 3:30 pm, popular wildlife advocates Michael Skinner and the “Birds of Prey” at Balsam Mountain will showcase a variety of birds for a close-up experience for area boys and girls from camps and other organizations in the Cashiers and surrounding area.

A new program is scheduled for Friday evening featuring Bill Lea, a nationally noted photographer and black bear expert who has been a part of all Mountain Wildlife Days for the past 14 years. His presentation, titled “Caring for God’s Creation — Our Beloved Mountains,” will focus on the beauty and wonders found in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, including scenes from the Nantahala NF, Pisgah NF, and Blue Ridge Parkway, along with a variety of wildlife found in these areas. He will be joined by pianist Bryan Heller, who will provide appropriate background music. A closing highlight will be a unique short video by Makem and Clancy titled “All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir.”

On Saturday morning, Steve O’Neil, one of Western North Carolina’s most active wildlife warriors, will bring a variety of his reptiles and amphibians. He will also share sounds from his didgeridoo, an unusual musical instrument from the Outback of Australia. Steve will also act as MC for the all of the Saturday programs. Carlton Burke, a well-known wildlife educator and rehabilitator, will display a variety of live animals. Burke is featured throughout the year with “Muddy Sneakers” and was on the staff at the Western NC Nature Center for over 25 years.

Two of the event’s most popular programs over the years will return in the afternoon. Rob Gudger, who now works with the Smoky Mountain National Park, will continue to help all ages better understand our most misunderstood animal, the wolf. The North Georgia Zoo will bring a wide variety of animals featured in one of their major presentations, titled “Wildlife Wonders — Zoo to You.”

For more information, contact Mountain Wildlife Days director John Edwards at 828-743-9648 or

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