Spring Road Status
During spring, park roads may close due to ice, especially at high elevation where wet roads can freeze as temperatures drop at night. For road status information call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »
Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center
Don McGowan photo
About the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob
The mission of the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob is to increase the amount and effectiveness of research in the Appalachian highlands network parks that meet management needs while increasing public access to and understanding and appreciation of these research activities.
NPS photo by Susan Sachs
Renovations on the main building for the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center were finished in 2006. The building now offers lodging for 10 researchers; a 50-person meeting room; kitchen, bath and laundry facilities and internet hookups. Additionally, there is a small wet lab and 5 tent platforms available for larger groups. Many thanks to the Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of the Smokies for funding the majority of the improvement project.
Appalachian Highlands Science Journal, Issue 4, Now Available
The 12 page collection of articles focuses on scientific research resulting from the efforts of Natural Resource Challenge projects in the Appalachian Highlands Monitoring Network. This includes results from the Inventory and Monitoring team, the Exotic Plant Managment Team, the Southern Appalachian CESU (Cooperative Ecosystems Study Unit) and the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center.
High School Intern Program Continues with New Grant Funds
GlaxoSmithKline Foundation's Ribbon of Hope project has awarded Friends of the Smokies a $25,000 grant to support the high school intern program at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center. Part of these funds will be used to support hiring high school interns in the summer at various locations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Additionally, the National Park Service's Youth Partnership Program (YPP) is supporting interns. Interns will assist University scientists and park staff with field research and education projects throughout the summer. If you are a high school student, age 16 or older, and are interested in these internships, please contact Carlin Fenn for an application. Interns will have to live within commuting distance of the park since there is no housing available. Applications for the North Carolina internships are due by March 22, 2014.
Hands on History Website & Database Available for Teachers
A new website that posts archival materials from the archives at three national park sites is now on-line. Photos of people, artifacts and interviews for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Obed Wild and Scenic River and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation are compiled in the database. Information from cemetaries at these sites is also available. The website features classroom activities to guide a teacher in how to use the information. Click here to go to the Hands on History website.
Go Behind the Scenes With Researchers!
Teacher Enrichment Seminars Continue with Funding from North Carolina Department of Transportation and Friends of the Smokies.
Part of multi-year air pollution mitigation grant to the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center is being used to train teachers in inquiry-based teaching techniques related to issues from air borne pollutants to resources in the Smokies and our region. Workshops will be held throughout the Smokies in the next several years that will allow teachers to train from park professionals and research scientists on impacts to salamanders, snails, plants, forest ecosystems, lichens and other resources. For a complete list of seminars this year, see our Professional Development page.
Did You Know?
The barn at the Mountain Farm Museum at Oconaluftee Visitor Center is over 50 feet wide and 60 feet long. A modern 2,500 square foot home would fit in the upstairs loft of the barn and over 16,000 hand-split wooden shingles are required to roof it. More...