WCU’s ‘Mountain Classroom’ offers exploration of Smoky Mountain region


Western Carolina University’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education is offering “Mountain Classroom,” a program for all ages that features guided day trips that explore the history, geology and culture of the Smoky Mountain region.

The second trip in the series will be a wildflower walk through Panthertown Valley with Adam Bigelow on Friday, April 29.

Scenic Panthertown valley is a 6,300-acre U.S. Forest Service tract often referred to as the “Yosemite of the East” due to its granite domes and stunning setting. At an elevation of 3,600 feet, the flat valley floor is traversed by slow-moving, tannin-stained streams and dotted with rare Southern Appalachian bog communities. On this trip, participants we will learn about the varied plant communities and view many spring wildflowers.

This will be a more strenuous hike of more than five miles with several steep, half-hour climbs and descents. Participants will want to be in good shape and bring a pack, extra water and rain gear.

Bigelow is the garden manager for the Cullowhee Community Garden, an organic community garden located in Cullowhee. He holds an associate degree in horticulture from Haywood Community College and a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from WCU.

The fee is $69 per person, including transportation to and from the location along with a bagged lunch. Learn more at http://www.wcu.edu/engage/community-resources/conferences-and-community-classes/Mountain-Classroom.asp or call the Office of Continuing and Professional Education at 828-227-7397.