Upcoming Events & Hikes

Join the PAC “Kudzu Warriors” to help eradicate Kudzu (and other non-native and invasive species) at the PAC protected Norman Wilder Forest located off of HWY 176. Call PAC at (828)859-5060 or e-mail landprotection@pacolet.org if you are interested or would like more information. Also, check out our webpage dedicated to Conservation/Kudzu Eradication.   REGULAR SCHEDULED WORK DAYS are EVERY MONDAY from 9-11 (subject to change, please see the link to the calendar.)!



PAC & Walnut Creek Preserve (WCP) 2017 Programs

Each month (except December), PAC & WCP will offer a Saturday morning program/presentation at the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.  Programs are free of charge, open to all ages, and begin at 10:30 a.m. (more info. below)

PAC/WCP programs are made possible, in part, by a grant from Mary Merritt and Bob and Babs Strickland.

January 21 – macro-photography with Ben Mullinax

Ben will use photography to explore the quote by Dorothea Lange that “A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.”  He will show participants how we can use photography to explore and find the extraordinary in the ordinary, and show examples of how changes in lighting, time of day, shadows, perspective/viewpoint makes this possible.  Ben’s hope is that the presentation will help people rethink how they view their own photography and also that it might be useful to non-photographers who will have the opportunity to learn to appreciate and practice “seeing” in a new and different way.  The presentation will include photography of nature scenes and macro photography that reflects the points above. 

February 18 – “North Carolina’s Red Wolves: An Imperiled Future” presented by Christian Hunt with Defenders of Wildlife.

Christian will discuss the history, biology, threats, political atmosphere, and benefits that the Red Wolf brings to our ecosystem.

4237167628_5fc4c49713Click here to read an article about the Red Wolf from the Laurel of Asheville

May 27 – Mycologist, Tradd Cotter, will present, “Amazing Fungi – The Dark Matter that Bounds all Life.”

Join mushroom expert Tradd Cotter, mycologist and founder of Mushroom Mountain, for a fascinating lecture on native plants and their fungal partners. In order to sustain life on this planet, a complex matrix of organisms has evolved to orchestrate the balance. Plants and fungi have merged and continue to unveil the benefits of collaborating with nature. We have a lot to learn from these relationships, and understanding the respect they have for each other can teach us more than just soil biology. Our native plant communities are communicating through their own internet, reaching out to other organisms to help repair the ecosystems that perpetuate life on this planet.

3900June 17 – Tanya Poole, NCWRC Education Specialist, will present on Bats!

bigearedbatJuly 15 – Patrick McMillan, host of ETV’s Expeditions with Patrick McMillan, will present, “The Southern Blue Ridge – Crucible of Life.”

When we think of biodiversity our minds often wander to the far corners of the globe but one of the world’s great centers of temperate diversity is right here in our own back yards, the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment. Join Patrick as he takes an in-depth look at this often overlooked region of the Appalachians that harbors endemic and ancient relicts from the distant past that have long-since disappeared from the rest of the continent. This is the heart of the most diverse temperate broad-leaved forest on the continent and it has served time and again as a refuge during change and an engine of biodiversity production. This is the only place in North America you can find Oconee Bells, and there are more species of Trillium, Hexastylis, and Salamanders here than in any other comparably sized region on the continent. There is something all these species share in common. They can’t move very fast, they can’t quickly retreat from change. These plants and animals need a place to call home that can accommodate change–that is resilient in the face of change. The unique position, climate, and highly dissected and varied topography of the ridges and gorges of the southern Blue Ridge escarpment have provided this crucible for life in the face of change again and again. They hold biodiversity in the face of climatic adversity and exhale their treasures to the entire region when conditions improve. Recognizing the importance of this region lends strong support to the conservation of as much of this system as possible and identifying the routes in and out of this corridor into the rest of North America. Eloquent design could produce a network of conservation corridors to buffer change in the eastern deciduous forest, ensuring that our children’s children’s children will enjoy the same diversity of life we do today.

picture-from-sue-as-jpgAugust 12 – David Campbell will present on his Floristic and Biodiversity Study of Polk County.

Since 2015, David Campbell has been doing an inventory of the flora, habitats, and some fauna found within Polk County, documenting the rare and unique biodiversity that makes Polk County so special.  During his presentation, David will share his findings from the 2-year study with the community.

img_3721The Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF) funded a portion of the first year of the Study.  Thank you PCCF!

September 23 – “Wilderness from an ecological, cultural and aesthetic perspective,” presented by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert

Jennifer Frick-Ruppert is the author of “Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians,” and a professor of biology and environmental science at Brevard College. During her presentation, Jennifer will also discuss wilderness management from the present into the future. 

frick-ruppert_mountainOctober 28 – Naturalist, Tim Lee will present, “Bioluminescence: From Fireflies to Fungi.”

Fireflies flashing on a warm summer night. The eerie glow of jack-o-lantern mushrooms in the forest on a moonless night. These lights bring mystery and magic to the dark night. Join us as we discover how light is produced and emitted from living organisms and how it used to lure prey, deter predators and entice insects.


Keep an eye out for more confirmed dates and interesting topics!

library-logoLandrum Library Free Community Events Programs Continue in 2017!


Thanks to a grant from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF), PAC and the Landrum Library will continue to provide free nature education programs at the Landrum Library in 2017!


March 14th – Dr. Gillian Newberry will present on “Endangered Plants of the Piedmontat 6:00 p.m.


Gillian Newberry is a professor emeritus from University of South Carolina Upstate.  She taught botany, plant geography, zoology, plant taxonomy, and marine biology during her 34 years at USC-Upstate and set up a 16,000 specimen herbarium to aid students in plant identifications.  Her research interest include plant surveys, plant rescues, establishment of preserves for endangered plant species, and developing techniques to reduce the impact of invasive plant species.She received here PhD in botany in 1976 and was recognized as teacher of the year at USC-Upstate twice.  She was also recognized as teach of the year for the Campuses of the USC system.  Her hobbies include hiking, traveling, reading, and photography.
gillian-newberryApril 11 – Dr. Timothy Spira will present on “Favorite Spring Wildflowers in the Blue Ridge Mountains” at 6:00 p.m.


Botanist Tim Spira will show beautiful photographs of common and conspicuous, as well as rare and unusual, spring wildflowers including trilliums, trout lily, wild ginger, mayapple, bearcorn, Jack-in-the-pulpit, pink lady’s slipper, cucumber root, Oconee bells, and many others. In addition to helping you identify spring wildflowers, we will discuss fascinating features about their ecology and natural history, which will enhance your understanding and appreciation of spring wildflowers in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

presenter-tim-spiraKeep an eye out for more exciting programs to be scheduled soon!


PAC’s Spring Hiking Series will begin in mid-February!

HikerKeep an eye on this page for upcoming hikes!


Click here for the American Hiking Society’s list of 10 essentials for hiking.

Click here for the American Hiking Society’s “Tips for your next hike.”

Click here for the American Hiking Society’s instructions on “How to use a compass.”

Click here for directions to the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center at Walnut Creek Preserve.

Click here to use Google maps to get directions to the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center from your location.

GPS coordinates to the entrance of Walnut Creek Preserve (at Aden Green Road and Herbarium Lane): 35°22’21.95” N, 82°09’46.18” W