For all those nature-lovers out there, Spring is always the best part of the year. And with everything in full bloom, it’s the perfect time to celebrate the Smokies’ natural offerings.
From April 23-27, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain Association will present their 63rd annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. Weekend gardeners to more serious botanists can come learn from some of the nation’s leading botanical experts as well as Appalachian wildlife authorities.
“It is a rare opportunity for those with a personal love of flowers to have the same access to leaders in the field as researchers,” said Ken McFarland, University of Tennessee professor and botanist. “With seminars and intimate guided tours, each participant will expand his or her skills and knowledge of the unmatched flora and fauna of the Smokies.”
Since 1951, the Wildflower Pilgrimage offers over 150 programs including an array of guided hiking tours and instructional walks tailored to meet individual ability, along with demonstrations and guest lecturers educated in the local fauna. These tours showcase the abundant varieties of wildflowers, ferns, plants, trees, mosses and shrubs, as well as birds, amphibians and reptiles – all native species in the Great Smoky Mountains.
While most classes take place in a more natural setting amongst the Smokies, a number of educational classroom sessions take place in the W.L. Mills Conference Center in downtown Gatlinburg.
“The Wildflower Pilgrimage is always an exciting time in our town,” said Dave Perella, executive director of the Gatlinburg Department of Tourism. “The Convention Center is transformed into a hub of learning and celebration of the Great Smoky Mountain’s natural botanical beauty. We look forward to the Pilgrimage each year.
Educational programs and entertainment in the evenings will round out the week’s events in Gatlinburg and the Smokies. Each is sponsored by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and GSMA, the City of Gatlinburg, Friends of the Smokies, Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, the University of Tennessee Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society and the Gatlinburg Garden Club.
Contact Info: 865-436-7318