~ Cultivating a Sense of Place ~ 
Naturalist Walks in the Botanical Gardens at Asheville


All walks meet in front of the Visitor's Center.  Comfortable shoes, rainwear, water, a magnifying lens (loupe), and a sense of curiosity are highly recommended.  Walks are free. 


Detailed descriptions:


“Botany for Gardeners” with Dr. David Clarke
March 28th, 9-11 a.m.
Sponsored by:  Friends of the Earth Garden Club


David is a botanist in the UNCA Biology Department, and is regarded as one of the premier botanists of South American floras. He has discovered more than a hundred new plant species in his ground-breaking explorations in Suriname and Guyana for the Smithsonian Institution. David possesses an unpretentious wit and an infectious style of sharing his vast knowledge of plants. Join him for a walk through the Gardens in which you will ponder Honey Locust thorns and Mastodons, Club Moss and coal, the mysteries of Oconee Bells, and many other subjects. 


“Spring/Migratory Birding” with Dr. Kitti Reynolds
April 25th, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Sponsored by:  The Men's Garden Club of Asheville


An enthusiastic ecologist and faculty member of the UNCA Environmental Studies Department, Kitti teaches numerous courses including Avian Ecology and Conservation. In her extensive travels in the U.S. and abroad, she always has her binoculars and bird books in tow. On this walk, the diverse habitats of the Gardens should provide for excellent migratory birding. You will also learn why Kitti is so popular with her students. Bring binoculars and your favorite bird guide. 


“Basic Botany and Plant Identification” with Elisabeth Feil
May 9th 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Sponsored by:  French Broad River Garden Club


Elisabeth has a Master’s Degree in Botany, has catalogued the flora of Chimney Rock State Park, and has been a long time volunteer and Board Member of the Gardens. Elisabeth’s extensive knowledge, coupled with her warm sense of humor and energetic wit always makes for a memorable walk. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide is highly recommended for this walk. 


 “Herbalism and Plant-based Medicine” with Joel Boyle
June 6th, 9-11 a.m.
Sponsored by:  The Weaverville Garden Club


Working towards a Naturopathic Doctorate degree, Joel is a Certified Herbalist and has studied at the NC School of Holistic Herbalism, and the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism. He has also been an Herbal Technician at Gaia Herbs in Brevard. Well respected in his field, Joel approaches his plant studies with great passion and enthusiasm. If you bring a notebook for recording facts and interesting anecdotes, make it a thick one. 


“Pteridophytes of the Southern Appalachians” with Jenny Lellinger
July 18th, 9-11 a.m.

Sponsored by:  The Asheville Garden Club


Jenny has taught classes at the USDA Graduate School and the Blue Ridge Naturalist Program and has led walks for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference. She also has served as President of the Western Carolina Botanical Club. Jenny will lead a walk to discover the numerous species of Ferns, Club-mosses, and related families in the Gardens. Jenny’s enthusiasm and easy-going teaching skills will help you to de-mystify the identification of these plants. The inexpensive and classic Hallowell’s Fern Finder is highly recommended. 


“Naturalist Walk in the Gardens” with Jay Kranyik
August 8th, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Become a sponsor for $100: 252-5190


Jay is a self-taught naturalist and nature photographer. He is co-author of the Flora of Dupont State Forest, NC; has conducted numerous ecological surveys for rare plants and habitats, and has led many nature-themed classes and walks. He is the Chairman of Horticulture and the Garden Manager of the Botanical Gardens at Asheville. On this slow ramble, numerous subjects will be observed and discussed, including plants, scientific names, insects, birds, ecology, weather…anything that may present itself. 


“Autumn Migratory Birding & Ecology” with Dr. James Petranka
September 19th, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Sponsored by: Four Seasons Garden Club


Jim is a Professor of Biology at UNCA, and is an excellent all around naturalist. He has degrees in Wildlife Ecology and Plant Ecology, and is the author of the classic Salamanders of the United States and Canada. He is also an avid birder and a fine bird photographer. It is no small honor that we have named one of our resident hawks in tribute to Jim. On this walk, you will discover the many species of birds that call the Gardens home year around, or just during migrations. Bring binoculars and your favorite bird guide. 


“October Dendrology” with Ron Lance
October 17th, 9-11 a.m.
Sponsored by:  D.J. Wilson Garden Design


Largely self- taught, Ron’s knowledge of trees is legendary, immense, and humbling. Ron has served as President of the International Oak Society, and has authored/illustrated 4 books; including Woody Plants of the Southeastern United States, a Winter Guide. Somehow he finds time to be the Senior Naturalist and Land Manager at the Balsam Mountain Preserve in Sylva, NC. This stroll will explore the many “woody” species in the Gardens. Identification clues, natural history, and cultivation anecdotes will be discussed. Strong Fall color will make this already great walk even better. 


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