25th Annual Leaf Lookers GEMBOREE :: Friday, October 17 - Sunday, October 19 at the Macon County Community Building

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Outdoors

The Land Trust for the Little Tennessee and the Macon County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) cordially invite landowners to a free landowner “Shade Your Stream” field day on Tuesday, Sept. 17. A free lunch will also be provided.

Shade Your Stream is a new initiative of LTLT and its partners. At its most basic level, it is a promotional campaign to encourage landowners to restore or maintain a healthy buffer of trees and shrubs along their streams, in order to protect properties from erosion and protect streams from pollution. At a broader level, it includes numerous land management and stream restoration practices and incentive programs to benefit both water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.

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The fifth annual Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom, a familyfriendly paddling competition on a calm section of the Tuckaseigee River near the Western Carolina University campus, will be held on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 14.

Competition will begin at 9 a.m. just upstream of the Old Cullowhee Road bridge on the back side of campus. Categories will include single open canoe, double open touring canoe, decked double canoe, parent and child canoe, men’s single kayak, women’s single kayak, kid’s kayak (age 12 and under) and stand-up paddleboard.

Nine gates will be set up for paddlers to negotiate on flat but moving water. Canoes, paddles and personal flotation devices will be provided, but kayakers and paddle boarders are expected to bring their own boats. An awards ceremony will begin 30 minutes after the last run and a raffle will be held.

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Timothy P. Spira, author of “Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, & Georgia,” will speak at the Highlands Biological Foundation’s 14th annual Native Plant Symposium, scheduled for Sept. 13 and 14. This book takes a holistic approach to plant identification that better reflects the natural world, where plants do not live in isolation. This same approach is important for gardeners in the southern Appalachian Mountains and around the world.

Dr. Spira emphasizes that – regardless of whether you are a wildflower enthusiast, naturalist, student, gardener, expert or amateur – plant identification is only the beginning. There is always something new for gardeners to discover. By recognizing the vegetation associated with particular habitats, you can begin to read the landscape around you. Recognizing the vegetation leads to a better understanding of the conditions in the landscape – wet or dry soils, shade or sun, slope and aspect – which, in turn, can enhance your garden, your gardening experience, and the wildlife around you. Interactions between plants and animals are diverse and numerous, especially in the southern Appalachian Mountains, one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America. No other mountain region in North America boasts as many species of plants as the southern Appalachians.

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There's nothing like the thrill of flying along a cable at more than 40 miles per hour, suspended only by a harness 20 stories high in the air, and skidding into a tip-toe landing on a stump on the other side of the gorge a quarter of a mile away to get the adrenaline pumping and make a person appreciate life and all the experiences it has to offer.

To the staff at Highlands Aerial park, it's no longer a big deal. Excessively fun, but otherwise just another day at work, only with a death-defying commute over a gorge instead of fighting traffic.

Located on 44 acres atop High Holly Mountain just south of Highlands, Highlands Aerial Park has created "a world class botanical experience in the trees."

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