Birds, Elk & Water bears: Get to know more about Smoky Mountains’wildlife

Smoky Mountains

(Photo via Great Smoky Mountains National park)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Smoky Mountains are home to many species and have a rich natural history. To learn more about the plants and animals with the park, Discover Life in America is hosting Science at Sugarlands.

This speaker series has an expert share more about an animal, group of animals or plants in the Smokies. The talks are followed by a Q&A and they are open to everyone. Talks take place on the third Friday of each month through October 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This year, the lectures are being held over Zoom and will be posted to YouTube following the end of the session.

July’s talk will focus on the Birds of the Smokies. Keith Watson, a former biologist with the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will take attendees under his wing and share more about the birds that fly the skies of the Smokies.

August’s talk will be lead by Paul Bartels of Warren Wilson College and focus on water bears, an under-appreciated microscopic life according to Bartels. He has spent over 15 years studying the water bears and will share some of his discoveries from within the microscopic world.

Joe Yarkovich, a wildlife biologist for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, “The Elk Guy” will share his knowledge of Elk in September’s talk. Finally, in October, Janie Bitner, a volunteer in the GSMNP Natural History Collection, will take attendees through the thousands of plants housed in the park’s herbarium.

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