A Season of Transformation

“We are nature. We are nature seeing nature. The red-winged blackbird flies in us.”

–Susan Griffin

 

Too often we perceive nature as outside ourselves or simply outside. How differently we think and feel when we are in place and a part of place. Autumn kindly requests that we slow down and discern change in the landscape within and all around  nature sensing nature.

 Classes online and in-person connect us to our place in the natural world.

 

Scroll down the page for a current listing.

For more information, please contact Adult Education Programs at AdultEducation@ncarboretum.org.

November Online, Onsite and Field-Based Classes

  • Tuesday, November 2, 1:30  – 3 p.m.

    More species of salamanders exist in the Southern Appalachians than anywhere else in the world. The class will begin with a lecture focusing on the biology of salamanders, reasons for the enormous diversity in this region and threats to salamander species. A self-guided lesson provided by the instructor encourages participants to take their learning into the field to investigate salamander habitats and identify different species in their areas.

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  • Three Sessions: ONLINE  Tuesday & Thursday, November 2 – 4, 10 – 11:30 a.m. 

    No science background is necessary for this fascinating look at contemporary science writing focused on the night sky. Astronomer Stephan Martin leads this exploration of evocative and skillful essays about the astronomical phenomena visible in our night skies and will help participants unpack some of the science they encounter in the writings.

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  • ONLINE  Thursday, November 4, 1 – 2:30 p.m

    FIELD  Experience Friday, November 5, 1 – 4 p.m.

    Available in a Package or Individual Sessions. Hurry: Package registration closes November 4.

    How do wild animals survive a wildfire? Why do some species of trees remain alive while others perish in the flames. How has a history of periodic burning helped shape the species composition of our present forests? Ecologist Dan Lazar leads this online class that includes an illustrated introduction to the fundamentals of fire ecology in the Blue Ridge. Combine this class with the small-group field experience for an opportunity to observe changes in forest community structure at a recent burn site.

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  • ONSITE  Two Sessions: Saturday & Sunday, November 6 – 7, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    Botanical illustration provides plant lovers an opportunity to slow down, to shift from looking to seeing, and to find pleasure in exploring details of life the busy mind filters out. These behaviors make botanical illustration a powerful tool for learning plant identification. Studies show that drawing is a power mnemonic strategy for improving memory, and undoubtedly trains the eye of the artist to recognize patterns and detail so critical in the process of identifying plants. Join landscape architect and artist Preston Montague for a botanical illustration class focused on learning basic tenets of plant ID using botanical illustration. Reinforce both the practices of identification and representation. Open to individuals of all skill levels in both plant ID and drawing.

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  • ONSITE  Saturday, November 13,  10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

    Take a Hemlock Hike in the Arboretum forest with staff from Hemlock Restoration Initiative, who will showcase hemlocks recently treated around Bent Creek Road, Carolina Mountain Trail, and the National Native Azalea Collection. Along with discussing the importance of our native hemlocks and the threat they face from hemlock woolly adelgid, we will also talk about the treatment of the hemlocks in this forested part of the Arboretum, including methods and precautions used near streams. Take advantage of a great opportunity to learn about hemlock conservation in the region and see the natural and recreational value that hemlocks provide.

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  • ONLINE  Thursday, November 18, 3 – 4 p.m.

    Join Adult Education Programs Manager Rebecca Caldwell for an overview of the current Arboretum Reads selection. Author Suzanne Simard, the world’s leading forest ecologist, is often compared to Rachel Carson, another pioneering scientist who conveys complex science in a way that is both accessible and profound. Simard brilliantly illuminates the fascinating awareness of forests as social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks. At the center of it all are the Mother Trees, the mysterious, powerful forces that sustain the others that surround them. Arboretum Reads will function as a network as well, connecting people with similar reading interests in small groups meeting online through the winter to learn and grow in community.

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  • ONLINE  Friday, November 19, 1 – 3 p.m.

    FIELD  Experience Sunday, November 21, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

    Available in a Package or Individual Sessions. Hurry: Package registration closes November 19.

    Why do woodpeckers drum on gutters? Are they really “eating” the house? The seven species of woodpeckers here in Western North Carolina range from the tiny downy to the large and iconic pileated. This package includes an online class and a field experience on the Arboretum grounds. Expert guide Kevin Burke of Ventures Birding Tours leads a highly informative and entertaining in-depth study of this fascinating group of birds!

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  • ONSITE  Saturday, November 20,  1 – 3:30 p.m.

    Autumn is a time of great seasonal change. This hike is located at the Arboretum on a flat trail that accommodates those with limited mobility who walk with support. It is not appropriate for wheelchairs. A slow and steady pace set by two experienced naturalists, Marilyn Kolton and Lou Dwarshuis, allows participants to observe closely the signs of seasonal change in the forest, including fall color, seed dispersal and fruits, wildlife seen or heard on the trail. Understand how nature prepares for the deep time of winter.  

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  • ONLINE  Sunday, November 21, 2 – 3:15 p.m.

    Available to register by individual session. Additional date in Autumn Series includes December 12; 2 – 3:15 p.m.

    Join us online for this guided lying-down meditation to induce full-body relaxation and peaceful states of awareness. This practice will help you sleep better, release anxiety, and access inner calm, compassion, and clarity. Each session begins with very gentle tension-relieving stretches that can be done seated in a chair or on the floor. No prior yoga experience is required, and students who are working with injury, illness and physical limitations will find this class to be highly accessible.

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  • ONLINE  Sunday, November 28, 8 – 9 p.m.

    Stargazing and social distancing come together to form a unique virtual stargazing community as we gather to explore the constellations, bright stars, planets and deep sky objects of the autumn night sky with local astronomer Stephan Martin as our guide. All you need is a smartphone or mobile device, a free downloadable astronomy app, or an internet connection to join in via Zoom to enjoy the wonders of the night sky from the safety of your own stargazing location. Steve will point out some of the celestial wonders of the night sky during during this time. You might even see a meteor or two streak across and see Orion the Hunter rise in the night sky!

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  • ONLINE  One Session Remaining:  Tuesday, November 30, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

    A series that traverses centuries and philosophies, continents and cultural boundaries in the company of acclaimed bonsai artists for an in-depth look at the sensibilities shaping a timeless art in the present day. Jennifer Price closes the series with “Women in Bonsai.”  Perceiving gender as a kind of border crossing, Jennifer will respond to the questions she is often asked as an artist who happens to be a woman excelling in her chosen medium of bonsai, one that happens to be known for predominantly male practitioners. Join us and consider what it is to move beyond boundaries, imposed either by self or culture, to be poised before the work you were meant to do. Poise is something Jennifer knows about. As a former professional ballet dancer, she considers how one art form – ballet – influences the flow of creating in bonsai: “As a ballerina I had always looked at movement. So the line of the trees fascinated me right from the get go….I think I was attracted to that – I saw the movement within the trees, within the trunk line, and kind of just took it from there….I think all trees kind of dance.”

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December Online, Onsite and Field-Based Classes

  • FIELD  Wednesday, December 1, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    The winter season offers easy birding with no leaves to obscure the view, but many of our spring and summer migrants have left for warmer climes. Exciting birding still occurs in western North Carolina though as flocks of winter ducks move into our area feeding and resting in the area’s lakes and reservoirs, cryptically-colored sparrows call from the thickets and open fields and raptors become obvious. This class will meet at the Arboretum and, weather permitting, head out into the field for nearby winter birding locations.

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  • ONLINE  Wednesday, December 1, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

    Remote, challenging and so remarkably beautiful that its poetic namesake often found himself at a loss for words, the John Muir Trail is considered among the great hikes in North America. Extending 224 miles from Yosemite National Park southward to the lower 48’s highest peak, Mount Whitney, the trail crosses through towering mountain passes and rich alpine valleys filled with a diverse array of wildflowers, uncounted montane lakes and streams, glaciers and complex geology and landforms. Rachel Muir will take us through the heart of this landscape, into the iconic Evolution Valley, up Muir Pass and will explore other landmarks, as well as the ecology of the High Sierras and the history of the John Muir Trail.

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  • ONLINE  Thursday, December 2, 1 – 3 p.m.

    These two noted mammals are mysterious and intriguing for many reasons. One for its disappearance from the Southern Appalachians and the other for its emergence in a region it was not known to inhabit until relatively recently. Naturalist Carlton Burke provides an informative  class that separates fact from folklore.

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  • ONLINE  Friday, December 3, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

    There’s no sweeter way to wake in the morning than to a chorus of birdsong surrounding your home. Sarah Coury brings her background in wildlife conservation and her passion for creating multi-use garden spaces that are kind to all critters to this informative class. She will cover how to attract and support a diversity of bird species to your property through gardening, including intentional design, plant selection, maintenance techniques, and the creation of habitat features.

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  • ONLINE  Monday, December 6, 6 – 7 p.m.

    Travel across the state without leaving home! Join us with co-host Malaprop’s Bookstore to learn more about North Carolina: Land of Water, Land of Sky, a newly-published title from UNC Press, our venerable co-affiliate in the UNC System. Sign on with the book’s author and contributors for a lively online program, a travelogue that highlights the beauty and the bounty of the Old North State.

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  • ONLINE  Sunday, December 12, 2 – 3:15 p.m.

    Available to register by individual session. 

    Join us online for this guided lying-down meditation to induce full-body relaxation and peaceful states of awareness. This practice will help you sleep better, release anxiety, and access inner calm, compassion, and clarity. Each session begins with very gentle tension-relieving stretches that can be done seated in a chair or on the floor. No prior yoga experience is required, and students who are working with injury, illness and physical limitations will find this class to be highly accessible.

    LEARN MORE

On Demand Classes

  • ON DEMAND

    Want to rejuvenate an older houseplant or share your plant with a friend? Arboretum Production Greenhouse Manager June Smathers-Jolley covers the basics of propagating houseplants through seeds, cuttings, division and air layering in this informative video, produced in-house by the Education Department’s creative team and available to watch “on demand” at your own convenience through September 30. Whether you have a colorful coleus, an aging aglaonema, a peppy peperomia, or a savvy succulent, you will pick up some proven techniques for expanding your houseplant collection.

    Register Here

  • ON DEMAND

    Arboretum Production Greenhouse Manager June Smathers-Jolley leads this engaging and packed-full-of-useful-information class on how to be a good plant parent to your houseplants. June shares on-trend resources from the horticulture industry, popular magazines, and social media that will make you want to adopt a few new family members of the botanical variety. Topics to be covered include selecting the best plants for different locations and conditions in your home, proper watering techniques, repotting, fertilizing, and pest identification/management.

    Register Here

  • ON DEMAND

    Follow along in this on-demand class anytime to take a break and focus on nature and love in this season. Begin with a brief online introduction to mandalas, practice a loving kindness meditation, and have a nature experience from your home, or in your neighborhood, the Arboretum, or elsewhere. Then settle in to design your own mandala inspired by nature and loving kindness.

    Register Here

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