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Blue Ridge Parkway hosts Naturalist Day

Article Published: Jul. 19, 2012 | Modified: Jul. 19, 2012
Blue Ridge Parkway hosts Naturalist Day

Rangers with the National Park Service will lead a number of fun and interactive programs at various spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway this week.

Photo submitted

On the first weekend in August, the Blue Ridge Parkway will be hosting its first ever Naturalist Day.

The all-day event will take place at Julian Price Memorial Park and is in conjunction with the parkway’s Family Camp.

“The day will be full of great programs for the entire family,” said Ranger Susan Brown. “From birding to astronomy, the day is designed for people to really experience what makes the Blue Ridge Parkway so special.”

The event will begin on the night of Aug. 3 at the Julian Price Park Amphitheater. Rangers will welcome attendees before the local band, The Martin Laurels, take over with their renditions of your favorite bluegrass, gospel and traditional mountain music.

“Twenty families will be able to camp for free at Price Park on the nights of Aug. 3 and 4 as part of Family Camp,” Brown said. “This offer is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. As soon as we put the fliers up, three families reserved their spots for the weekend. So, there are 17 slots left to fill.”

You can register for the event by calling (828) 963-5911. Hopefully, you’ll be one of the first 20 families. If not, you can reserve a campsite in advance at

Naturalist Day, on Aug. 4, is open to the public, whether camping or not. The programs offered are free of charge, and there are a lot of them.

Hourly programs will be offered throughout the day. Many will be led by the park’s interpretive rangers, with a few special guests.

High Country Audubon vice president and parkway biologist, Bob Cherry, will lead an 8 a.m. hike on the Boone Fork Trail.

James Shaffer, a professional nature photographer, will lead a hike that he’s calling “How to Capture Nature’s Beauty” at 9 a.m. from the Price Park Amphitheater.

Local storyteller Doyle Pace will share his legends of flora and fauna on stage at the amphitheater at 4 p.m.

The day will wrap up at 9:15 p.m. when the Greensboro Astronomy Club hosts a “Star Party” at the Julian Price picnic area.

If you have a question concerning flora and fauna, please email ( All of your questions will be answered. One will be featured next week. See you on the trails.

Amy Renfranz is an interpretive park guide on the Blue Ridge Parkway. She is a certified naturalist through the Yellowstone Institute and a certified environmental educator in the state of North Carolina. Her comments are made independently and do not reflect the views of the National Park Service.

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