This semester, nearly one hundred Biology 111 students are studying the micro-aquatic ecosystems of Knoxville-area water samples and blogging as they go. Hannah Barry is just one of the students honing her science writing skills by describing what she sees happening to microorganisms as the aquatic environment changes.
Each spring, hundreds of pilgrims from across the country and around the world, descend upon the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to experience and celebrate the remarkable views in what is known as the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. In 1951, the year of the first annual pilgrimage, visitors atop Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, could have seen rich green hillsides and a view that stretched for 100 miles.
“Would it be feasible to promote some sort of a spring flower jubilee?” It was that simple question, posed 60 years ago, that birthed an event that now attracts people from all over the country and the world to the Great Smoky Mountains every year for the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, being held this year April 21 through 25.
Three graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences at UT Knoxville are recipients of the 2010 National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship. The NSF awards are given to students based on their potential as young scientists and for intellectual merit and broader impact. The fellowships are used to further their research.
Sixty years ago it was just a seed of an idea inside Bart Leiper’s head — a celebration of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Leiper, general manager of Gatlinburg’s Chamber of Commerce, wrote Samuel Meyer, then head of the botany department at UT Knoxville, requesting the department to arrange a so-called spring flower jubilee. Seeing the opportunity to turn the park into a giant outdoor classroom for students, botanists and nature-lovers alike, Meyer recruited professors Fred Norris and Royal Shanks to organize the first ever Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Smokies.
Every spring for the past 59 years, hundreds of nature lovers from all over the world have descended upon the Great Smoky Mountains as part of the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage. The event, which began with botanists from UT Knoxville, now involves as many as 1,000 participants.