2012 Teacher Education Courses:

Mountain Biodiversity with Karen Kandl (Western Carolina University)  June 25 – 29

We invite educators of all levels to enroll in this engaging study of the biogeography and biodiversity of the southern Appalachian mountains.  Mountain Biodiversity focuses on the theory and practice of conservation biology as it relates to this unique regional environment.  Topics include southern Appalachian historical geology, regional biogeography, principles of ecology and evolution, biodiversity assessment, and conservation biology.

Prerequisites: none.

course credit: can be taken for 2 graduate credits or 3 CEUs

registration and credit fees:  Registration fee for teacher education courses is $150.  Graduate credit may be obtained through Western Carolina University for an additional $85 per course.  Non-WCU students will also be charged an additional $50 application fee.

Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.


2012 Schedule of Summer Courses and Workshops:

Please note that courses not listed as “full” may still have housing limitations.

Courses are offered for four semester hours of credit through UNC-Chapel Hill (undergraduate credit) or Western Carolina University (graduate credit).  Current WCU students may take courses for undergraduate credit through WCU. Workshops may be taken for two semester hours of credit through Western Carolina University.  The fee is $85 per workshop plus a $50 application fee for non-WCU students.

Please call 828-526-2602 before sending application.


Biodiversity and Conservation of Birds with Rob Bierregaard (UNC-Charlotte)  May 7 – 19

Bird diversity is extremely high in the southern Appalachian mountain and Blue Ridge Escarpment region, an area that includes a wide range of plant community types over a nearly 4000-foot range in elevation.  This basic course in ornithology covers morphology, systematics, ecology, conservation, and behavior of birds.  Numerous field trips in the local area will acquaint students with the rich bird fauna of the region.

Prerequisites: Introductory biology, ecology, or permission of instructor.  Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.


Climate Change Ecology with Robert Warren (Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies)  May 21 – June 2

Historical climate regimes, from early Tertiary tropical conditions to Pleistocene ice ages, have contributed to the distribution and legendary richness of species and communities in the southern Appalachians. We will examine how southern Appalachian biological communities may shift in location, composition and phenology as the current global climate rapidly warms. The course will include lecture and multiple field trips to locations that will illustrate past and present links between species (e.g., flowering plants, ants, salamanders, trees), ecological communities (e.g., spruce-fir forests, ephemeral herbs) and climate (temperature and precipitation).  Students will learn how to assess and quantify ecological effects of climate change, including the use of phenology gardens and construction of passive warming chambers.

Prerequisites: general biology, ecology, or permission of instructor.  Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.


Biology of Plethodontid Salamanders  with Ken Kozak (University of Minnesota) & Joe Pechmann (Western Carolina University)  June 4 –  16

The southern Appalachians are renowned for the diversity of their salamander fauna.  This course acquaints students with plethodontid salamanders and shows how studies of these animals have enhanced our understanding of such major evolutionary and ecological topics as the reconstruction of evolutionary histories, species concepts, life history evolution, and community structure.  Each topic will include lectures, field and laboratory exercises, and discussions of original research papers.  Field trips to significant salamander locations in different southern Appalachian mountain ranges highlight the course.

Prerequisites: Introductory biology, ecology, or permission of instructor.  Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.


Mammals of the Southern Appalachian Mountains with Ed Pivorun (Clemson University)  June 18 – 30

The southern Appalachian mountains support the richest mammalian fauna in eastern North America, from tiny shrews and bats to large carnivores and ungulates.  This advanced zoology course combines lectures with field and laboratory exercises designed to expose students to the remarkable diversity and importance of mammals in the southern mountain region, focusing on aspects of mammalian habitat requirements, reproductive and foraging behaviors, evolutionary relationships, and roles in regional ecosystems.

Prerequisites: Introductory biology, ecology, or permission of instructor.  Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.


Terrestrial Mollusks of the Southern Appalachians with Amy Van Devender & Wayne Van Devender (Appalachian State University)  July  2 – 14

The southern Appalachian region is a biodiversity hotspot for land snails and slugs. This course will concentrate on the morphology, systematics, ecology and biogeography of this diverse group. Following introductory lectures introducing students to terminology and highlighting common species, most days will be devoted to field trips and learning collection techniques. Identification workshops will occur in the evenings. Students will be expected to produce a small collection of identified shells. Those with personal collections are encouraged to bring unusual or problematic species to share with the class.

Prerequisites: Introductory biology, ecology, or permission of instructor.  Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.


Spiders of the Southern Appalachians with Kefyn M. Catley (Western Carolina University)  July 16 – 28

This course will present a comprehensive introduction to spider systematics, morphology, behavior, physiology, and ecology. Afternoons are devoted to fieldwork, with the objective of assembling a significant collection of the extraordinarily rich local spider fauna while studying spider ecology and behavior. Most evenings will be available for students to work on identification.  Working in small groups students will be required to undertake a short, supervised self-selected research project investigating some aspect of spider biology, the results of which will be shared at the end of the course.

Prerequisites: Introductory biology, ecology, or permission of instructor.  Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.


Fleshy Fungi of the Highlands Plateau with Andrew S. Methven (Eastern Illinois University)  July 30 – August 11

This course introduces students to the fleshy ascomycetes and basidiomycetes that occur in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of macro- and micro-morphological features to aid in species identification.  Course activities will consist of a morning lecture on identification, ecology, and phylogeny of fleshy fungi, followed by field work in morning and laboratory identification in the afternoon.  Students will assemble an impressive field collection showcasing the rich diversity of fleshy fungi found in the Highlands region.

Prerequisites: Introductory biology, ecology, or permission of instructor.  Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.


Taxonomy and Natural History of Southern Appalachian Mayflies, Stoneflies, and Caddisflies with John C. Morse (Clemson University) & Christy Jo Geraci (NSF and National Museum of Natural History)  August 6 – 18

Natural history and taxonomy of mayflies (Ephemeroptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera), and caddisflies (Trichoptera), including systematics, ecology, and behavior of larvae and adults, with emphasis on those aspects important in ecological studies, biological monitoring of water quality, and sport fishing.  Insects will be collected from mountain stream habitats, and identifications will be done in the laboratory.  Students also will have the option to learn the basics of DNA barcoding as it applies to aquatic entomology, including how to prepare specimens for DNA sequencing, how to database specimens and labels using Excel and Google Earth, and how to analyze and interpret barcode data using BOLD software (www.boldsystems.org).

Prerequisites: general biology, entomology, or permission of instructor. Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.


2012 Summer Workshops:

Molecular Methods Workshop for Biologists with Ron Michaelis (Western Carolina University)  May 14 –18

Molecular methods are becoming standard for many research applications in the biological sciences. This workshop focuses on the basic methods that are used by biologists for phylogenetics, population genetics, and other types of studies. The workshop is housed in a new molecular lab facility on the HBS campus. Space is limited to 8 students.

Prerequisites: general biology and chemistry. Click here to see last year’s syllabus.


Natural History Illustration Workshop with Nancy Lowe (Artist and Outreach Coordinator, Discover Life)  May 28 – June 1

Learning to render nature’s details with accuracy is a valuable skill for students of natural history at every level.  Using a wealth of material from the Station and its environs, participants in this workshop will be introduced to conventions of illustrating plants, fungi, insects and other invertebrates, and some vertebrates.  Working in the field as well as the lab, participants will explore techniques in graphite pencil, pen and ink, color pencil and watercolor.  Special problems will include changes of scale, complex geometries such as spirals and branching patterns, and challenging surface textures such as iridescence, translucence, velvet, gloss, and waxy bloom.   Materials provided.   Note:  This workshop is not available for academic credit.

Prerequisites:   None.  Click here to see the course syllabus and schedule.