From hikes to aquatic sampling, this series of activites will nurture and expand your love of the natural world! Cost: member/non-member.

June 6 “Panthertown Valley”, 10:00am – 3:00pm, Ages 12+

Join us for an exploratory hike through Panthertown Valley with Wes Burlingame. $10/15.


June 13 “Owl Prowl”, 7:30pm – ?, All ages

In collaboration with the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society.  Come to the amphitheatre for a presentation by the Carolina Raptor Center (CRC) featuring live owls.  Afterwards, stay for a night hike to find owls in the wild.  Don’t forget your flashlight.  Free, but contributions to CRC are appreciated.

  • please note that parking is extremely limited for this event; visitors are encouraged to carpool or walk from downtown parking.
  •  in the event of rain, limited seating will be on a first-come, first-serve basis


 June 20 “Biodiversity Festival”, 10:00am-3:00pm, All Ages

Celebrate the incredible biodiversity of Highlands with a day of discovery at the Highlands Biological Station.  We will learn about and search for different types of critters with faculty from Western Carolina University.  Join us for some or all of these groups:

  • Birds – 10am–11am with Dr. Jeremy Hyman
  • Bacteria – 11am–12pm with Dr. Sean O’Connell
  • Salamanders – 12pm–1pm with Dr. Joe Pechmann
  • Aquatic macro–invertebrates – 1pm-2pm with Dr. Tom Martin
  • Wrap Up – 2pm–3pm

Free and open to all ages. To register, call (828) 526-2221.


June 27 “Salamander Meander”, 9:00-10:00pm, Ages 7+

Join herpetologists on a night search to observe some of the area’s magnificent salamanders in the wild.  Bring a flashlight!  $5 per person.  Advanced registration is required due to limited space.


July 11 “Aquatic Sampling”, 10:00am-2:00pm, All Ages

Join HBS staff for a day of aquatic macroinvertebrate sampling!  We will sample and identify aquatic insects in Caney Fork, a tributary to the Tuckasegee River, and think about how data about macroinvertebrates are used for stream biomonitoring. We’ll eat lunch in the field and should finish sampling about 2:00pm.  After that, you are free to stay and swim in the Tuckasegee River (bring your swim suit and towel) at East LaPorte Park, a favorite local swimming hole. All Ages, $10/15.
  • What to Bring: A sack lunch, snack, water bottle, rain gear, sunscreen, bug repellent, extra change of clothes, and a swimsuit (optional).
  • What to Wear: Clothes and shoes that can get wet.
  • Where: Meet at the Highlands Nature Center at 9:30am for carpooling OR meet at East LaPorte Park about 5 minutes north of Tuckasegee, NC at 10:15am.
  • Direction to East LaPorte Park from Highlands:  From Highlands, travel to Cashiers on 64 East.  At the stoplight in Cashiers, turn Left on to 107 North.  Travel about 25 minutes on North 107.  As you travel, you will go through Glenville and eventually through Tuckasegee.  East La Porte Park will be on your left about 5 minutes after you pass through Tuckasegee, and just after you pass the Caney Fork General Store on your left.  It will take you about 45 minutes from the center of Highlands to get to East LaPorte Park.


July 18 “Conservation Photography Workshop”, 1:00-3:00pm, Ages 10+

Have you ever wondered how your favorite nature programs are made? Do you love movies, animals and stories? Want to make your own videos about the wildlife in your own backyard? If so, then this is the class for you.

Join award-winning nature photographer Clay Bolt as he teaches you the basics of wildlife filmmaking and editing. Students will learn the fundamentals of composition, image / sound recording and editing.  Space is limited to 10 kids and their parents.  $10/15.