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AARP AARP States North Carolina Veterans

AARP and NPCA Present “Walk with a Naturalist” Series

Portrait of Active Seniors Outdoors

For Veterans and Military Families

Wildflowers, songbirds, and raptors, all within easy driving and walking distance in Buncombe County––what’s not to like? AARP Mountain Region is teaming up with National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) to offer three separate walks with a naturalist, each one focusing on a local natural treasure at its peak time during the year.

Big Ivy Wildflower Outing
On April 18, take an easy walk with naturalists from NPCA and Friends of Big Ivy in Pisgah National Forest near Barnardsville. This walk takes advantage of a drivable forest service road in an old-growth area known as Big Ivy. (Ivy is the local name for the mountain laurel shrub.) We’ll take a short walk to look at wildflowers growing along lush hillsides, with experts helping us identify them and tell how and why they flourish there. We'll also learn about the local effort to protect the 18,000 acre Craggy Wilderness and National Scenic Area.

Big Ivy Songbird Outing
Several national and local conservation organizations have teamed up to conduct songbird research in Big Ivy, home to a variety of ecosystems for local and migrating birds. On July 11, you can join biologists as they share their early findings from this research and explain the technology that identifies bird species nesting in our study area. This outing will involve a short walk to look and listen for birds.

Hawk-Watching Along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Each fall, thousands of raptors including hawks, eagles, falcons and vultures migrate down the Appalachian Mountain chain to their wintering grounds. One of the greatest wildlife spectacles in North America is the Broad-winged hawk migration, which peaks in late September. Broad-winged hawks congregate in large groups known as kettles as they migrate to Central and South America. Join us along the Blue Ridge Parkway as we look for and learn about these amazing birds. Binoculars are recommended but not required. There will be an optional short hike along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.







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