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KNOXVILLE — The Smoky Mountain Field School celebrates 30 years of workshops, hikes and adventures when its 2008 season begins in March.

The partnership between the University of Tennessee and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) brings the Smokies’ extraordinary environment to persons of all ages.

“The strength of these programs comes from the enthusiasm, knowledge, dedication, experience and love of Great Smoky Mountains National Park that instructors bring to each and every course,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson.

Smoky Mountain Field School participants are provided the opportunity for non-credit learning adventures while using the forest, mountains and waters of the southern Appalachians as a classroom. The 2008 offerings include day and overnight courses in cultural history, tracking and navigation, photography, bugs, day hikes, bears, salamanders, flowers and trees. Many courses are especially designed for families.

“The Field School has enjoyed its 30 years of success thanks to the dedication of its faculty and the commitment of so many individuals who have come back year after year,” said Mary Jerger, director of UT Professional & Personal Development.

The Smoky Mountain Field School is an integral partner in Great Smoky Mountain National Park’s Resource Education program, which reaches more than 3 million people each year, including more than 79,000 informal, ranger-led programs. The Field School is able to serve another 750 or so in a more in-depth manner with a variety of instructors with specialized expertise in the natural and cultural resources of the Smokies.

“Your time with the Smoky Mountain Field School will be an enriching experience you will always treasure,” Ditmanson said. “Expand your interest in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and really get to know it as the special place it is.”

Field School courses begin March 1 and continue through the first weekend in November.

For a complete course calendar, go to For more information, contact UT Professional and Personal Development at (865) 974-0150.


Darrin Devault, University Outreach and Continuing Education, (865) 974-0270,

Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,