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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2015 / 03 

Summer course immerses students in Great Smoky Mountains ecology

March 31, 2015

A man stands at the foot of a waterfall
Course participants will explore the natural wonders of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Virginia Tech students can spend a week in Great Smoky Mountains National Park this summer participating in the equivalent of summer camp for scientists.

The three-credit course offered by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation gives participants the chance to study the area’s unique ecosystems and ecology with a faculty member who has been conducting research there for over 50 years. Course costs include $493 for food and lodging, plus $1,134 for in-state tuition and fees (with a campus fee waiver form) or $2,871 for out-of-state tuition and fees.

Held at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in Tennessee Aug. 9-15, the course is open to students interested in learning and exploring the natural environment. Join instructor Donald Linzey and students from the University of Georgia and Purdue University for seven days of sessions taught by National Park Service personnel, institute instructors, and professors from each university.

Linzey, a retired professor of biology at Wytheville Community College who currently teaches in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, has been conducting research in Great Smoky Mountains National Park since 1964. He has written and published two books on the mammals of the park as well as an extensive volume on the park’s natural history. This will be the ninth year Linzey has brought a group to the institute.

Course sessions for Natural History of the Great Smoky Mountains (course number FIW 2984, CRN 72572) will include:

  • Field journaling techniques;
  • Air quality;
  • All taxa biodiversity inventory;
  • Forest ecology;
  • Amphibians, reptiles, birds of the Smokies;
  • Wildlife management;
  • High country ecology;
  • Bear research;
  • Stream ecology; and
  • Tree identification.

 The course has been approved as a substitute for Wildlife Field Biology (FIW 2324). For more information, email Donald Linzey or call 540-951-9717.

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