When Jeff Tome, Audubon Center and Sanctuary's senior naturalist, participated in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's Wildflower Pilgrimage last spring, he knew it was something he wanted to share.
The public is invited to Audubon's First Friday Lunch Bunch on Friday when Tome will explore the mountains, the history, and the multitude of strange plants and animals found in the park through photos, stories and more.
The 800 square miles of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have sections of rainforest, species found nowhere else in the world, and a history unique among parks.
At the Audubon Center and Sanctuary’s First Friday Lunch Bunch, Jeff Tome, Audubon senior naturalist, will share his participation in the Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. His presentation on this unique area will include visuals, like the picture above of a fire pink flower.
A naturalist at Audubon since 1996, Tome said there are wildflowers and salamanders found in the Smoky Mountains that are endemic, meaning they do not exist outside the park. What seems common while walking in the park may not be seen even a short 15-mile drive outside the park boundaries.
"As a volunteer at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage for more than a decade," Tome said, "I knew that it was founded by Gib Burgeson after he went to the Wildflower Pilgrimage in the 1950s. So going to the Wildflower Pilgrimage was not only an amazing experience: it took me back to the roots of something that is so important to me and other local folks."
Following the 11 a.m. presentation, coffee and tea will be provided for a bring-your-own brown bag lunch. The fee for attending is $5 for Audubon members and $7 for non-members.
The Audubon Center and Sanctuary is at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren.
For more information, call 569-2345 or visit jamestownaudubon.org.