Nature Notes

Native Plants for SaleFeatured

$5 each – all proceeds will go to the BRNN

Charlotte Caplan has thinned out some of her native plants and is selling pots of three easy-to-grow species from her home in Montford as a fund-raiser for BRNN. Call her on 828-236-3817, or email to arrange pick-up.

From the right:

1. Green and Gold – Chrysogonum virginianum

This delightful little plant in the Aster family spreads by shallow stolons to form a dense, low, ground cover studded with 1-inch golden yellow flowers in May & June. It’s quite rare in the wild, but will make itself at home pretty much anywhere in your yard.

2. Foamflower – Tiarella cordifolia

This member of the saxifrage family will spread to form a ground cover too, with enchanting palest pink flower spikes in April/May. It will do best in a consistently damp, shady or partly shady location.

3. Green (or Cutleaf) Coneflower – Rudbeckia lacianata

This is Sochan, prized by the Cherokee as a delicious and healthy green vegetable. Grows up to 5ft tall with showy 2-inch yellow flowers. Harvest the fresh green tips in May/June, then let the bee-attracting flowers develop from the lower leaf axils. It forms perennial clumps which can easily be divided, and its seeds will readily germinate to form new clumps if you let them (note: the first year seedlings have rounded leaves, quite unlike the deeply lobed leaves in the photo). Likes moist sunny places – but once established it will grow practically anywhere.

Citizen Science

Citizen Science Needs You!Featured

cit·i·zen sci·ence


 1. the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists

Please check out “Resources” on the top bar for volunteer opportunities such as this one from Wild South.

The more eyes the better! Anyone can become involved in this citizen science project. Most of us carry our phones and use them as our camera while hiking and walking. Here is an easy way to help out!

Email for the  Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Citizen Science Protocol and a PDF of the Bumble Bees of the Eastern US Guide.

Here are a few initial steps that you need to complete to get started searching and submitting observations to Wild South`s iNaturalist project.

1) If you don’t have an iNaturalist account then go set one up!

2) Once you have an account set up, email your user name and he will invite you to Wild South`s iNaturalist project (this is where you will submit your observations).

3) Once you’ve set that account up and received Morgan`s invitation to join the project, then you’re all set to go. Just be sure to read through the protocol to see what kinds of photos you need to capture and what kind of information you’ll be entering to the project and then go out and find some bumble bees!

A note on materials: A small glass jar that fits your camera lens is needed. Morgan can provide you with one or you can pick up a clear mason jar at the store.

A fact sheet on the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee is available from:
U.S.Fish & Wildlife Service.




Hemlock Restoration Initiative would like to invite you to celebrate Earth Month  by volunteering at one or both of our upcoming work days.

On Thursday, April 26th from 10 am to 4 pm, we will be working at the Forest Restoration Alliance research and breeding facility in Waynesville, NC.  We will work in and around their greenhouses to help with their selective breeding program, which may include repotting trees in the greenhouse, helping prepare their new indoor facility, weeding or other maintenance in their outdoor growing areas, and general work maintaining the greenhouses. Volunteers will also get a tour of the facility by researcher Ben Smith and learn about their efforts to restore hemlocks.  This day will not involve pesticides.  Learn more about the FRA at

On Sunday, April 29th from 9 am to 3 pm, we will be chemically treating hemlocks in the Green River Game Land, home of the famous Narrows, a draw for whitewater kayakers from around the country.  If you are a landowner thinking about treating your own trees, this is a great opportunity to be trained in the soil drench method.  We will be working off-trail but on flat terrain, and no special equipment or training is required.

To RSVP for either or both of these volunteer days, please email Thom at with the number in your party and a contact number for the morning of the work day.  More details about the meeting location and what to bring will be provided when you RSVP.

Please feel free to share this email with other interested volunteers or point them to our events page,, where they can learn more.  And if you no longer wish to receive emails about volunteer opportunities, please email indicating what kinds of messages, if any, you would like to receive.


Thom Green
AmeriCorps Stewardship and Volunteer Engagement Associate
Hemlock Restoration Initiative
Office: 828-252-4783
Like us on Facebook: Save The Hemlocks

Coming Up

Waterfall Hike – Tuesday, May 15, 2018Featured

BRNN members come join us and see: 
3 waterfalls in 3 counties


Winter Courthouse Falls

Ken will lead the tour to,
Courthouse Falls (.7 mile walk) in Pisgah N.F. Transylvania County
Dills Falls (.3-mile walk) in Nantahala N. F. Jackson County
Laurie Falls (6-mile walk) in Middle Prong Wilderness, Haywood County

We will do the first two falls in the morning leaving the longer walk to those willing in the afternoon. Each of the Forest Service roads to access the waterfalls are gravel with limited parking. THIS IS AN ALL-DAY EVENT. Bring your lunch.  Ken suggests bringing water shoes to cool off and to take great pictures of these falls! Members only.

Carpool 8:45 AM at the Mills River Ingles on Brevard Road (I-26 at Exit 33).
The second meeting location is at the Courthouse Valley Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway, Canton, N.C. 28716 at 10:00 AM.
This is the first overlook on the left after you cross N.C. 215 at Beech Gap. RAIN DATE: Friday, May 18.

Dills Falls

Laurie Falls


Trillium erectum-Plant feature for April

Trillium erectum

By Barbara Harrison Certified Blue Ridge Naturalist

Trilliums are one of my favorite Spring ephemerals and I was looking forward to seeing them on the Blue Ridge Naturalist Network Annual Spring Wildflower walk to Baxter /Big Creek in the Great Smokey Mountains and we certainly did. On this walk we saw 77 species of wildflowers and one species I was excited to see was Trillium erectum, also known as Wake-robin or “Stinking Willie”. Like all trilliums its parts are in groups of three (3)-3 leaves, 3 petals, 3 sepals. The flowers of this species can be maroon or white and we saw groupings of the white variety on the Baxter Creek trail.

The species name erectum refers to the erect flower stalk and the name “Stinking Willie” refers to the pungent odor of the flowers which has been described as smelling like a wet dog. As with other flowers that have a fetid odor, “Stinking Willie” trilliums are pollinated by various kinds of flies and beetles attracted to carrion and other foul-smelling deposits.

As with all Trilliums, and other early blooming Spring flowers, the growing exposure of the sun during early spring, increases the photosynthesis of the plant, and the sugars produced are stored in the leaves. These sugars are the source of nutrients for the development of the fruit in summer. Seeds within the fruit mature in mid-late summer and are then dispersed by ants.

Trillium erectum can be found on wooded slopes at mid to high elevations. Throughout April and early May, many coves at lower elevations in the Smokey Mountains have stunning displays of these elegant three-petaled flowers with their stately three leaves, a sure sign that Spring has finally arrived in the mountains.



Spring is in the Air!

Photos by Regina Bland


Spotted Gentian


Photos by Scott Dean

Dwarf Crested Iris

Joyce Kilmer on April 16!

Photos by Randy Richardson

Wood Anemone

Giant Chickweed