Humans have used fire as a tool for thousands of years to manipulate the landscape. Nonetheless, the many wildfires that impacted the Western North Carolina mountains last fall were cause for alarm for many of our residents.
The fires have been extinguished, the smoke no longer lingers in the air, but many questions remain. Will there be long-term impacts to our forests as a result of the wildfires? What is the ecological role of fire in our landscape?
If you’re interested in learning how the wildfires will affect the wildflowers and other species that inhabit our forests, or would like to witness the spring ephemeral wildflowers in their glory, join the Highlands Biological Foundation for Wildflower Whimsy on May 5 and 6.
The science behind the timing of our spring ephemeral flowers is delicate, fleeting, and beautiful. A complex interaction of environmental and biological factors – the mild nature of the previous winter, temperature above and below ground, moisture, humidity, slope, altitude, and wind, and timing of insect pollinator emergence, among other things – is responsible for this burst of activity, but balance is essential. The uncertain character of spring wildflowers in the woods in May makes the discovery of new blooms so precious.
Whether you want to learn about wildfires or wildflowers, Wildflower Whimsy promises to deliver. This celebration will deepen your appreciation of the spring ephemeral wildflowers, sharpen your observation skills, and show you some of our favorite places to discover wildflowers that have also been impacted by recent wildfires. On Friday evening, May 6, join us for a cocktail buffet, a wine reception, and native plant auctions after a lecture on wildflowers and fire ecology by Dr. Gary Kauffamn of the North Carolina Fish and Wildlife Service. The next morning, sharpen your wildflower knowledge and learn about fire ecology on a guided wildflower walk, handpicked from a selection of our favorite places to seek out new blooms, and led by local and regional fire ecology and botanical experts.
All proceeds from this event benefit the Highlands Biological Foundation, the supporting organization of the Highlands Biological Station, whose mission is to foster research and education focused on the rich natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau. Members of the Foundation receive a discount.
For more information about Wildflower Whimsy, visit highlandsbiological.org/wildflower-whimsy/ or call (828) 526-2221.