Presentation topics

Exploring Waterfalls and Wildflowers. Waterfalls are natural magnets for hikers, photographers, and nature enthusiasts. The constantly falling water, sparkling light, and swirling spray associated with waterfalls is exhilarating, soothing, and inspiring. In this presentation, Tim will discuss the lure of waterfalls, including the plants associated with the spray cliff community, as well as a selection of interesting wildflowers one might encounter on a waterfall hike in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Wildflower Ecology: A Step Beyond Identification. While it’s fun to know the names of plants, it’s also satisfying to learn about the many interesting ways that plants adapt to their environments. In this presentation, Tim helps us learn to interpret common features of native plants. For example, have you ever wondered why spring wildflowers typically emerge and flower several weeks before trees and other woody plants leaf out? Why leaves vary in size, color, and shape? Or, why fruits change color as they age (and why some fruits are sweet and others are not)? Seeking answers to questions such as these adds a new and powerful dimension to your understanding and appreciation of wildflowers as well as another layer of fun.

Bees, Butterflies, Birds, and More: Interactions Between Plants and Pollinators. Have you ever wondered why the flowers of different plant species are so incredibly variable in size, shape, color, and fragrance? It turns out that pollination has a strong influence on the variability of flowers. In this presentation, Tim will discuss major pollination strategies, including adaptations of flowering plants to various pollinator groups, including bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, and hummingbirds. Along the way, you’ll gain an increased appreciation for the many interesting interactions between plants and their pollinators.

Favorite Spring Wildflowers in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Botanist Tim Spira will show beautiful photographs of common and not so common spring wildflowers including trilliums, trout lily, wild ginger, mayapple, bearcorn, Jack-in-the-pulpit, pink lady’s slipper, Oconee bells, and many others. In addition to identification, Tim will discuss interesting features for each plant species.

Summer Wildflowers Along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Botanist Tim Spira will show photographs of summer wildflowers one might encounter along the Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina, including Catawba rhododendron, Turk’s cap lily, green-headed coneflower, black cohosh, Carolina phlox, Indian paintbrush, flowering spurge, sundrops, poke milkweed, Joe-Pye-weed, jewelweed, basil bee balm, wild indigo, wild quinine, heal all, and many others. Tim will discuss interesting features of these wildflowers.


*** These illustrated presentations are typically 45 minutes to an hour but are flexible depending on the hosting group.

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