25th Annual Leaf Lookers GEMBOREE :: Friday, October 17 - Sunday, October 19 at the Macon County Community Building

- published 8/21 (Larry) old link: http://www1.cfnc.org/applications/NC_Community_College/apply.html?application_id=1527

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Outdoors

The Macon County Cooperative Extension office is an arm of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension based at N.C. State University and serves as the school's largest outreach program. The program began in 1914 when county, state and federal governments joined together to make knowledge more accessible to citizens through educational programming in sustaining agriculture and forestry, protecting the environment, maintaining viable communities, developing responsible youth, and developing strong, healthy and safe families.

Since sustaining frequent budget cuts over the last 13 years, officials have begun to develop a strategic plan to maintain an effective program while anticipating budget decreases. In last week's edition of The Macon County News, an overview of the program was given along with the steps being taken to develop the Strategic Vision and Planning Initiative for the Cooperative Extension. This week, we want to take a look at the way the local office impacts the people of Macon County.

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Grandfather Mountain's otter habitat closed temporarily this week for renovations — and an important acclimation process for the Mountain's newest otter.

Work on the habitat is expected to begin in mid- to late March and should take only three to four weeks if weather conditions allow.

The renovations will not affect visitor access to the bear, deer, cougar and eagle habitats.

During initial construction of the otter habitat in 1996, a water-resistant membrane was punctured, allowing rain to seep through the upper portion toward the underwater viewing area structure.

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According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission the geese are here with good reason.

Over the past 60 years the migratory Canada Geese have diminished substantially due to changes in farm practices in the region and farther north, which has caused the geese to stop their migration farther south.

The local migratory population became so low in the 1980s that the NCWRC and numerous other state agencies released Canada Geese with a low desire to migrate.

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Explore America’s most visited national park on guided hiking tours with Friends of the Smokies. See stunning vistas, tumbling waterfalls, and discover the hidden gems of Great Smoky Mountains National Park with the 2014 Classic Hikes of the Smokies.

Classic Hikes of the Smokies feature interpretation and leadership by celebrated outdoor author, blogger, and hiking expert, Danny Bernstein (Hiking North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Heritage).

“The monthly hikes have brought together a diverse group of people: new hikers and experienced hikers, people who are new to the area and people who have spent their whole lives in the Smokies,” says hike leader Danny Bernstein. “I'll point out a new flower or chimney and there's usually someone who can add personal story to what we find on the trail.”

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