11th Annual FRANKLIN FOLK FESTIVAL :: Saturday, July 19 from 9am - 4pm in Historic Downtown Franklin

- published 3/27 (Larry) - unpublished ?

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Outdoors

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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Dear EarthTalk: What is the latest prognosis for wind energy to command a larger piece of the renewable energy pie? – Peter M., Akron, Ohio

Hydroelectric sources of power dwarf other forms of renewable energy, but wind power has been a dominant second for years, and continues to show growth moving forward. According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), global cumulative installed wind capacity—the total amount of wind power available—50-fold in less than two decades, from just 6,100 megawatts (MW) in 1996 to 318,137 MW in 2013.

And the future looks brighter still. Analysts from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) predict that wind will account for the largest share—30 percent—of new renewables added to the global power grid by 2030. That new renewables are expected to account for as much as 70 percent of all new power sources over the next 20 years means that wind is poised to become a major player on the global energy scene.

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Friends of the Smokies has received a grant for $13,720 from Charter Communications, Inc. for support of wildlife management in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The grant provides for the purchase of 15 radio collars and two receivers for tracking and monitoring elk throughout the park.

Two hundred years ago elk roamed the southern Appalachian mountains and elsewhere in the eastern United States. With the financial and in-kind support from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Friends of the Smokies, Great Smoky Mountains Association and The University of Tennessee; the Park began reintroducing elk in Cataloochee Valley in 2001.

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Great Smoky Mountains Association is looking toward the sky for both its member events in February, one each in North Carolina and Tennessee.

“Heads Up for Hunters of the Sky” is first on the calendar Thursday, Feb. 6, and will be held at 2 p.m. in the Oconaluftee Multipurpose Room near Cherokee, N.C. Michael Skinner, executive director of the Balsam Mountain Trust near Sylva, N.C., will present this program on bird-of-prey populations and biology in a hands-on lively discussion that showcases non-releasable birds. Participants may meet Freedom the American bald eagle, Rasta the screech owl, Rusty and Chayton the kestrels, Zeus the aerial hawk, and other gorgeous species of regional raptors.

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published: 10/18/2013
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