Day 5: Western NC Nature Center & Catawba Falls Trail

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Eastern Boxwood Turtle

Today, May 17, we started the day with a general overview of everything we have learned on this trip, from plants to animals to key terms used when referring to nature and the mountains. We visited the Western North Carolina Nature center at about 10:00 a.m. where we explored until 11:30 a.m.  The nature center featured animals native to the Appalachian Mountains like the Red Spotted Newt, the American Toad and the Hellbender which we have caught ourselves in previous days at different trails as well as animals that are not found in this area like the Cougar and Gray Wolf. Below are some of the animals that we photographed while at the nature center.

Black Bear

We really enjoyed the river otters because they were so playful and loved the camera. We also found ourselves naming the surrounding plant life in the nature center according to what we have been learning over the past week like Great Rhododendrons, Sugar Maples, and Hemlocks.  Lunch time proceeded after we left the nature center and then we headed out to the National Pisgah Forest to hike on the Catawba Falls Trail at 12:55 p.m. Right away we found a common Black Widow and a Southern Black Widow before even actually entering the trail.  Along the trail, we found many different butterflies like the Clouded Sulfur Butterfly, and an Azure; we also found a baby turtle along the trail which we think may be a Cooter. The actual waterfall was never reached but we had a lot of fun searching for snakes along the way. Now it’s time for a long night of studying!

Amy Varnell (Organismal Biology)

Taylor Vick (Organismal Biology)

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