In the botanical wonderland of the Southern Appalachians, plant poaching is a very real threat. It’s also a reflection of how important plants are to the people who live here — providing food, medicine, and income, not to mention cultural connection and belonging, for everyone ranging from the Cherokee to white settlers to newly arrived immigrants. But overharvest threatens to wipe out some species, like ginseng and ramps, even on the protected landscapes of the national parks. How can the parks keep their plant populations safe? And is there any role for cultural harvest inside their boundaries?

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In this presentation we will discuss the history and resource of wild apple trees and the many forms that Malus manifests in. This workshop is aimed at giving audience members a background to what exactly makes an apple “wild,” and we’ll touch on techniques for how to identify, effectively harvest, assess and grade, and steward & perpetuate the bountiful gift of wild apples in our landscape.

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For those willing to get a little frosty, there is no need to pack up your foraging baskets during the cold winter months. Bundle up and join teacher naturalist Ken Benton as we learn to identify and sustainably harvest a variety of wild foods from the surrounding landscape.  We’ll bake with spruce, fir, and pine needles and sip on a warm mug…

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