ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION

The park’s founders believed the park should serve as a land trust for Valle Crucis, preserving green space and protecting our community’s precious natural resources. Today, we also seek to cultivate a new generation of environmental stewards by providing active and passive environmental education opportunities for visitors of all ages.

Seasonal Programming

During the months of June and July, the park hosts weekly environmental education programming for children and adults. Visit our calendar for the specific schedule, including topics covered and appropriate age range.

Bird Walks

From late March through mid-October, the High Country Audubon Society hosts weekly bird walks in the park on Wednesday mornings at 8:30. The walks are led by Curtis Smalling, Audubon North Carolina Important Bird Areas Coordinator and Mountain Program Manager. Walks are free, but donations to the park and the Audubon Society are encouraged.

Explore on Your Own

While in the park, take some time to appreciate the significant natural areas. Our park is located in a floodplain: You may notice standing water, sand, and other debris. Flooding is part of our natural cycle, and we embrace it!

Three major restoration projects have been undertaken in the park to help manage storm water and protect our precious water resources. The large wetland area was once a man-made pond. Depending on the amount of recent rain, this area could be full of water or very dry. Step out onto the two viewing platforms: You’re likely to spot turtles and lots of water-loving birds.

Extensive work also was completed to restore the banks of the Watauga River and Dutch Creek. Please feel free to explore these areas, but use the existing footpaths to help prevent erosion. Many of the trees in the park are accompanied by identifying signs. Information is provided about species that are common in our region, as well as rare plants found very few other places in the world. A tree scavenger hunt worksheet is available in the Welcome Center.