2013 Biodiversity Days in the Smokies



Celebrate Biodiversity Days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park beginning on June 20 -22, 2013 with walk,seminars, demonstrations, scientist-led field trips, and other fun events both on the Tennessee side and North Carolina side of the Park.  These events  help us raise awareness of the amazing diversity of GSMNP.  Learn more about the biodiversity of GSMNP and the on-going All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) throughout this website (see below for schedule of events). Space will be limited; make your reservations early (865-430-4757).

What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the variation of species in a given ecosystem, including all types of life forms from plants to animals. Here in the Smoky Mountains, estimates have been as high as 100,000 for how many unique species reside here. The variety of species in an ecosystem has become important to scientists since population and consumption of resources by society have been growing.

Why is biodiversity important?

The level of biodiversity in an ecosystem is a measure of how healthy that ecosystem is. Humans are affected by biodiversity in their everyday lives, with services such as clean air, fertile soil, and water purification all stemming from the ecosystem and its biodiversity. Thus diversity in ecosystems enriches human life through methods not easily seen, and we need biodiversity to support ourselves and all other life we share this planet with.

Check out this creative video on "ATBI" and biodiversity!

What are biodiversity days?

Biodiversity days is an event provided by Discover Life in America where workshops, presentations, and hikes are given to raise awareness for the importance of variation of life throughout the planet. Obscure species are also discussed to provide visitors with a fresh outlook on life forms.

Schedule of Events:


June 20

 10 am – 3 pm  Fungi of the Smokies  Twin Creeks Science Center

 7 pm – 9 pm  Crayfish of the Smokies
Who, What, When and Where?   Tremont Institute

June 21

 8:30 am – Noon Crayfish of the Smokies- Collecting DayTremont Institute

June 22

 1:00 pm– 4:00 pm Tree Team  Arthropod Sorting   Twin Creeks Science Center

For more information or to register, call 865-430-4757 or visit our website at dlia.org

Great Smoky Mountains Salamander Ball 2013


The Great Smoky Mountains Salamander Ball is a masquerade ball and fundraising event based on the children’s book by Lisa Hortsman by the same name. Attendees are encouraged to dress in costumes emulating Smoky Mountain wildlife. A local band, The Johnson Swingtet, will perform with dancing, refreshments, silent and live auction, “salamander” look-alike contest, children’s activities, and fun for the whole family to ensue. A very special visit from “Big Red” the salamander and a live “salamander zoo” will be on display. Come one, come all to the Salamander Ball!

Time: 7–10 p.m. April 27, 2013
Location: Gatlinburg Convention Center (free parking off Reagan Drive)
Cost: $75.00/person, kids under 12 free. Tables for ten can also be purchased for reduced per-person cost.

You can purchase single tickets and tables for 10 in our online store.

Sponsorship packages are available. For details, download the Sponsorship PFD, or contact Todd Witcher.


Well be meeting at Twin Creeks Science Center to sort collected species at 4:30 pm.


Join us at the Compleat Naturalist for a fun filled evening of Biodiversity Celebration.  Hal and Laura Mahan have generously opened their store for the evening to honor DLIA and help raise funds for this great project.  Check out their website for more information and please join us in Asheville!  Leigh Anne Carter, DLIA's fabulous Science Illustrator Intern, will be at the party demonstrating her amazing talent and we will have examples of the exhibit she's created on "Southern Appalachian Endemics." http://compleatnaturalist.com/Events/party_nov_16-2012.htm

Biodiversity Hike to Mt. LeConte


This event is truly the complete package! An experienced guide will educate participants about the natural and local history along the Alum Cave Trail to Mt. LeConte. Hikers will have lunch trailside (provided), and relax in the evening with an ATBI program. In addition, a ranger will provide a program for us at the clifftops summit. Afterwards we will enjoy dinner and a night's stay at the LeConte Lodge. After a great night’s sleep we’ll have breakfast the next morning, and a trail lunch (if requested) for the hike home. Upon event completion, participants will receive a small gift of appreciation from the staff of DLIA. A wonderful time for $275 per person, all-inclusive.  Call 865-430-4757 to buy tickets.  Lodge accomodations are filling up fast.  Call today!


Tree Team pickup of collar and lingren funnel traps contents at Indian Gap and Balsam Mountain collection sites.  Volunteers should call Todd Witcher at 865-430-4757 or at todd@dlia.org.

Biodiversity Hike and Arthropod Sorting Event at Purchase Knob


Please join us on August 17 for a great event at Purchase Knob.

We will have a morning Biodiversity hike and come back to the Appalachian Highlands Center for an Arthropod sorting event after lunch.

We'll begin the hike at 10 a.m. return to the Center for lunch (bring your own lunch) around 12:45 and from 1:30 - 4:30 we'll sort arthropods from the Tree Teams Project. Volunteers will help sort through arthropods collected by the Tree Team, which is a study of trees in decline in the Park. The goal of the project is to determine arthropods associated with certain trees. These arthropods will be used for future study and analysis by scientists.

We ask that you call or email to sign up. Todd, todd@dlia.org or 865-430-4757

2012 Tree Team Sorting Event at Twin Creeks


We will be sorting Arthropods (insects, millipedes, spiders, etc.) at Twin Creeks Science and Education Center - about a mile up the Motor Nature Trail from Gatlinburg. These are samples taken during the Tree Team, high-elevation beech tree project field work at Indian Gap and Balsam Mountain. Your volunteer assistance will allow us to sort all preserved individuals into major groups of organisms for further identification by expert taxonomists. We are establishing baseline data for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Arthropods associated with Beech Trees that appear to be in decline.

All volunteers will be given a microscope and a simple key (= instructions and drawings) to use to recognize these major groups during sorting. This event will begin at 4:30 pm and wrap-up at about 7:30 pm. Please let us know you're coming via email to todd @ dlia.org, or call Todd at (865)430-4757.

Thanks ahead of time for your help.

Corporate Sponsors