Outdoors Visual Arts

NC Arboretum: Explore the Nature of Design

Moonrise Over Asheville. Photo by Camilla Calnan Photography

The North Carolina Arboretum has a lot to offer visitors in April, with a new photography exhibit, #themountainsarecalling, running through July 9 and the sixth annual Mountain Science Expo, held on Saturday, April 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

#themountainsarecalling features the work of Camilla Calnan and her husband, Chris Bolm, and focuses on the unique and diverse ecosystem of Western North Carolina. Calnan and Bolm use photography to capture the creativity in plants, trees, flowers, landscapes, gardens, outdoor art and the micro details found in nature. The exhibit features a variety of mountain landscapes and natural elements from the region, including some images that were captured at the Arboretum.

“Through the years, as my husband and I spend time at the Arboretum, we are drawn to educate ourselves and our audience about the plants and natural beauty in this precious mountain area,” says Calnan. “We seek to learn more about each subject captured, watching in awe as we discover how things change day to day, season to season and year to year. We hope to inspire others to go explore.”

This year’s Mountain Science Expo shares a similar theme: Nature of Design. Visitors can learn about the art and function of spider webs, why the shape and design of animal teeth are important and how the building materials and shapes of bird nests help identify the bird that makes them. There will be stations to investigate plant and animal color patterns and demonstrations explaining how math and art are connected.

“The feedback from past years has been really positive,” says Michelle Pearce, the Arboretum’s school and public programs coordinator. “Visitors love the live animal demonstrations scheduled throughout the day, and the fact that there are hands-on activities makes things more exciting.”

Expo presentations will also be held by WNC-area students. The NC Division of Air Quality will present awards to recipients of its Air Quality IQ contest, and posters from the competition will be on display. Classrooms that participate in the Arboretum’s Project EXPLORE (Experiences Promoting Learning Outdoors for Research and Education) program will present posters on birds, squirrels and trees they have observed in their schoolyard. In addition, ecoEXPLORE participants will compete for $1,000 worth of prizes for their poster presentations based on species they have observed in the wild.

The Arboretum is also making several upgrades to its facilities this year, including garden enhancements, a new seasonal butterfly exhibit, renovated restrooms in the Education Building and a new front gate system to facilitate faster access. To sustain these upgrades, and create opportunities for future enhancements and jobs,the Arboretum’s parking rate for personal vehicles will be raised $2 per vehicle, to $14.

The North Carolina Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville. To learn more, visit ncarboretum.org.

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