Conservation Outdoors

NC Arboretum Exhibit Highlights Rare Bog Habitat

Pitcher plant. Photos by Michael Oppenheim

From Saturday, July 15, through October 1, North Carolina Arboretum visitors will have an opportunity to observe A Year in the Life of a Mountain Bog, a photography and video exhibit that captures the flora and fauna of a small Asheville-area bog over the course of four seasons. The images, which are the result of a collaboration between photographer Michael Oppenheim and the Southern Blue Ridge Mountain Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, highlight the native and non-native residents of the habitat, as well as document The Nature Conservancy’s bog restoration efforts and related research-oriented projects.

“This documentary and artistic photographic project was very rewarding, and continues to be so,” says Oppenheim. “I hope viewers come away with appreciation for the diversity and beauty of mountain bogs and the importance of preserving them in our environment here in Western North Carolina.”

Southern Appalachian bogs are some of the rarest natural habitats in the region, providing vital services to people, including flood control and the filtration of pollutants that would otherwise enter the water supply. In North Carolina alone, they provide habitat for nearly 90 rare plants and animals, and 17 bog species are either federally listed under the Endangered Species Act or are of conservation concern.

“We are thrilled to share with our visitors and members the work of both Oppenheim and The Nature Conservancy and bring awareness to our local mountain bogs,” says Clara Curtis, senior director for mission delivery at The North Carolina Arboretum.

Oppenheim encountered several rare species during his visits to the location, including the endangered, carnivorous mountain sweet pitcher plant, giant cinnamon ferns, wild iris, trout lilies, the endangered bog turtle, and various amphibians and insects. “The most striking experience was when the pitcher plants exploded in bloom in spring,” says Oppenheim. “I had photographed the driedout flowers that were left hanging in the fall and winter months, so it was exhilarating to see a patch of them in full bloom.”

Oppenheim has more than 22 years of experience as a professional photographer in Seattle and Asheville, focusing primarily on editorial, architectural, wedding and nonprofit clients. His work has appeared in many print and online publications, including The Knot, Essence and Better Homes & Gardens.

The North Carolina Arboretum is located at 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville. The exhibit is located in the Arboretum’s Education Center gallery, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free. The Arboretum’s standard parking fees apply. Learn more about The Arboretum at or by calling 828.665.2492. Learn more about The Nature Conservancy at

Leave a Comment