As the 2016 Experience Your Smokies Tennessee class graduates, applications for the Experience Your Smokies Tennessee Class of 2017 are currently being accepted.
The Experience Your Smokies Tennessee 2016 graduation event, which occurred on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017 marks the sixteenth year of Experience Your Smokies leadership classes in Tennessee. The program, which is a collaborative endeavor between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Resource Education Division and Tennessee Gateway Communities, provides a unique perspective on the Great Smoky Mountains with behind-the-scenes, hands-on educational experiences related to the activities and issues within the park.
“The EYS (Experience Your Smokies) sessions have been amazingly educational and enlightening,” said 2016 Class graduate Jerry Cunningham. “As part of the 2016 class, my wife and I have gained a tremendous amount of insight and a deeper appreciation into the many different facets of the Smokies. We have been particularly impressed with the expertise and dedication of the park rangers and personnel.”
Cunningham and twenty-four other members of the 2016 class of Experience Your Smokies Tennessee enjoyed graduation activities held at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. Presenting at the event were Superintendent Cassius Cash of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Chief of Resource Education Nigel Fields, Supervisory Park Ranger Mike Maslona, and Chair of Experience Your Smokies Tennessee Ray Colclough.
Each year, Experience Your Smokies class members learn about topics including the Park’s air quality, historic preservation, experiential education programs, fisheries, wildlife management and dealing with the threats of exotic species. Class participants are selected based on their leadership within the community, interest in the national park and commitment to stewardship. This is the sixteenth year that Experience Your Smokies classes have completed a service project that benefits the national park.
Applications for the Experience Your Smokies Tennessee Class of 2017 are currently being accepted. For more information on the program and how to apply for this year’s class, visit www.ExperienceYourSmokies.org. The deadline to submit an application is February 24. You can also learn more about Experience Your Smokies Tennessee by visiting www.facebook.com/EYSTennessee.
Congratulations to the 2016 Experience Your Smokies Tennessee graduating class members:
Donna Alexander, Blount County resident
John Berry, Blount Hearing and Speech
Tonya Campbell, Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont
Janis Cunningham, Blount County resident
Jerry Cunningham, Blount County Executive
Janet Desprez, Burlington Brands Sevierville
Simon deVente, Alcoa Public Works
Hank Dye, Townsend resident
Becky Gibson, Knoxville resident
Jessica Hill, Photographer
Joe Jernigan, CVS Health, Knoxville
Andy Kerr, Fly Fishing Guide
Jim Kirksey, Dr., Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center
Harry McIntosh, LeConte Reality
Sharon Oldham, Dancing Bear Lodge, Townsend
Mark Oldham, Dancing Bear Lodge, Townsend
Wendy O’Neal, retired Blount County teacher and GSMNP volunteer
Jay Schablik, Delta Airlines
Debbie Slizewski, Blount County resident
Jim Slizewski, Blount County resident
Georgiana Vines, retired writer
Joe Walsh, Knoxville Parks and Recreation
Don Whitted, United Grocery
Leigh Wilson, Wiseware LLC
Dewayne Wilson, Wiseware LLC
Feature Photo: Experience Your Smokies TN Chair “Bucky” Colclough (pictured left front) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park Resource Education Chief Nigel Fields (pictured left center) congratulate 2016 graduates during the graduation festivities held at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont on February 4. Debbie Slizewski (pictured front) and Jim Slizewski (pictured back right) accept graduation certificates and Park pins.