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Welcome to the UNC Institute for the Environment at Highlands Field Site

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Monarch Therapy

Midway through September, a new visitor graces the Western North Carolina mountains. And no, I’m not referring to Bigfoot. It’s the...


I’ve never paid much attention to the night skies until recently. I grew up in the middle of suburbia, about 15 miles outside of a major...

'Mander Hunting Days

Nicci and I set out toward Station Branch, dip nets, muck boots, and packs in tow. We carefully wade out into the water, crouch down low,...

Being Scared And Doing It Anyway

As we barrel through October and find ourselves deep into the spooky season, I’ve been thinking a lot about fear. Not cliche,...

Treasure Hunt!

“I found it!” After half an hour of fighting green briars and an incline of nearly eighty degrees I have never been so glad to see a...

There Are No Square Campfires

There are no square campfires, no rectangle campfires where there’s a hierarchy of seats: a head of the table, a right-hand man, seats at...

Spruce it Up

Thursday and Friday begin with a ride up to Rich Mountain - after turning onto a gravel, unnamed, old forest service road, we go up until...

"Trap Happy" (niyafriday)

Navigating college has not been an easy experience for me to say the least. It was not until my senior year that I decided I wanted to...

A Semester to Remember

As I sit here writing this post in my little cottage dorm room, I can’t help but to feel a little bit sad. We have eight more days until...

Should I Leaf or Should I Stay-tion

It’s the end of the semester for the Highlands IE students. The trees and surrounding trails have gone from vibrant verdant green to...

A Monarch's Viewpoint

Yesterday, I tore out of my first home and ate it. The ivory colored egg I came out of served as a nutritious first meal. I did not know...

Wrapping Up for the Spruce Crew

September 30th was a bittersweet day for the spruce crew. Time had been a stressor for our last few days of fieldwork; bear hunting...

Shifting Baselines, Shifting Birds

“Many many years ago, before humans existed on this earth, the sky held only light. There were no people yet, there were only animals....

Spooky Season Guide to Bats

As we head into Halloween, a time for candy, costumes, and all things spooky, I wanted to highlight one of our favorite mascots for this...

Our Weekly Visit to Laurel Hell

On Thursday morning of August 25, some of us students hopped into the van with Jason for our first day of internship fieldwork. We drove...

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265 N 6th St, Highlands, NC 28741, USA

(828) 526-2623

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