Seven Ponds Nature Center

A Nature Sanctuary and Environmental Education Center

Field Tours
For information on any field tours offered by Seven Ponds in 2018, or to be placed on a mailing list for future field tours, contact the center at 810-796-3200.


A Central California Birding:
Condors, Seabirds, and more!

September 10-17, 2018

Based in Monterey, California, this Seven Ponds Nature Center birding field tour of central California will feature incredible scenery, diverse habitats, and some of the best birding on the continent! The tour will include Big Sur State Park, Pinnacles National Park, Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Preserve, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and a pelagic trip into the avian rich Monterey Bay with Debi Shearwater and her world-famous Shearwater Journeys!

The central California coastal area from Big Sur up to Monterey Bay boasts an immense diversity of birds, with over 500 species recorded. Our tour will be based in Monterey, which will provide us with convenient access to a wide range of habitats: deep sea pelagic birding, marine estuaries, coastal scrub, riparian foothills, chaparral shrub land, redwood forests, and mountain terrain. Our lodging will be at the Arbor Inn Hotel, located in Monterey just a few minutes from the bay. This tour will be led by professional birding guide Mary Gustafson and Seven Ponds Nature Center Executive Director Daryl Bernard.

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Yellow-billed Magpie courtesy of Juan Sebastian Chavez

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Great Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains
Waterfalls, Old-Growth Forests, Wildflowers, Wildlife
and Cultural History!
April 15 - 20, 2018

The Southern Appalachians contain some of our country's most impressive natural features. At the heart of this area is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited park in the United States. The park is an International Biosphere Reserve which preserves the world's finest example of temperate deciduous forest.

Diversity is the hallmark of the Southern Appalachians. Fertile soil, abundant rainfall, and a variety of growing conditions encourage a number of different plant and animal communities. Broadleaf trees predominate in the coves, oak-pine forests cover dry mountainsides, and spruce-fir forests, like those found in Canada, thrive at upper elevations. Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains a world renowned variety of flora including more than 1,500 kinds of flowering plants. With the tremendous plant diversity, a wonderful variety of birds, mammals, and amphibians abound in the park as well.

The scenery in the Southern Appalachians is spectacular. A smoke-like haze envelops the mountains in picturesque fashion, helping to provide the name for the national park. Rustic trails wind through rich woodlands, along rushing streams to waterfalls and overlooks. The area’s unspoiled landscapes are similar to those found by early settlers. Restored log cabins, stone walls, and pioneer cemeteries maintained in Great Smoky Mountains National Park stand as reminders of those who carved a living from the wilderness.

Seven Ponds has offered numerous trips to the Southern Appalachians in past years, and is pleased to offer this spring trip led by our own naturalists. The trip includes many of our favorite destinations in and around the park. Our activities will allow us to experience a variety of the area’s features, including spring wildflowers, birds, trees, salamanders, mountain scenery, cultural history, and more. Spring wildflowers should be near their peak bloom. Most of the trip's hikes and other activities will be easy to moderate in difficulty, but activity options of a more strenuous nature are also a part of the itinerary.