Skip to Content

Jocassee Wild Naturalist Certificate: Intro Class

Posted on by SCNPS Website Team

Our summer vaycay continues this month, so no meeting (but definitely save the date for our spectacular September speaker!). Instead, we encourage readers to consider joining our good friends at Jocassee Wild Outdoor Education for a special introduction to the Jocassee Wild Naturalist certification program (JWN), which uses Lake Jocassee as an entryway for the study of the remarkable Jocassee Gorges.

JWN consists of this mandatory prerequisite introductory class plus twelve core classes, offered roughly every three weeks between September and May. The subjects cover all the reasons this specific eco-region was named one of 50 of “the world’s last great places” by National Geographic magazine. This is a unique opportunity for local naturalists to learn Jocassee Gorges botany with Alan Weakley (Weakley’s Flora) and Keith Bradley (SC State DNR Botanist); Jocassee Gorges geology with Dr. Bill Ranson (Geology Guide to the Foothills Trail); Jocassee history with Sheryl White, whose family history is rooted throughout the story of this region; and so much more.

The Jocassee Gorges eco-region is a little-known tract of land located at the interface between the South Carolina Piedmont and the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment. Only a couple of highways penetrate this largely undeveloped tract, and the best access is from Lake Jocassee, which nestles into the folds of the mountains at 1100’ above sea level.

The JWN program is intended to enhance your love and knowledge of native plants and encourage a lifelong study of and appreciation of this land where temperate rainforest plants share space with desert species and alpine species. Jocassee Wild Outdoor Education is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to introducing all ages – from children to retirees – to this place known as an important refuge in times of climactic change.

The intro class will be held at Devils Fork State Park and beautiful Lake Jocassee on August 22 from 10am-2pm and will consist of a brief classroom presentation of JWN subjects, instructors, and guidelines, followed by a relaxing pontoon tour into the heart of Jocassee.

The cost of this class is $65 per person; subsequent JWN classes are $95 each. Pre-registration is required. You can learn more HERE, or register by calling 864-280-5501.