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Alarka Expeditions Presents
Journeys Through Paradise:
A History of Southeastern Naturalists
July 17 - 19, 2020

This course will explore the rich world of naturalists who have written extensively about the southeastern United States, with an emphasis on the southern Appalachians.  A primary focus will be on the 18th century naturalist and artist William Bartram, who travelled throughout the south from 1773 to 1775, and who provides us with a rare glimpse into the cultural and natural history of the western North Carolina and north Georgia mountains during this period. 

There will be a two field trips following his journey through northeast Georgia into the Little Tennessee River valley with a visit to the ancient Cherokee village of Cowee.  Students will also discuss the writings of other significant naturalists who explored the region, such as Andre Michaux, John Muir, Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon, and others.

Day 1 – Friday Evening

3 PM      Check-in

             On your own for Dinner in Clayton

7-9 PM   Introductions with wine & cheese

             Overview of weekend

             The 18th century American landscape and the rise of natural history

               - early colonial views on nature

               - What is natural history and how did it get here?

               - Old World perspectives on the New World

               - Live Music with Angela Martin

Day 2 – Saturday

9AM       How Did We Get Here?

               -What is place based thinking?

               -18th century western North Carolina and North Georgia landscape – Cherokee towns, place names, new and old world cosmologies –                       upheavals and diasporas

               -The development of New World obsessions – British collectors and colonial providers

               -18th century New World visionaries – William Bartram, Mark Catesby, Andre Michaux

Midday   Field Trip:  The landscape of William Bartram and the Middle Town Cherokees:  A field trip to the Dividing Spring, Nikwasi, and                                 Cowee Mounds

             On your own for Dinner in Clayton

Day 3 - Sunday

9AM      Shifting Perspectives:  The 19th and 20th century development of an American land ethic  - its followers and creators in the southern                      landscape

               - The development of romantic notions of the American landscape – Thoreau, Emerson, Hudson River Valley School

               - The naturalist becomes conservationist  

               - defining wildness in the 20th century – the story comes full circle

               - the movement for our mountain National Forests

11-2 PM Field Trip:  Bartram Trail, Chattooga River

2 PM      Closing 


The Cost of This Workshop is $470 per person - Single Occupancy

Boxed Breakfast and Lunch provided each day

Each person will have their own room and there will be a maximum of 8 attendees.

(due to Covid restrictions there are no double occupancy options unless you are coming with a spouse or someone living in your household - double occupancy rate is $370 per person)

 To Register for the workshop please call or text Becky at 404-373-0566 or

email me at becky@parkersranch.com.



Suggested Readings:

Bartram, William.  Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws. Containing an Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions; Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians.  

There are a variety of editions, but I would recommend The Travels of William Bartram, by Francis Harper, editor.  It is available in paperback.  There are many other editions, but this is annotated and includes some of Bartram’s line drawings. 

Fishman, Gail.  Journeys Through Paradise.  (University of Florida Press, 2001).

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