The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Smoky Mountain Field School

Bear U

The University of Tennessee partnered with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park 41 years ago to create the Smoky Mountain Field School, an entity which promotes learning in our natural world. Enthusiastic experts share their passion for learning with participants in Field School courses.

In 1916, Congress created the National Park Service, also known as “America’s Best Idea.” Today there are 409 park units, which encompass 84.5 million acres in all 50 states and four territories. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses 522,427 acres and is the nation’s most-visited park, with over 10 million visitors annually.

SMFS Courses

As a cooperative effort between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the University of Tennessee, the Field School offers unique opportunities to "Explore, Learn and Enjoy" in one of the nation’s premier national parks through indoor workshops and outdoor field adventures. Participants may choose from over 20 experts teaching more than 50 sessions to enhance their appreciation of nature and the wealth of diversity within our Smokies and southern Appalachians.

The environment for learning found within these Great Smoky Mountains and the dedication, enthusiasm, knowledge, and experience of the Field School staff, comprised of college and university professors, park personnel and retirees, naturalists, wildlife advocates, and other professionals, is unparalleled.

Come join us for a day or more to "Explore, Learn and Enjoy" and become part of the large group who participate annually in a multitude of offerings on flora and fauna. Get to know your national park, its landscape, wildlife, and intrinsic value to humankind while renewing the family spirit, making a new friend, or simply fulfilling a desire for a wilderness learning adventure.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The National Park Service


Questions? E-mail us at or call (865) 974-0150.

Bear U
Become a better naturalist, communicator, and land steward by learning the ecology and natural history of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification Program provides fundamental and specialty skills in Southern Appalachian ecology and interpretive techniques. This is accomplished via a series of field courses covering subjects such as ecological communities, plant identification, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, stream ecology, the history of nature study, interpretation, and other skills necessary to an educational naturalist. Upon completion of the eight core courses, you will receive the non-credit Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certificate from the University of Tennessee in partnership with Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.

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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Big Orange. Big Ideas.

Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System