AE21 Willow Pond: Learning in Place

This event is no longer on sale.

Wednesday May 19

10:00 AM  –  12:00 PM


Willow Pond: Learning in Place

ON SITE* Wednesday, May 19; 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Instructors: Jonathan Marchal and Tom Southard

$45 Member | $55 Non-member

BRN Elective**


What makes a pond so important? This new two-hour field experience provides you with fascinating answers as to the role Willow Pond plays in the Arboretum’s ecosystem. Learn about the planning behind making a ravine and a former stormwater catchment area into an outdoor education center for all age humans and all kinds of critters to enjoy, including the rare Mole Salamander. Even before its official opening to the public, Willow Pond proved an inviting new home for all manner of “benthos” or Benthic macroinvertebrates, the small animals that live among stones, logs, sediments and aquatic plants in ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. Benthos are large enough to see with the naked eye (macro) and have no backbone (invertebrate) and include insects such as mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, beetles, midges, crane flies, dragonflies and others. Come learn along with us about this thriving new habitat and understand more about your place in our ecosystem.

*Participants must adhere to all safety guidelines in the reminder email sent prior to class. Please add to your contacts to ensure our emails do not end up in your spam folder. Masks should be worn out of consideration for all class participants. We ask that participants try to keep a distance of at least 6' between others as much as possible.

**Upon registration, participants will be asked to identify if they are seeking certificate credit through Arboretum certificate of merit programs or NC Environmental Education. Responses will prompt further communication regarding requirements and reporting for credit.


Tom Southard has a degree in plant science and forestry from Rutgers University. Prior to moving to the mountains in 2010, he worked extensively in stream assessment, aquatic ecology education and stream habitat restoration with the South Branch Watershed Association based in Flemington, N.J. He is also a volunteer stream monitor for sites in the French Broad River Basin and at the Arboretum.

Jonathan Marchal serves as Director of Education at the Arboretum and is the creator of ecoEXPLORE, a youth citizen science initiative. He has been leading outdoor ecology and recreation programming for over twenty years for youth and adults, and was named the 2019 Naturalist of the Year by the Blue Ridge Naturalist Network. He has prior work experience with the National Park System, North Carolina State Parks and Trout Unlimited. He is an award winning, certified environmental educator and has served as the president of the Environmental Educators of North Carolina. Jonathan holds an AAS in Recreation and Wildlife Management, a BA in Ecology and a Master’s Degree in Park, Recreation and Tourism Management. He is the project lead for Team WNC in the City Nature Challenge.


Arboretum Members: Please sign in above in the top right-hand corner before adding classes to your shopping cart. Your member discount will be applied on the checkout pageClick here for membership discount instructions. To become an Arboretum Member and receive discounts on all classes, go to our Membership page.