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Manatee County students explore the Smoky Mountains | News

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Manatee County students explore the Smoky Mountains
News, People, Schools
Manatee County students explore the Smoky Mountains

Bradenton, Florida - Twelve students from De Soto National Memorial's Youth Advisory Council spent a week in the Smoky Mountains connecting with and learning about nature.

The YAC students attended classes and activities at the remote Tremont Institute on the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountain National Park. The 15 to 18 year old students hiked to a waterfall, monitored salamanders, tagged endangered birds and studied the night sky. Many students had never seen a mountain before, never mind the copperheads, bears and white tailed deer they encountered along the way.

"It changed my perspective on the world around me; from the insects to the deer I feel a deeper connection to nature and my fellow students,” says Julia Guiles, a student from Bayshore High School. 

The students attend five different Manatee County high schools. They earned their trip to America's most visited National Park through extensive volunteer hours at De Soto National Memorial. It was funded through a combination of park funds, Friends of De Soto donations and a grant from the National Park Foundation. 

“These young men and women have dedicated hundreds of hours to their National Park and these trips are designed to give back as much as we can,” says Jorge Acevedo, De Soto's Superintendent.

The De Soto National Memorial is open seven days a week. The Visitor Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; park grounds are open from sunrise to sunset. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/deso 

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