Highlands is an ideal place to spend time outdoors. Taking in the mountain scenery and enjoying the cool summer air at 4118 feet is easy thanks to organizations like the Highlands Biological Station, The Highlands Cashiers Land Trust, and The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center


Biological Station

The Highlands Biological Station is an organization that fosters research, education, and the conservation of the rich natural heritage of the southern blue ridge mountains which is a biodiversity hotspot. Offering classes, workshops and lectures, many of which are free, are part of the biological stations efforts to encourage education. During the summer you can find different events and happenings at the biological station for those of all ages looking for an enriching outdoor experience. Here are a few opportunities the Highlands Biological Station offers! 

Summer Garden Tours - Wednesdays, now – August 7 from 12-1pm
Take a guided tour of the Highlands Botanical Garden for free each Wednesday until August 7. Learn new things about the garden every Wednesday as each tour has a different topic or theme. 

Zahner Lecture Conservation Series - Each Thursday Evening, now – August 15 at 6pm
The Zahner Lecture Conservation Series features speakers with each lecture bringing a new topic each time. The lectures are free and open to the public with no registration required to attend. The lectures feature well known scientists, conservationists artists and writers from the region. This year, the lectures feature topics like “Climate Informed Forestry in the Southern Appalachians” and “The Surface Water & Ocean Topography Mission”. For more information on the Zahner Lecture Conservation Series, click here

2024 Native Plant Symposium - September 13-14, 2024
The Native Plant Symposium provides the opportunity to learn about the native plants on the plateau from featured speakers that are experts in botany, wildflowers and native plants. Learn about the current research happening at the Highlands Botanical Gardens, bid on rare native plants, tour the botanical gardens and more. For more information, click here



People watching the sunset on Sunset Rock in Highlands, North Carolina

The Highlands Cashiers Land Trust (HCLT) protects and conserves the lands of the Highlands-Cashiers plateau that have the greatest number of rare and endemic plants and animals in the Southern Appalachians. You can learn about and explore the forests, wetlands and vistas that makeup the plateau by attending HCLT's events and gatherings. HLCT offers events such as ecotours, guided hikes, workshops and so much more. Explore the properties the organization protects and learn more about the area. To stay updated on the events at HCLT, follow them on Facebook, or go to their website here, for more information. 


Many Hands Peace Farm

The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center is ecologically conscious and serves congregations, businesses, schools, and other groups. The Mountain celebrates Unitarian Universalist principles and provides opportunities for celebrating nature through retreats, camps, classes, volunteer opportunities and more. The Many Hands Peace Farm, located at The Mountain, offers events that happen monthly on Sundays from May through October. These events provide the opportunity to learn about wild edibles, growing your own mushrooms or feast on the forest and farm foods harvested from the farm. Some upcoming events and workshops at the farm include, "Wild Mushroom ID and Foraging Workshop", "Forest to Table Dinner" and an "Intro to Herbalism" class. To view more classes and workshops at The Mountain, click here. For more general information go their website here