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                                                                                                                                                                                                                               NEWS SERVICES
210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication

May 10, 2004 -- No. 259

Local angles: Avery, Watauga counties

Tar Heel Bus Tour to visit Morton at Grandfather Mountain

Wednesday, May 12

The third day of the 2004 Tar Heel Bus Tour for 36 new faculty and administrators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will include a visit to Grandfather Mountain, a scenic travel attraction and nature preserve.

Tour background:

The UNC group will travel more than 1,000 miles in a classroom on wheels to learn about distinctly North Carolina topics ranging from tobacco to stock car racing to an economy in transition. A week with 14 educational stops is designed to teach about North Carolina’s people, geography, economy, culture, history, education system and health and social issues. The privately funded tour, which began in 1997, aims to help new faculty and administrators better understand the state where 82 percent of Carolina undergraduates grow up. Participants will learn firsthand about the university’s commitment to North Carolina and the people it serves. Several stops will highlight UNC outreach projects. Faculty also will have opportunities to learn how their own research, teaching and public service activities tie in with the state’s needs.

During the week, participants will eat barbecue in Smithfield, visit textile and furniture factories in Mount Holly and Lenoir, visit a NASCAR racing shop in Huntersville, meet with health-care professionals in Dunn and Siler City and visit an elementary school in Greensboro to learn how the university’s Carolina Covenant, a new debt-free initiative for low-income students, is being received around the state. A detailed schedule can be found at

Accompanying the tour participants on this leg of the trip will be tour guide Ferrel Guillory, a lecturer in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and director of the Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life. Lynn Blanchard, director of the Carolina Center for Public Service, will serve as tour host.

Carolina connections: Avery County is home to 17 Carolina students and 200 alumni; Watauga County, to 86 students and 562 alumni.

Wednesday’s highlights include:

1 p.m. Hugh Morton’s Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is privately owned and operated by Hugh Morton, an environmentalist, photographer and UNC alumnus. The mountain is 5,964 feet high and serves as a wildlife sanctuary and nature preserve. The Nature Conservancy considers the mountain to be an ecological site of global significance because it is a habitat for more globally rare species than any mountain east of the Rockies.

Morton will meet with bus tour participants to discuss issues facing the mountain and share his photographs of North Carolina. Last fall UNC Press published his photo collection, "Hugh Morton’s North Carolina." A walk across the swinging bridge is also planned.

Interviews: Participants and tour organizers are expected to be available for print and broadcast interviews at stops. During the tour, call UNC News Services at (919) 962-2091 with questions about coverage, directions to tour stops or interviews.

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Contact: News Services, (919) 962-2091