Tremont is more formally known as the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont (GSMIT). It offers education programs that celebrate ecological and cultural diversity, foster stewardship, and nurture appreciation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Blount County Master Gardeners work closely with the staff at Tremont to support their environmental education mission by focusing volunteer efforts in the following areas:
For the Visitor Center, Master Gardeners have mapped the planting areas, identified desirable plants to keep and those to remove. Several native plant species have been added to increase the diversity, and records are being kept to monitor all the plants over time. Soil testing will be performed periodically to determine the need for soil amendments and fertilization to maintain optimum plant health.
The herb garden has also been inventoried, and existing plants were thinned and pruned as needed. A proposal for new herbs was developed, and adding these to the garden will be an ongoing activity.
Master Gardeners are coordinating with the Tremont chef so that fresh herbs can be incorporated into cafeteria meal planning. Future plans include the creation of a herb education program that will benefit Tremont students and staff, as well as Master Gardeners, on the cultivation and harvesting of herbs. The Tremont chef is also thinking about developing a culinary training course where students can learn basic cooking using fresh herbs.
For the vegetable garden, part of that project will be the creation of ozone plant beds to study of surface level ozone and its effect on the health of plants. The beds will be used by the Tremont staff for experimentation and teaching demonstrations.
As the Fall of 2015 approaches, Blount County Master Gardeners will be expanding their assistance to the Tremont teaching staff and supporting Tremont’s Staff Development Program. General maintenance of the garden beds is also ongoing every Tuesday from spring through early November.
For more information, contact Jim Cunningham via email: