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How a calendar hopes to help protect the animals in the Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains Association calendar hopes to show how highways impact Tennessee's wildlife.

TENNESSEE, USA — In an effort to protect Tennessee's animals, the Great Smoky Mountains Association released an informative wall calendar that details the impact humans have on wildlife. 

Each month features beautiful photos of animals such as elk, American black bears and Barred Owls alongside facts about how nearby roads have affected them. Readers can also learn about the species diet, behavior and habitat. 

“One of the great things about designing the annual wall calendar is getting to expand a classic product into a beautiful interpretive piece with well-researched information about the park and its wildlife,” said Emma DuFort, publications specialist at GSMA and co-creator of the 2022 calendar. “I really enjoyed curating these photos from a selection of talented photographers; my personal favorite is the Virginia opossum overwhelmed with just too many joeys.”

The calendar was inspired by the Safe Passage: The I-40 Pigeon River Gorge Wildlife Crossing Project initiative. The goals are to create bridges, underpasses and overpasses for animals traveling the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.

GSMA also created a new book for young readers, “A Search for Safe Passage.”  The book is about the highway's effect from the animals' perspective.  

“The need for wildlife crossing structures has been trending in national news recently,” GSMA's Creative Services Director Frances Figart said. “Our hope is that the calendar will help raise awareness about the importance of these structures in the Smokies region. Once overpasses and underpasses are built, wildlife like the ones featured in this calendar will teach their young to use these structures, and everyone will benefit.”

To purchase the wall calendar you can visit GSMA's online store at smokiesinformation.org.

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