Great Smoky Mountains National Park Launches ‘Smoky Signal’ Podcast to Showcase ‘Science Behind the Smokies’

by Jon D. B.

Ready to learn more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park? The park’s launch of their Smoky Signal podcast is here to help!

As podcasts continue to hold a prominent place in pop culture, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) is getting in on the game. Put plainly by NPS’ official page for the podcast, “Smoky Signal is a show about the science behind Great Smoky Mountains National Park.”

“Storytelling is a time-honored human tradition, and a key part of how park rangers engage with visitors when they come to Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” adds Stephanie Kyriazis, Chief of Resource Education, in GRSM’s press release for the podcast. “Launching a podcast allows us to share Smokies stories about science and culture with a broader audience, even when they are far away from the park.” 

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Podcast to Focus on ‘Acts of Collection’ for Season 1

To kick off the podcast, “Season one examines the theme of Collections, asking what can be learned through acts of collecting.”

Two episodes are now available for audiences to kickstart their journey with the park. For Episode 1, Smoky Signal “explores renewing Cherokee traditional plant gathering practices in the park and Cherokee foodways.”

Hosted by Great Smoky Mountains National Park Rangers Alix and Antoine, the first episode explores how citizens of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians are renewing connections to their traditional homelands in the park, with the help of a certain plant species. The episode features Tommy Cabe and Joshua Albritton.

Then, in Episode 2, listeners can “delve into the mysteries and discoveries within the thousands of specimens in the park’s natural history museum… Some that date back more than 100 years. From hellbenders to Smoky madtoms to rusty patched bumble bees, Antoine explores the natural history collections of the Smokies. Where do these collections come from? What can we learn from them? And how can studying decades-old specimens inform how we manage the park?” the episode’s byline asks.

‘What can we learn about the Smokies—and ourselves—through these acts of collection?’

At the core of the podcast, GRSM wishes to focus on “What can we learn about the Smokies—and ourselves—through these acts of collection?” for Season 1.

In fact, Season 1 as a whole will focus on “three stories on the theme of Collections. We learn about renewing traditional plant gathering practices in the park. A natural history museum with thousands of specimens. And even the collection of something pretty stinky (in the name of science, of course),” Smoky Signal states.

Sound up your alley, Outsiders? Head on over to Smoky Signal‘s NPS site here to start your listening journey. The podcast is also available on Apple. Spotify listeners are out of luck upon launch, however.