Technical Tours

Please Note: All tours include a box lunch and/or snacks, transportation, and applicable entry fees. We recommend sturdy footwear and weather-appropriate clothing. Tours that are undersubscribed may be canceled. Go/no-go decisions will be made on September 18. If you purchase a ticket for a tour that is canceled, you will be contacted to choose another tour or receive a refund.

Ohio Valley Wood Products

Wednesday October 30 • 7:45 am - 5:00 pm

Join us for a sampling of regional forest products manufacturing and history. Starting at Brown-Forman, the only distillery that crafts its own barrels, learn why the barrel and the wood are important ingredients in the flavor characteristics of aged spirits. We will then travel to Robinson Lumber Company. Centered in the best White Oak region in North America, this state-of-the-art concentration yard coordinates computer controlled modern kilns, perfect stacking, planing, and ripping. After lunch we will visit Koetter Woodworking, a leading manufacturer of quality architectural millwork, then wrap up the day at the iconic Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.


Louisville's Urban Forests

Wednesday October 30 • 8:00 am - 4:45 pm


Louisville’s park and parkway system is last of the systems that Frederick Law Olmsted designed. Begin the day visiting two of Olmsted’s parks:  Cherokee, designed in 1891, is set in the valley of Beargrass Creek; Iroquois acquired in 1888, was noted by early park users as Louisville’s own “Yellowstone.” From there we go to the Jefferson Memorial Forest to learn about the managing the largest municipal forest in the US. Spanning 10 miles from east to west, the Forest comprises approximately 6,500 acres of mature, second growth hardwood, ribboned with trails and small streams.  Enjoy a box lunch in the Woodlands Garden Pavilion in the Parklands of Floyds Fork. After lunch see and learn more about one of the national's largest new metropolitan parks projects.


Forest History and Philosophy

Wednesday October 30 • 7:35 am - 5:00 pm


Join us for an eclectic exploration of the rich history of the region. Our first stop at Knob State Forest will present the history and impacts of the iron furnace industry on the forests of the area. From there we go to Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace National Historical Park for a historical overview of central Kentucky and the Park. The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani was home to Thomas Merton from 1941 until his death. Learn about the Abbey via a short film at the welcome center and enjoy a unique opportunity to hear a choral interlude performed in the acoustically exceptional chapel.  Visit the Abbey’s managed forest to see and hear about the silviculture practiced here. This tour is supported by the F5 History & Philosophy Working Group.


White Oak Supply Chain

Wednesday October 30 • 7:15 am - 5:15 pm


White oak is a cornerstone species for the Kentucky forest industry. This tour examines the challenges in regenerating oak forests, how white oak is used, and the forecast for future demand. The tour will spend the morning at Tallow Creek Farm to learn about the Pelle family’s silvicutural practices to benefit both wildlife habitat and timber production by expanding the oak-hickory cover type. Following lunch visit Kentucky Cooperage to learn about barrel making process from log procurement to the finished barrel out the door. From there, the tour will explore the grains used, the distillation process, and the relationship between whiskey and wood that occurs in the aging process at the well-known Maker’s Mark bourbon distillery.


Halloween Night Hike

Thursday, October 31 • 7:15 pm – 11:00

Flashlights will be provided.

Bond with fellow participants while sharing the lovely experience of a 2.5 mile, difficult-rated trail, night hike in Jefferson Memorial Forest, the largest metropolitan park in the US. Participants will learn about the Forest, bust any myths they may have about hiking at night, and learn how to lead a similar night-hiking program back in their own community/forest, including:  basic trip planning and safety check techniques; nighttime tree/wildlife identification/forest ecology; and how to facilitate an educational group discussion in the dark. They will also discuss psychological and physical inhibitions/barriers to participation in outdoor recreation and some of the challenges of managing a popular urban recreation area. This tour is supported by the F3 Diversity and Inclusion Working Group and a grant from the Kurt Gottschalk Science Fund.


Mammoth Cave National Park

Sunday, November 3; • 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Join us for a fascinating look both above and below ground in the park that preserves the world’s longest known cave system and part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. Explore and learn about the carse topography that dominates this area, and its unique influence on the hydrology and thus forest composition. We will enter the cave through the Historic Entrance for a guided tour. Large passages invite you to imagine what it would have been like for prehistoric discoverers who walked these passages more than 4,000 years ago. Descend into the lower levels of the cave to cross over Bottomless Pit and squeeze through Fat Man's Misery. Climb 155 stairs up Mammoth Dome and exit back through the Historic Entrance.

Safety - The cave tour is rated moderate for difficulty, takes about 2 hours, and covers 2 miles and includes 540 steps and a steep outdoor hillside trail to and from the cave’s Historic Entrance. Walking sticks are not permitted in the cave. If you have a fear of heights or suffer from claustrophobia, this tour is not recommended. Participants with known heart or respiratory conditions, poor circulation, difficulty walking long distances, negotiating stairs, or walking in a crouched positioned should carefully consider their limitations. Evacuation from the cave to a hospital for medical attention could take several hours. Please go the Mammoth Cave National Park website for complete information. 


Berea College Forest

Sunday, November 3 • 8:00 am - 4:30 pm


The Berea College Forest is one of the oldest managed private forests in the United States having begun its efforts in 1897 with the dawn of the American conservation movement. Management efforts focus on wood, water, wildlife and recreation, with an emphasis on sustainability. Offering both classes and outreach programs related to forestry, one of its great values is as a resource to demonstrate and evaluate the results of long-term forest management in the Southern Appalachian Region. Join us for an inside look at this unique endeavor, which includes a horse logging operation and prescribed burn areas, with the Forestry Department staff.