Special programs offered for American Sign Language Day at Cades Cove 

GATLINBURG, Tenn.— Great Smoky Mountains National Park is incorporating American Sign Language (ASL) into its Cades Cove educational programs on Saturday, April 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to celebrate National American Sign Language Day.  

“We’ve had tremendous support from local educational institutions and ASL educators to plan and coordinate the day,” said Cades Cove Ranger Jeanine Ferrence. “We’re excited to work with them to make our programs more inclusive and accessible.” 

The day’s activities will include immersive stations where visitors can explore the park and learn related signs from 19 local ASL interpreters. Stations include a guided walk on the new accessible path to the John Oliver Cabin, historic demonstrations and tours in the Cable Mill area, and activities based on a new Junior Ranger Activity Guide. Each station will have a word that participants will learn to sign, as well as a stamp with that word in ASL. Visitors can stop by the stations at any time and are encouraged to collect as many stamps as possible! Most activities are designed to be shorter than 15 minutes for those visitors who are enjoying a scenic drive through Cades Cove. 

Certified ASL interpreters and students from the University of Tennessee, Maryville College, Knoxville Center for the Deaf, and Maryville High School will be on hand at all stations to help with the activities. Maryville High School ASL teacher Michelle Norman worked with Ferrence and Cades Cove volunteer Judy Matuszewksi to plan and coordinate the event. 

Junior Ranger Activity Guides for ASL Day participants are available at the Cades Cove Visitor Center and Cades Cove Orientation Shelter. The official book for the park’s popular Junior Ranger program, the activity guide is for all ages and is designed for families and groups to work on together. Visitors may earn their Junior Ranger badges by completing the book and taking part in events throughout the day.  

For more information about National American Sign Language Day events at Cades Cove, please contact Jeanine Ferrence (jeanine_ferrence@nps.gov). 

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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