We start off the show with Joseph McElroy introducing the show and himself before going into a sponsored message. After the message, Joseph brings up where he has been recently and his drink of choice for the episode, and then introduces the special guest, Don Hendershot. Joseph asks Don how he ended up in Haywood County, and Don recounts his journey through divorce, ocean jobs, and how business guided him to the mountains. Joseph then inquires why Don started writing, and Don describes the peer pressure from friends and family to not write, but an opportunity to write for a job presented itself and he took it. To finish off the segment, Joseph brings up a specific article Don wrote about the truth behind “dangerous” animals like bears and alligators, and a little behind the scenes about it.
They come back from the ad break with stories about close calls with alligators. Joseph interjects with his own story with a close encounter with a bear, and Don takes that momentum and comes in with a bear story of his own. This transitions the conversation to tips on how to deal with a bear encounter in the wild, with additional tips on how to distinguish black bear feces from grizzly bears’. The conversation shifts to cougars in the Smokies and the possibility of their extinction before having to go to the commercial break.
Once the ad break finishes, Joseph brings up all of Don’s achievements and journalistic awards about the conservation of nature and asks Don what his opinions were on the wildfire state of California. Don explains the serious issue and consequences of the forest fires, such as birds changing their migration patterns and animals going higher in the canopy to escape the heat. They talk about the little things people can do to help with environmental conservation, like leaving a smaller carbon footprint and looking to renewable energy resources. They switch topics to a recent book Don wrote, A Year from the Naturalist’s Corner Volume I, and what Don’s plans are for his future volumes. Don also describes his process and themes are in his columns from the Naturalist’s Corner.
They begin the final segment with Don’s hobby of bird watching and how the pandemic has hindered it. That led to the topic of Don’s programs he sees over, like tree identification and nature watching (every animal, not just birds), and his favorite moments from certain sessions he led. Don also lends a helpful tip on how to differentiate between a similar pair of bird species found in the Smokies. They end off this week’s show with how to get in contact with Don and where to find his Book.