Earth to Sky Park Logo


Mission Statement

The Earth to Sky Park is an environmental educational park for those interested in learning about the natural world we live in, from the earth to the sky.

Formerly called the EnergyXchange, the Mayland Earth to Sky Park is home to:

  • The Bare Dark Sky Observatory
  • The Glenn and Carol Arthur Planetarium (Opening in 2021)
  • The Paul and Susie O’Connell Conference Center
  • Carolyn Munro Wilson Picnic Shelter
  • Becky and Ed Anderson Outdoor Classroom
  • Bob and Wanda Proffitt Viewing Terrace
  • Aquaponics & Hydroponics Labs
  • Visitors’ center (opening 2021)
  • Micro-propagation lab (future plan)
  • Walking Trails and Gardens

What Can I do at the Earth to Sky Park?

In addition to star gazing at a certified International Dark Sky site at the Bare Dark Sky Observatory or learning about astronomy and other STEM related topics at the Glenn and Carol Arthur Planetarium, visitors to the ESP can enjoy everything else the Park has to offer.

The Paul and Susie O’Connell Conference Center provides both a formal meeting space as well as a more casual meeting space, complete with a small kitchen area. Those needing meeting space can reserve the Conference Center and also explore the Earth to Sky Park by wandering through the gardens. To reserve the conference center call 828-766-1277.

Enjoy a family picnic in the Carolyn Munro Wilson Picnic Shelter at the octagonal picnic tables that were constructed by students in the Mayland Community College Carpentry classes. The shelter is sheathed in poplar bark shingles, from the Bark House located in Spruce Pine, NC. The poplar bark helps absorb carbon from the atmosphere, making it an ideal choice for building construction at the Park.

Grab a chair and enjoy the fabulous view from the Bob and Wanda Proffitt Viewing Terrace, located at the top of the Pollinator Garden. Stroll along trails that form the shape of a butterfly’s wings through the Garden and learn about what types of plants make up a pollinator garden what kind of pollinators you might see in the garden. Learn about the unique combined watering/septic system underneath the Garden.

Bring your class, family, homeschool or scouting group and learn in the great outdoors at the Becky and Ed Anderson Outdoor Classroom, located in the center of the Pollinator Garden. This is also a great spot to star gaze at night if you don’t have tickets to the Observatory!

Those who visited the EnergyExchange many years ago, might remember the aquaponics system complete with tilapia. Mayland has brought back the aquaponics lab and expanded the fish tanks to include koi, catfish, and bluegill. Learn about how aquaponics systems work, why aquaponics is a great alternative farming method, and even pick your own leafy greens.

Coming Soon! A visitors’ center will provide a history of the site and explain how it transitioned from a landfill to its current state. It will also serve as a starting point for planetarium visits and information about the Park.

Coming Soon! The Mayland Micropropagation Lab will move from the main campus in Spruce Pine to a new home at the ESP. Rare and hard to propagate plants such as Gray’s Lilies, Lady Slippers, and Venus Fly Traps are brought to life in the micropropagation lab. The public will be invited to view the lab through glass windows and learn about the process. Mayland is also partnering with State University of NY to help revitalize the American Chestnut through micropropagation.

Ongoing Construction! Scattered throughout the Earth to Sky Park are gardens and hiking trails. From paper making gardens to moon gardens and rain gardens, explore and learn about how different types of plants play different roles in the environment. See a plant you like? You will soon be able to purchase plants found in the gardens from the ESP greenhouses.

Contact Information:

Address: 66 Energy Exchange Drive, Burnsville NC 28714

Phone: 828-766-1277

For information regarding the Earth to Sky Park please email:

For information regarding the Bare Dark Sky Observatory please email:


From Marion through Spruce Pine:

Travel to Spruce Pine via Hwy 221 north to Hwy 226 west.
Turn left onto Hwy 19E south toward Burnsville and travel about 8 miles.
Turn right onto Hwy 80 north and travel about 2 miles.
Turn left onto Landfill Road. Follow the signs to Mayland Earth to Sky Park.

From Asheville through Burnsville:

From I-26 West toward Tennessee take exit 9 (Burnsville exit).
On Hwy 19E north travel approximately 21 miles, passing through Burnsville.
Turn left onto Hwy 80 north and travel about 2 miles.
Turn left onto Landfill Road. Follow the signs to Mayland Earth to Sky Park.