Ten students–from different places and studying different things–will depart on Friday, March 7 for the Clearfork Valley of Tennessee as part of the 2014 spring Practicum in Liberal Arts course. They are Aly Bolin, Lexi Foutch, Cindy Hammonds, Kristen Hoecherl, Brandon Johnson, Shaye McCauely, Lowery McNeal, Maggie Moore, McKinnon Pearse, and Hannah Shaw.
Students will enjoy a tour of Gap Cave on Saturday at Cumberland Gap National Park, followed by lunch with organic gardener Pat Biggerstaff and tour of community garden she organizes in Middlesboro, Kentucky. We will stay at the Clearfork Community Institute in Eagan, TN, a living-learning facility staffed by volunteers who enjoy hosting college students for an immersive experience in mountain community and culture. Projects will include a cemetery clean-up (and discovering the generations and diversity of inhabitants in the former coal camps of Pruden and Fonde), live-staking a stream bank (to mitigate the negative ecological consequences of the Y-Hollow Bridge), visiting with elders and helping out on the Woodland Community Land Trust, and discovering firsthand the flora and fauna that exists in the area, despite the unfortunate circumstances of mountaintop removal for mining coal. If the internet connection holds out, we’ll post throughout the week.