April 2017 View this email in your browser
AFHA Annual Meeting
Phyllis Baxter
AFHA Director

Come out and get involved with AFHA at our Annual Meeting May 11, at Old Main in Summersville. All members, partners, and interested public are invited. We'll tour sites and learn about Nicholas County, have a featured panel discussion about how conservation partnerships work, and hear from our hard-working AmeriCorps members. And we'll feed you lunch! See HERE for details and directions, and RSVP to afha@appalachianforest.us or 304-636-6182.
Discover Nature Day

Jason Aerni
AmeriCorps Member

Winter in the highlands is long. As the first snows turn the mountains from green to brown and life hides for months beneath the frosted earth. But ever more triumphant does this make the coming of spring. Frogs and salamanders thaw out and begin to trill in the cool evenings, bees and butterflies race to gather pollen crop from the earliest wildflowers, and the robins return to feast on the insects. The earth stirs and then erupts into bounty.

This Saturday, May 6th the U.S. Forest Service’s Seneca Rocks Discovery Center will host Discover Nature Day as a celebration of spring. This event, run by AFHA AmeriCorps, brings together federal, state, and nonprofit conservation agencies to showcase their work as well as to engage West Virginians with their native wildlife.

Discover Nature began in 2012 as a way to educate Discovery Center visitors about invasive species, but out of these humble origins, it has grown into one of the premier events of the spring. True to its beginnings, Discover Nature Day begins with a garlic mustard pull, in which volunteers will spend the morning on-site removing this invasive plant from the grounds of Seneca Rocks to create space for wildflowers to grow. Volunteers who pull the most garlic mustard will receive prizes, and all volunteers will be provided lunch. Following this, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center opens its doors to guests looking to experience the amazing natural diversity of the West Virginia highlands. This year’s event will include two live animal shows, fly tying lessons, crafts, games, outdoor exploration, and much more.

Have you ever considered what kinds of creatures live below the streambeds? Do you want to learn about the lives of bats within the depths of caves? Have you ever been astonished by West Virginia’s spruce forests and wondered how they came to be? Uncover these secrets and more at Discover Nature Day, May 6th at Seneca Rocks Discovery Center.

Garlic Mustard pull begins at 10am, shows and booths begin at 1pm.

Beverly Sidewalk Restoration
Image of the restored walkway near the Beverly Heritage Center.
Photo by the Beverly Heritage Center

Tyler Winstead
AmeriCorps Member

Beginning in early April, the Beverly Heritage Center and Hands-on-Team undertook a government grant-funded walkway restoration project near the Heritage Center on main street. "I really enjoyed working on this project with the [Hands-on-Team]," says AmeriCorps member Jess Marks who serves with the Beverly Heritage Center and Randolph County Museum, "because you could see the immediate effect of the beautification of the town, and the community was very supportive of this project." 

AFHA AmeriCorps members Jess Marks and Heath Brindza at work.
Photo by BHC
The project received not only notice from the public, whom Marks says, "[were] stopping by, showing interest in our work, and asking us how they could do a small scale project on their property," but also received media attention from WBOY Channel 12 news. The project was completed after roughly three and a half weeks, which was phase one in a larger plan to restore over 100 feet of brick walkways in Beverly. 
AFHA AmeriCorps members (clockwise from top left): Jess Marks, Kate Sammons, Christopher Taylor, Heather Brindza, and Isabel Harger.
Photo by BHC

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Experience the heritage of your area! Sites of the Month spotlights events and locations within the region, based on AFHA's four themes: forestry, history, culture, and nature.

Parsons Nursery, in Tucker County, was established in 1928 to resupply trees to the logged over Monongahela National Forest. Soon afterwards, a CCC camp was assigned to the Parsons Nursery, and assisted with planting saplings to regrow the Monongahela National Forest. From its founding in 1928 until the late 1940’s, the Parsons Nursery was the largest tree nursery in the eastern United States. It is estimated that CCC members from Camp Parsons planted between six and eight million trees. The Fernow Experimental Forest continues operation at this same location.

Sites Homestead, in Pendleton County, is a structure at the foot of Seneca Rocks built in 1839. The house began life as a single pen log cabin, with frame additions added on later. Originally built by Jacob Sites, it was sometimes used as traveler’s lodging and referred to locally as the Wayside Inn. It remained in the Sites family until 1968, when it was purchased by the US Forest Service. It was restored and is now used by the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center.
Trillium Performing Arts Collective, in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, is a performing arts organization and school that enriches Lewisburg and the surrounding area. Based out of the Historic 1939 Lewis Theatre building, Trillium’s “mission is to encourage artistic expression and creative opportunities through education, participation, and performance,” in dance, music, theater, and film.
The Glades, in Garrett County, MD, is a 601 acre preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy. At 18,000 years, this preserve is one of the oldest examples of mountain peatland in the Appalachians, and contains peat up to nine feet deep. An ombrotrophic system (fed solely by rainwater), The Glades provide a home for many rare plant and wildlife species, such as Sphagnum moss, small cranberry,  bog clubmoss, the Nashville warbler, and Alder flycatcher. The Glades are open to public use with prior permission from The Nature Conservancy.
Do you have a suggestion for Sites of the Month? Email us at: info@appalachianforest.us and let us know your favorite sites throughout AFHA!
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