Have a happy Thanksgiving week from all of us in the AFHA! While you're relaxing before all that turkey, take the time read about some of the exciting happenings in the AFHA below.
Destruction Towards Restoration
CASRI is the Central Appalachian Spruce Restoration Initiative, which has the goal of restoring historic red spruce-northern hardwood ecosystems across the high elevation landscapes of Central Appalachia. Most of the historic red spruce were cut down when the logging boom hit West Virginia. The Mower Tract is a piece of land owned by the Monongahela National Forest that partners with CASRI. The land was originally populated by red spruce, but has since been deforested for timber sales and the land mined for coal. In the 1970’s and 80’s, the land was restored to restoration standards of the time. The hardwoods that currently populate the area due to the previous restoration methods are outcompeting the native red spruce. Since then, we’ve learned about better restoration methods.
Restoration work at the Mower Tract
To return the habitat to the way it was, the restoration efforts seem more like destruction at the moment, but are the best option to reach the goals for the area. The Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife, and other CASRI partners have hired a team to remove all invasive trees in the area and to score the ground with a large hook on the back of the bulldozer. The removed trees are left on the ground where they are uprooted, providing a habitat for birds and other organisms. Eventually, red spruce will be re-planted in these areas and will have a better chance success due to less competition with invasive species. There is a bonus side effect of restoring the native spruce, it creates favorable conditions for the habitats of the Cheat Mountain Salamander and The Mountain Flying Squirrel.
AmeriCorps Regional Training
This week AmeriCorps members in the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area attended a region wide training. There they gained skills regarding diversity, inclusion and community building. After that, some AmeriCorps members chose to receive Disaster Corps training, which gave them skills for aiding in disaster relief in the West Virginia area and beyond. Other AmeriCorps members received training regarding community activism and promoting organization partnerships. As you can see, our AmeriCorps members are ready to get things done!
AmeriCorps members listening diligently during Disaster Corps training.
Arthurdale Crafts Festival
On October 21, Arthurdale Heritage welcomed about 400 people for their first annual Craft Show & Fall Festival. There were over 20 West Virginia crafters and artisans in attendance, some demonstrating and teaching their craft. Many of the visitors were local families who came to enjoy storytelling by Jo Ann Dadisman, take a hayride, get their faces painted, or create Halloween crafts. This festival, plus AHI's annual New Deal Festival in July, raised funds for critical maintenance on the site's historic Center Hall.