Ring in the new year with volunteerism at AFHA!

Greetings,
Happy 2013! There's no better way to kick off the new year than with a little volunteerism. We'd love to get you involved, too! If you're interested in showing support for AFHA as a volunteer, please fill out a Volunteer Sign-Up Form, available here, and email it to volunteerism@appalachianforest.us. You'll be the first to know about upcoming volunteer opportunities and projects.

These AmeriCorps members worked with Linda Zimmer at Elkins Rehabilitation & Care Center to bring seniors an afternoon of music, storytelling, and crafting.
Make it a Day On, Not a Day Off
In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.'s selfless devotion to civil rights, U.S. legislation has challenged its citizens to turn their MLK Holiday into a day of volunteer service. As part of their leadership training, AFHA AmeriCorps members were presented with an opportunity to plan volunteer projects for the day.  

The resulting projects spanned across four counties throughout the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area. Projects were varied, and each was developed in response to unique perceived  needs within the region. One group of volunteers chose to work with residents at the Randolph County Senior Center, collecting oral histories on civil rights. In Preston County, another group has coordinated "A Day of Sharing" to assist families in need and to raise homelessness awareness.

AmeriCorps groups in Lewisburg and Marlinton decided to take on food drives within their counties. In Pocahontas County, the project included a local music performance to help draw attention to the drive. Volunteer Kate Nietling believes the project is relevant within her region, especially after the holiday season. "Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, people are more likely to ask for donations when they need them, " stated Nietling. "Winters are difficult for those who don't have anything, and access to food during non-holiday time is just as important."

All the Small Things
By Catherine Sercer
AFHA Hands-On AmeriCorps Volunteer
When I arrived here in September, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my position as “hands-on team member” for AFHA. As it turns out, I love it. Part of the reason is because, well, I’ll be honest: I’ve lived in Kansas my entire life, and now all of the sudden I have the opportunity to live in a place that isn’t scientifically proven to be flat as a pancake (true story). Also I’ve already learned quite a bit in just four months, including how to glaze a window and how to work with lead paint safely.

Most importantly, though, my work allows me to serve the community in various and unexpected ways. Since September, the AFHA hands-on team has repaired windows from Elkins City Hall and other places, including buildings in Aurora, WV. We've helped neglected buildings to look good as new while still preserving their historic integrity. We’ve maintained trails in Canaan Valley and been amazed at how many people were excited when told about our work. We’ve planted trees in areas damaged by mining. We’ve even picked apples to make cider for a community barn dance in Aurora.
 
True, these are small things. While in Aurora, someone asked me if I was disappointed that all I was doing with my college degree was apple picking. I told him I wasn’t. If small things like picking apples and painting windows can even remotely help preserve the beauty and historical richness of this region, then I’m happy to do the job.



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.
Kumbrabow State Forest
The forest rests along the western edge of the Allegheny Highlands atop historic Rich Mountain. Ranging from 2,350 to 3,930 ft, Kumbrabow’s acreage forms the highest state forest in West Virginia. 
Historic Thomas, WV
In the heart of the Allegheny Mountains, the town of Thomas includes 48 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of these were built during the turn of the 20th century and display a well-preserved variety of architectural styles.
Lascaux Micro-Theater
Open on Fridays at 7:30 pm, the Lascaux Micro-Theater in Buckhannon shows documentaries, foreign films, and independent films. Lascaux is the only micro-theater in West Virginia, and aims to expose movie-goers to different cultures, beliefs, and ways of life. 
Youghiogheny Scenic & Wild River
In 1976, a 21-mile stretch of the Youghiogheny was Maryland's first designated Wild River. This corridor, running north of Oakland to the town of Friendsville, is managed by the Maryland Park Service to preserve its unique scenery, geology, history, and ecology.
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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P.O. Box 1206
Elkins, WV 26241

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