March 2016 
Sally Morgan & Scott Prouty, and Rebecca Wudarski in Concert at the Darden Mill

AFHA presents a concert from two great acts: the duo, Sally Morgan and Scott Prouty, and Rebecca Wudarski. The concert will be held Thursday, March 17th, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. at the Darden Mill in Elkins. There is a suggested donation of $10. Please call (304) 637-6182 or email info@appalachianforest.us for more information. You can also check out the facebook event page

Discover Nature Day – Celebrate West Virginia’s Natural Heritage

By Kristin Stockton
AFHA AmeriCorps Conservation Member

Discover Nature Day attendees, sporting Asian longhorned beetle headbands, exchange glances with WV’s state fish, the brook trout, at Trout Unlimited and the Forest Service’s native fish tank.

Spring is here, and the mountains are calling! Join the Forest Service and partners April 30th at beautiful Seneca Rocks for Discover Nature Day, an event focused on celebrating West Virginia’s wealth of forests, streams, and wildlife.

All too many of us find ourselves trapped indoors throughout most of the week. Between work and school, it can be difficult for those of all ages to find the time to embrace their natural heritage. Discover Nature Day aims to reconnect families to their natural surroundings by introducing them to some of our most unique and fascinating neighbors. Meet beautiful native brook trout, our state fish, and see and touch the aquatic insects upon which they feed. Then, learn how to we mimic to catch them when fly-fishing! Learn how to plant a pollinator garden and build houses for native pollinators! Explore a giant inflatable bat cave and learn about the cool creatures that live there! Discover Nature Day is an opportunity for the whole family to learn more about their local environment and enjoy the great outdoors.

The event kicks off with a competitive garlic mustard pull at 10:00 A.M., part of the 8th Annual Garlic Mustard Challenge. Garlic mustard is an invasive weed that is taking over our forests. It outgrows native plants and wildflowers, such as trillium, bloodroot, orchids, and even ramps, and is toxic to three species of native butterfly. Volunteers pull the garlic mustard, and dispose of the plant in trash bags so that it cannot sprout again. Two hours and a sea of black contractor bags later, the volunteers with the most garlic mustard will receive exciting prizes, while protecting the native habitats around us. Afterwards, all volunteers are rewarded with a delicious lunch catered by Seneca Caverns.

Following lunch, attendees have the opportunity to explore the property, learn about nature at a variety of fun, interactive booths, watch live animal shows, and engage in games and crafts. There’s something for everyone. This year’s educational booths will include streams and fish, pollinators, bats and caves, endangered species, red spruce, invasive species, and more! There will also be lots of free items available, such as wildflower seeds, species identification guides, and crafts.

Learn about the amazing organisms in your own backyard and go wild for nature at Discover Nature Day! For more information on the event, or if you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Kristin Stockton at kristinastockton@fs.fed.us or (304) 636-1800.

Playing Detective-The Museum Inventory Process

By Lauren Souther
AFHA AmeriCorps Heritage Member

Before I entered the museum realm, I had a completely different definition for the word inventory. An inventory meant simply counting what I had and making sure each item was in its place. For example, I took inventory of my kitchen cabinets before a hurricane came to ensure I had enough food and supplies to weather the storm. I knew that the inventory process was important, but it was simple and not really something that I thought about.

Hair Receiver- Hair receivers were used for practical and stylistic purposes. Victorian women would save their hair to stuff pillows or cushions or to create rats (bags or nets of hair they would place under their natural hair). Our receiver was made in Japan. It is a great way to talk about social and cultural Victorian Era history.

Then I entered the museum world, and my ideas about inventorying were shattered. The museum inventory process is not always simple or straightforward. It does not mean just locating an object and checking it off a list. It can be a long process; one that takes a little detective work.

For the past four months, I have been taking inventory of the artifacts on display here at the North House Museum in Lewisburg. So what exactly does this process entail? First, it means locating an artifact and checking for its object ID, the special number that sets an artifact apart from all the others. If it does not have one, you assign it a proper one and label the artifact with the new number.

Collar Box- This collar box also has a drawer for cuffs. Collar boxes were developed in the 1860s, when men liked starching their collar and their cuffs. In order to keep the shape of the collar and the cuffs, men kept them in boxes like these. Like the receiver, this is a great way to introduce social and cultural history to visitors.

Next, you describe the object, not just saying it is blue and made of stone, but really take the time to look at it. Touch it (with gloves). Look for maker’s marks or writing. When you think about it, a good description really does matter. Take a look at an average, everyday item like a water bottle. In the future, water bottles will become obsolete. Now imagine hundreds of years from now people visiting your house museum, and a water bottle is on display. If that visitor has read a good description of a bottle before, he or she will recognize one. If a future curator looked at your description, he or she will know how to spot a water bottle. Good descriptions are vital for future museum professionals and visitors.
           
Wait a minute. What if you have no clue what the item actually is? You described it, but when it comes to naming the object, you have no idea. What do you do? That’s when you act like a detective. Look at the object again for clues. Search online or flip through books and articles. You can ask someone, but when you discover what an object is yourself, you feel accomplished. It’s like you pieced together clues to solve an historical puzzle.

Now, when a visitor asks you what that mystery artifact is, you will be the expert. Needless to say, I am enjoying my time playing detective at the North House. Every day I discover something new.


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.

Green Ridge State Forest, in Allegany County, Maryland, is the largest contiguous block of public land in the state. Considered a ‘working forest’, it is managed to conserve the natural ecosystem while also supporting the local economy through a forest management program. Historically, it was the site of Mertens Apple Orchards, which were touted as “The Largest Apple Orchard in the Universe”. Today, the forest offers visitors many opportunities including a self-guided, interpretive driving tour, scenic overlooks, a shooting range, camping, hiking and mountain biking, public hunting and fishing, and more.

The Southern Methodist Church Building, in downtown Buckhannon, now houses the Upshur County Historical Society’s History Center. Built in 1856, it has been used by several different denominations over the years, including Methodist Episcopal South, Protestant Episcopal, and Church of Christ (Christian). The building took on an important role during the Civil War, when it was used as a commissary by the Union. On August 30th, 1862, Confederate troops took control of the building and burned all of the supplies and food found within on the street.
Landmark Studio for the Arts is a Braxton County organization working “to provide a venue for art and cultural events in Sutton that can be enjoyed by all citizens of the county and surrounding areas”. The Landmark serves as a venue for film, musical productions, educational music workshops, and more. In April they will be hosting a memorial concert and square dance in honor of Melvin Wine, the great Braxton County fiddler. The proceeds will go towards their Old Time Music Scholarship, which was created to foster traditional old time music.
The Sinks of Gandy, in Randolph County, are a natural feature where the Gandy Creek disappears underground for three quarters of a mile before surfacing once again. They are a relatively well known spot, as they have been noted by locals and visitors for at least 150 years. In 1872, they appeared in a story in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine by David Hunter Strother, under his pseudonym Porte Crayon, entitled “The Mountains”. Although on private land, the Sinks are a favorite spot for cavers and other outdoor enthusiasts.  
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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Our mailing address is:
Appalachian Forest Heritage Area
P.O. Box 1206
Elkins, WV 26241