Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spruce's Favorite Quotes

Every time we have a course up at Spruce, the staff get a schedule that has all the important logistical information that they may need for the course. It has their schedule, group details, etc. It also has some of Dave Martin's favorite quotes that he has come across over the years. I wanted to share some of those with you.

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Epistle Dedicatory
Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)

"The oldest, most widespread stories in the world are adventure stories about human heroes who venture into myth-countries at the risk of their lives and bring back tales of the world beyond [people]…It could be argued…that the narrative art itself arose from the need to tell an adventure, that [a person] risking [their] life in perilous encounters constitutes the original definition of what is worth talking about."

Paul Zweig
The Adventurer

"Granted that one must live, one should never cease to ask the question: live how, by what means, and for what purpose? If the means or the objectives of life are sordid and base, life is not worth living nor can one maintain self respect. Knowledge must be acquired and used with right motives, and applied to speech, action, and the means of livelihood."

Scott Nearing
Making of A Radical


Return me, oh, sun,
to my wild destiny,
rain of the ancient wood,
bring me back to the aroma and the swords
that fall from the sky,
the solitary peace of pasture and rock,
the damp at the river-margins,
the smell of the larch tree,
the wind alive like a heart
beating in the crowded restlessness
of the growing araucaria.

Pablo Neruda
Chilean (1904 -1973)

"But in these plethoric times when there is too much coarse stuff for everybody and the struggle for life takes the form of competitive advertisement and the effort to fill your neighbor’s eye, there is no urgent demand either for personal courage, sound nerves or stark beauty, we find ourselves by accident. Always before these times the bulk of the people did not overeat themselves because they couldn't, whether they wanted to or not, and all but a very few
were kept “fit” by unavoidable exercise and personal danger. Now if only he/ she pitch his/ her standard low enough and keep free from pride, almost anyone can achieve a sort of excess. You can go through contemporary life fudging and evading, indulging and slacking, never really hungry nor frightened nor passionately stirred, your highest moment a mere sentimental orgasm, and your first real contact with primary and elemental necessities the sweat
of your death bed. "

HG Wells

Have quotes? Send them to Nathan at nhayes@mountain.org.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Endorsement From WV Department of Education

The West Virginia Department of Education's (WVDE) Office of Instruction has endorsed The Mountain Institute's educational programming in the content area of science. WVDE sees The Mountain Institute as well as other organizations as solutions to create more "hands-on, minds-on" opportunities for West Virginia students.

From the WVDE website:

"The Office of Instruction is currently providing leadership to the teachers of West Virginia as we actively proceed on the journey to a new vision of instructional design and delivery. Ours is a learning journey during which we decide to take advantage of digital tools for inquiry, collaboration and communication as we connect learners with one another or the world beyond our schools and classrooms. While learning to give up the traditional teacher’s role of being the content expert, we are learning new ways to engage with our students." This is from http://wvde.state.wv.us/instruction/

We are honored to be a part of the WVDE changing vision of education in West Virginia. Thanks!
To support public education in WV, please contact Nathan Hayes (nhayes@mountain.org)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Randolph County Outdoor Education Program

For the last 5 years or so, The Mountain Institute has been involved in the Randolph County Outdoor Education Program (RCOEP). RCOEP was founded by community members in and around the town of Elkins, WV. The beauty of this education program stems from its community involvement.

RCOEP provides fifth grade students in Randolph County Schools with a three-day residency grounded in the county's rich natural environment and cultural heritage. Based on the idea that some of the best teaching and learning experiences grow out of a sense of place, the program draws on the resources of over two dozen agencies and organizations working throughout Randolph County.

The program was designed to increase children's awareness of local habitats, heritage, and environment, and addresses a variety of local issues while exploring different solutions.
Students who participate in the Randolph County Outdoor Education Program explore local waterways, forests, history, culture, and resource management practices. They collect data from their watershed, discuss local issues from diverse viewpoints, and participate in activities that celebrate regional arts, crafts, and music. Throughout the three-day residency, each student will keep a journal of his/her own experiences. Through this exercise, students who participate in the Outdoor Education Program will gain a greater understanding of their local landscape and its vital role in their lives.

During the program the students will:
* Attend sessions that introduces them to local wetlands, streams, public and private forested areas, and farmlands;
* Hear firsthand the music and stories of the surrounding communities, and discuss the connection between human and natural landscape;
* Experience and discuss different approaches to decision making and look at issues from different perspectives;
* Reflect on their values and develop critical thinking skills
* Meet professional from different occupations, who may serve as role models when they choose a career.

If you would to support the Randolph County Outdoor Education Program, please contact Nathan Hayes at nhayes@mountain.org or 304-567-2632.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Kid Pro Quo

The Mountain Institute (TMI) hosts educational programming for students from West Virginia and many other areas of eastern United States. The students are here to to learn about themselves, the natural environment, and their responsibilities as citizens of our planet. Trout Unlimited (TU) works throughout the United States in conserving, protecting, and restoring North America’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds. The partnership of the two organizations serves both well and has provided plenty of valuable services and experiences for everyone involved.

In West Virginia, leading TU’s efforts on the Potomac Headwaters Home River Initiative is Gary Berti. Gary is managing a number of headwaters restoration projects throughout the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, one of these being on Big Run. Within the Big Run watershed is the Spruce Knob Mountain Center and where TMI operates most of its programs.

TMI’s collaboration with TU on tree planting and riparian restoration has created, what Gary likes to call, kid pro quo, a term derived from the latin phrase quid pro quo. In legal usage, quid pro quo indicates that an item or a service has been traded in return for something of value. In TMI and TU usage, kid pro quo indicates that both organizations and all involved students are providing services and gaining something of value. Tree planting in riparian restoration adds a valuable service component to TMI’s existing stream and watershed programming and fits well into the organization’s overall mission. These events provide an excellent opportunity for TU to share their message and plant thousands of trees in their project area. The students are provided with a unique service opportunity, where they can have a real impact on the improvement of the natural world. Many students come away from their TMI program and remember their riparian restoration efforts as a highlight of their week-long experience.

TMI programming has brought students from West Virginia and all over the Mid-Atlantic region to three separate TU restoration sites in Pendleton County. These sites, on Big Run, Black Thorn Creek, and White Thorn Creek are all undergoing riparian zone restoration from deforestation and cattle degradation. TU and the US Fish and Wildlife Service are fencing around these streams to keep cows out of streams and off of stream banks while providing the cattle with alternate water sources and bridge crossings. Keeping cattle out of waterways should reduce erosion, lower the nutrient load to normal levels, and reopen the smaller tributaries of these streams as native brook trout spawning grounds. The planting of trees near the banks will also reduce erosion, while at the same time increasing the shade cover of the stream, and as a result, keeping the water colder and well oxygenated. During the spring of 2008, over 400 students planted approximately 3000 red spruce and 200 balsam fir.

Through this collaborative project, TU, TMI, and hundreds of students are providing a service in the mountains of West Virginia that will benefit local waterways, the native brook trout population, and the millions of people who depend on the state’s freshwater. In return, West Virginia’s streams will begin to heal themselves, continue to provide fresh water, and create a better home for what is perhaps the state’s oldest resident, the brook trout.

Article by Josh Nease(pictured with a nice brown trout)