This three credit course, ENVR 268: Landscapes and Livelihoods in Central Appalachia, involves a two week field trip through Central Appalachia, including parts of West Virginia, Virginia, North Caroline, Tennessee, and Kentucky. This region has a rich history enmeshed in early colonization, the pre-industrial economy, slavery, the Civil War, the coal industry and early labor movements. It has been subjected to stereotypes and natural resource exploitation for centuries and students will learn about the enrivonment, landscape and culture of Central Appalachia through active observation, maintaining a daily journal, presenting an original research topic in the field, and submitting a written report after the field component is completed. Pre-requisites: permission of the instructor.
- Experience diverse Appalachian communities such as Harper's Ferry WV, Asheville NC, and Gatlinburg TN.
- Understand the role of the Appalachian Trail in the United States conservation movement.
- Visit Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, the western gateway for many early settlers.
- Explore the coal industry of the past by visiting a company store, an exhibition mine, an abandoned coal town, and mining museums in the coalfields of West Virginia and 'Bloody Harlan County' in Kentucky. These are the areas where the battles between early unions and coal companies took place.
- Explore the modern coal industry by visiting a mountaintop removal site and coal loading facility that supply coal to power plants in New York State.
- Learn about unique ecological areas such as balds, bogs, and spruce knobs.
- Experience the region's hydrology and geology from the vantage of a whitewater raft.
- Visit the New River Gorge, one of the oldest rivers in the United States.
- Hike in the Monongahela National Forest and Great Smokey Mountain National Park.
- Visit/see the highest mountains in several states.
- Go on a personalized tour of Cades Cove, an historic settlement in the Smokies.
- Learn about the history of the Cherokee in Appalachia.
- Learn about Appalachian culture in galleries and museums.