Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fall Follow-up - Sutton, WV

Because there were so many places in the state that are important to the forest products industry, it was impossible for us to visit every place on the week-long summer trip.  Therefore, we took a follow-up trip to the Sutton area to tour the Weyerhauser Sutton OSB plant and Appalachian Timber Services.
We drove to from the Cabell County Board of Education office at 4:30 and arrived at the Sutton Day’s Hotel by 6:30.  After checking in, we went to Café Cimino for an excellent dinner.  Everyone was pleased with the meal and enjoyed getting back together.

Our first visit was to the Weyerhauser Sutton OSB plant where we saw oriented strand board being manufactured.  We were impressed that wood going into the Sutton OSB facility is otherwise not usable for many other forest products uses.  Many of the logs are the tops of trees that had been felled for dimensional lumber or veneer.  On entering the plant, the logs are debarked, shredded then dried.  Energy for the drier comes from burning the bark and other wood waste.  The shreds are blown into mats with the fibers at alternating right angles.  Once compressed, a mat of fibers that is about seven inches thick will yield a half inch thick OSB board.  The OSB is formed into sections that are 12 X 24 feet then cut into 4 X 8 sheets. We were impressed at the environmental friendliness of the Weyerhauser Sutton OSB plant.  Most of the energy for drying and heating the wood fibers comes from burning the waste.  Water used to wash the logs is filtered and recycled.  Most of all, the plant’s raw material is wood that would otherwise go to waste following logging in a forest.

A nice lunch at the Flatwoods Shoneys prepared us for the afternoon visit to Appalachian Timber Services where treated wood products are manufactured.  This plant produces all of the treated lumber of the New York City Transit.  Rail ties and landscape timbers are common products.  They also produce a great deal of wood support structure for mines and rail bridges.  Like many other facilities that we have toured, much of their energy is provided by burning wood waste.  Wood waste not used to provide heat is sold to nearby wood pellet manufacturers. Appalachian Timber Services pressure treats hard and softwoods with creosote which makes it rot and insect resistant.
While it was great to see everyone again and to follow up on the spring and summer work, we are already thinking about the 2013 project on glass and ceramics.  While plans are very incomplete at this time, the model will follow the prior years’ president with a spring course on the history and science of glass and a culminating summer trip to the glass producing regions of the state.  More information will be announced as plans develop.  First announcement of the project will be made on this blog.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Update to Fall Follow-up Trip Plans

Plans are continuing for the fall follow-up to the Forestry and Rail Transport project.  On Wednesday, September 5, we will leave the Cabell County Board of Education Central Office at 4:30pm.  We will be taking two vans to the Days Inn at Flatwoods, WV.  We will have a very special dinner at Café Cimino taking time to reflect on the summer trip and how we can implement the lesson plans in Cabell County classrooms.

On September 6, we will tour the Weyerhaeuser-Sutton OSB plant where oriented strand board is manufactured and Appalachian Timber Services to observe the manufacture of railroad ties and mine timbers.

For these tours, you will need long pants, closed toe shoes, safety glasses, hard hat and ear protection.

We will return to Huntington on the evening of September 6.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fall Follow-up Plans

The fall follow-up for the Forestry and Rail Transport project  has been scheduled for Thursday, September 6.  We will leave the Cabell County Board of Education Central Office after work on Wednesday, September 5 and drive to Flatwoods, WV.  On arrival, we will have dinner and reflect on the summer trip.  We will spend the night at the Day’s Inn at Flatwoods.  On the morning of September 6, we will tour the Weyerhaeuser-Sutton OSB plant where oriented strand board is manufactured. 

Following a fast food lunch, we will tour the nearby Appalachian Timber Services to observe the manufacture of railroad ties and mine timbers.  We will return to Huntington on the evening of September 6. 

 For these tours, you will need long pants, closed toe shoes, safety glasses, hard hat and ear protection.

 You will only miss one day of work from your school, Thursday, September 6.  The county has approved a substitute for that day.

Please let Karen ( know whether you can go.  Her telephone number is 304-528-5011.  She will need to know your availability no later than noon on August 22.  Karen needs to make arrangements for van rentals, lodging and food as well as informing our hosts at Weyerhaeuser and Appalachian Timber Services of an expected number of visitors.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Last Day of an Outstanding Experience

Our stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Lewisburg, WV was pleasant as always.  After an excellent breakfast at the hotel, we left for the Greenbrier River at 8 am.
The first stop was across the Greenbrier River from the Greenbrier Military Academy’s summer camp, also known as Camp Shaw-Mi-Del-Eca.  Assessment of the water quality shows it to be consistent with measures taken at other locations along the river throughout the week. 
From there, we drove to the C & O Historical Society Museum in Clifton Forge, Virginia.  The helpful staff gave us an informative tour of the museum and the historic railroad artifacts there.  Of particular interest to many in the group was the antique steam locomotive (C & O Engine 614) that has been restored for the Greenbrier Resort.  When in use, this locomotive was documented to exceed 100 miles per hour in ideal track conditions. We enjoyed lunch in the restored historic club car when diners once enjoyed elegant meals in the golden age of rail travel.
We left Clifton Forge a little before 2 pm and traveled toward Cabell County.  With everyone pitching in, the vans were quickly cleaned out and prepared for return to the Enterprise rental agency.  We were all very tired and happy to be home but anxious to put the newly acquired knowledge into place in classrooms. 

Many in our group have already submitted lesson plans that incorporate the timber and rail industries in the state.  As these lesson plans come in, they will be made available from links on the right side of this blog.

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Kellie digs through thick underbrush to find acid soil at Gaudineer Knob.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another virgin forest, some water testing, and a train ride!

We started out bright and early Thursday morning with a trip to Gaudineer Knob, the second of the two "virgin forests" in West Virginia. Unlike the virgin hemlock forest we saw at Cathedral on Sunday, Gaudineer is recognized as a virgin spruce forest. The underbrush of this forest was somewhat different as well, with much greater biodiversity including the ever-loving mosses, an array of fungal species, and the home of our very own "Cheat Mountain Salamander", found only at this location in the whole world. This salamander was discovered and named by Marshall University's very own Dr. N. Bayard Green in 1938.
After a great picnic lunch, courtesy of Annette & Karen, we were off to Durbin, WV to ride the famous Durbin Rocket Train, but not before making another stop along the Greenbrier River for some more water testing (we will have thee samples of the river miles apart to compare when we are done). Take a look at our teacher blogs on the right side of this blog to see their results. At 2:30 we boarded the Durbin Rocket for a leisurely train ride along the beautiful Greenbrier River. The "ROCKET" is a Climax type train engine that was different from the Shay engine that we road yesterday at Cass. The Climax engine was built for power rather than speed and was gear-driven with a drive shaft similar to what you see on an automobile. Even now, at my age, I still get goose-bumps hearing that haunting train whistle echoing through the valley.
After another long, but productive day, we stoped for dinner at Bob Evans and then off to our rooms at the Holiday Inn Express in Lewisburg. Tomorrow we complete the last leg of our project.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cass Scenic Railroad

Wednesday started off well, checking out of our home for the past few days, the Elkins Hampton Inn.  We headed south on US 219 for Cass, stopping at the Greenbank Observatory for a break and visit to the displays.  We were at the Cass Scenic Railroad a little after 10 am, testing the water in the Greenbrier River.  We were surprised by the low dissolved oxygen content of the water which impacted the overall water quality assessment.  Although specific water quality measures varied from each group’s samples, the low dissolved oxygen was consistent across all groups’ data. 
By 11:30 we had our lunches on the train to Bald Knob, propelled by the Number 11 Shay engine.  The three hour ride over the 11 miles was beautiful and interesting.  We passed from the hemlock/hardwood forests around the town of Cass at 2450 feet above sea level, through the basswood, cherry and oak forests to the elevation of 4842 at Bald Knob where red spruce and mountain ash dominate the landscape.  Although the spruce forests at Bald Knob are likely tertiary growth, the dense forests crowd out underbrush and small herbaceous plants making a dark, open forest floor.  The stop at Bald Knob allowed our group to make comparisons to observations of Cathedral State Park and set up our visit on Thursday to the virgin spruce forest on Gaudineer Knob.

The ride back down the mountain was much faster, especially since there was no stop at Whitaker Station as in the trip up.  Our train was back in the station by 5 pm when we drove to our restaurant Foxfire Grill at the Snowshoe Resort.  After getting our fill of great food, we went down the mountain to our motel, the Snowshoe Resort.

The resort got mixed reviews from our group.  While the location is accessible and convenient, there was no Internet in the room, no cell service due to Greenbank’s blackout, no television because of a small localized storm, the storm also resulted in closing the small indoor pool.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wood Manufacturing Industries in Historic Beverly, WV

After a breakfast of fresh fruit, bagel breakfast sandwiches and several cups of tea, our group left the Hampton Inn for the historic depot in Elkins.  The old structures have been nicely restored and make a great place to visit and learn about the railroad history of the area.
From there, we drove to Beverly and toured the Colonial Millworks factory.  They make a variety of milled wood products including many trim and specialty items for Bruce (Armstrong) Flooring.  We were impressed with the efficiency of the operation so that no wood or labor is wasted.  Colonial Millworks produces millwork from all manner of wood species including native West Virginia trees but also many exotic Asian, South American and African species.  The one thing that I found particularly impressive is that a stained board gets a two coats of finish with sanding between coats in 10 to 23 seconds!  At the end of that time, the finished board can be stacked and ready for distribution to retailers.  The high tech finish is dried with a ultraviolet light and makes a highly durable finish.

Milling at Colonial Millworks from Steve Beckelhimer on Vimeo.

Lunch was at the Beverly Historical Society Museum where the coordinator, Terry Hackney, gave us an interesting and informative tour of the displays.  We were also joined by the principal of Beverly Elementary School, Mr. Paul Zickefoose, who helped us make arrangements for our visits in Beverly.  The buildings in Beverly date back to the late 1700s and are well documented by signage throughout the town.
After lunch, we toured the manufacturing facilities at Bruce Hardwood Flooring (Armstrong) where we saw the production of solid hardwood flooring on a huge scale.  The tour took us through areas where the incoming wood is kiln dried then sawed, planed, milled, sanded, stained and finished.  Although the operation is highly efficient and mechanized, there is a great deal of human interaction with the product.  The measures in place to assure quality, productivity and safely were quite impressive.  As in other wood products facilities we have visited this week, there is a great deal of pride among employees in the West Virginia products being distributed across the country.  While the facility at Bruce was similar to other manufacturing sites in Randolph County, the difference is scale.  Bruce Hardwood Flooring has hundreds of employees and millions of annual board feet in production.  They are a huge operation.  We noted that much of the waste wood material is used at fuel the boilers for the kilns but the remaining waste wood is shipped to Hamer Pellet Fuel to be made into pellets for wood stoves.

On leaving Beverly, we came back to Elkins for dinner at Applebee’s then to the Hampton Inn for our guest speaker, Luanna Moore. Ms. Moore, West Virginia's 2012 Teacher of the Year, gave the timber and rail group lessons on the Appalachian dulcimer. While our team isn't the most musically talented, we made up for it with our enthusiasm.  We played many traditional favorites like Will the Circle be Unbroken, Wildwood Flower and You are My Sunshine.  It was great fun but by the time it was 10 pm, everyone was ready to turn in.
Several of us ran out afterward to stock up on provisions for the Wednesday trip to Cass Scenic Railroad and Thursday's drive up Gaudineer Knob.   It has been a long but productive and educational day.

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Hamer Pellets in 30 seconds!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Forest Products Industries in Elkins, WV

After arising at the Hampton Inn in Elkins, the group boarded the vans for Hamer Pellet Fuel to see wood waste being converted to pellets that are burned in wood heat stoves.  We were impressed that the WV based company took waste sawdust and chips from sawmills and wood manufacturing and converted into useful product.
Hamer mixes sawdust from a variety of hardwood species and sends it to a high BTU drier that is fueled by the very sawdust that it processes.  The dried sawdust gets heated with a small amount of vegetable oil and sent to an extruder where the pellets are formed.  These pellets are cooled and sent to an automated system that fills and seals bags before stacking on pallets with a robotic arm and wrapping with a protective plastic.
A nice lunch of Subway sandwiches at Riverbend Park in Elkins allowed everyone to get some tree identification practice in and to spend some time in the outdoors on a beautiful summer day.
After lunch, we went to Wilson Lumber Company where we saw rough sawn lumber get graded, kiln dried and planed in preparation for shipment to millwork shops.  We were impressed with the efficiency of the operation and the professionalism of the employees.  The kilns are fueled by sawdust, largely from the planers on the site.  We were shown how the moisture content of wood is determined and how the board footage is estimated quickly.
From there, we went to Wilson Quality Millwork where the kiln dried lumber is turned into molding and specialty products.  Wilson sells stock styles of molding or can make custom designs in quantities as large or small as the customer desires.
After a dinner at Bob Evans, we heard from our speaker, Mr. Robert Whitshell, a local historian.  His interesting talk reiterated many of the concepts from our spring course and made our group more aware of the history of forests in Randolph County as well as in Appalachia as a whole.

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Rick Sharpe testing pH at Cathedral State Park


Good Start to a Great Week

We got off to a great start yesterday on the first leg of our project with our stop to Cathedral Forest, one of the few truly virgin forests left to visit. Our teachers have done an excellent job depicting the area and assessing the environment. Take a look at their posts and pictures of the forest by clicking on the links to their individual sites to the right of this blog.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Great start to the timber and rail project trip

Our group departed the Cabell County Schools Central Office promptly as scheduled at 9 am on July 15 stopping at Go-Mart to fill the rental vans with fossil fuel.  Our drive took us to Bridgeport for lunch at several of the many fast food locations there.  We got back in the road an hour after stopping, anxious to get to our first destination, Cathedral State Park                       . 
We arrived at Cathedral at 2 pm, surprised to find the parking lot full.  On previous visits to the area, I have been the only car in the parking lot.  Turns out that a church group was having a picnic at one of the shelters there. 

Walking around the area allowed us to observe a virgin hemlock forest like it would have been before settlers entered the area.  The soil was typical of a hemlock forest being spongy and damp with a thick litter of needles.  In measuring the pH of the soil, it was determined to range from 3.5 to 4.5 depending on location.  Many groups found that tests done lower in the valley were higher pH which they found surprising.  They speculated that the low pH is due to the tannic acid in the soil from the hemlock trees.  In addition, the stream in the area was dark from the tannin seeping in from the soil.  These tannins in the hemlock trees are the reason why hemlock was called “leatherwood” in past generations since hemlock bark was used in the tanning process.

Measures of some of the larger hemlock trees showed trunk diameter of 4 to 5 feet.  Determining the height and girth of the trees allowed the volume of lumber to be estimated and the potential market value of the tree to be determined.  Some large hemlock trees had potential values in the thousands of dollars!

We left Cathedral State Park at 4:30 for the hour-long drive along curvy roads to Elkins were we checked in at the Hampton Inn before going to dinner at the Western Steer. 

After dinner, everyone spent time in the motel lobby preparing blogs for their students describing the educational impact of their day.  A torrential rain blew in as we were finished the blogs.  We were happy to not be in the forest when the rain came up or perhaps worse, driving on the mountain roads.  Everyone is looking forward to the visits at forest products manufacturing facilities in the Elkins area this week.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Waypoints for stops on next week's trip

If you have a GPS unit, whether a car mount Garmin Nuvi or a handheld GPS receiver, you can download the GPX file with the locations of our stops and save them to your GPS with a common USB cable.
If you have Google Earth on your Samsung Galaxy Tab, you should be able to access this file on the tablet as well.
This GPX file has the coordinates for most of the places we will be stopping on the trip.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The time for departure is nearly upon us

On Sunday morning we will be pulling out of the Cabell County Central Office parking lot a little after 8:30 am on our way to the first stop of the trip, Cathedral State Park.

The itinerary has been updated, hopefully for the last time.  A link to the final itinerary is in the links section of this blog.

By noon on Saturday, I hope to have a gpx file available from this blog that has the locations of stops on the trip.  If you have a GPS unit, you can download this file to the GPS as waypoints and can find your way to all of the places we visit.

Please note some important announcements in previous blog entries that some of the places we will visit require long trousers and closed toe shoes.  Also, please note that our first meal on Sunday afternoon will be on your own in the Bridgeport area.  We will be picking up most meals directly but in this instance we will be breaking up to speed lunch to get us to Cathedral State Park more quickly giving us more time to observe the virgin forest there.

Don't forget how many paces you need to take to measure 66 feet.  We calibrated ourselves when we were in Ritter Park on April 21.  To do the tree estimates and board feet calculations, you will need to pace off 66 feet from the base of the tree.  For me, that distance is 29 paces at a brisk natural gait.  Your pace will certainly be different.

Please check back with this blog frequently for updates.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

JUNE 29th DERECHO and it's Effect on Timber. 

The recent storms in our area have really got me thinking about the forest industry. The storm is being called a Derecho defined as “a widespread, long-lived wind storm that is associated with a band of rapidly moving showers or thunderstorms.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that this Derecho  “formed in northwest Indiana and began carving a path of destruction over 600 miles long. Winds approaching 100 miles per hour were reported during the most intense part of the event (between Fort Wayne, IN and Columbus, OH.)” You can actually see the storm move across the eastern US in this 15 second timelase clip provided by NOAA.

This has me thinking about all the downed trees in our area. Im adding a video clip from WSAZ news below. It is kind of long but I want to point out a few important sections. Notice from 1:05 - 1:30, and again at 3:25, you can hear and see WSAZ’s Jessica Ralston and Bill Murray talk about some of the damage in the Huntington Tri-State area.  At around 1:25 you can see workers loading downed branches into a massive wood chipper similar to the one on the right.
WSAZ NewsChannel 3 
I can’t help but to think about what an enormous waist this is. I realize that restoring power is the first priority, and that may mean that some small trees and downed limbs must be quickly cleared. Im not even suggesting that things should have been done differently. But I also realize that this storm effected an extremely wide area, over 600 miles long. So what happens to these trees? Can they be harvested and used? I know in our area, three that are covering the road ways are normally cut and placed on the side of the road. Within an hour or so, someone will stop and gather the wood to burn in a wood burning stove, etc. But what about all the trees and limbs that are “off the beaten path?”  Does this simply begin the natural decomposition process for all the downed limbs and trees? We all realize that a storm such as this has an enormous economic impact. But is the forest industry also economically impacted?

If anyone has insight on this, please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Preparing for the summer trip

We will soon be leaving for our week-long trip across the state to locations of importance to the timber and rail industries. There are couple of points that I need to remind you about:
·         Several of the manufacturing sites we will visit require long pants and closed toe shoes. Please don’t forget to pack these items.
·         Some sites require protective eyewear (safety glasses) and hearing protection (ear plugs). These will be provided for you. If you have the hardhat from last summer, please bring it with you. If you were not part of last summer’s trip, a loaner hardhat can be provided for you if needed.
·         If the past three weeks are any indication, we can expect hot weather for our trip. You may want to bring a water bottle and cool clothing for the days that we are not in a plant requiring long pants.
·         There is a list of things to bring in the “Expectations” document that you were given at our first class meeting last winter. Here are some things that you will want to make sure to not forget:

§  Samsung Galaxy Tab Computer
§  Vernier LabQuest Pro & water quality probes
§  Tree identification books
§  Tape Measure
§  Shorts and long pants
§  Sweatshirts, Columbia type shirts, changes of socks, hat or cap
§  Hiking shoes/boots for walking on trails and visiting manufacturing plants
§  Light rain jacket (Frog Toggs or Dry Ducks are great)
§  Windbreaker
§  Sunglasses
§  Hardhat
§  Refillable water bottle
§  Insect spray, sunscreen
§  Toiletries and medications
§  Phone card if you wish to call home
§  Cash for incidental meals and snacks or souvenirs
§  Chargers and connection cables for electronics
·         As in prior years, some of the places we will visit are in remote locations. Suitable bathroom facilities may be scarce. Please (as much as possible under the circumstances) be patient.
·         Please remember that there are four requirements you need to complete before I can process your stipend for the summer project:
1.       Local tree guide (including photos and descriptions of at least 12 tree species) that your students can use. This may be best done on a tab of your blog although you may have other ways as well.
2.       Narrative and photos on the determination of board feet from a standing tree
3.       Assessment of water quality on 4 Pole Creek including data tables
4.      Three professional quality lesson plans using the provided lesson plan format or another comparable layout. Lesson plans should be in Microsoft Word format and sent to Steve via email. They should also be provided on a link from your blog page and available to visitors to your blog. You may find that it is convenient to upload your lesson plans to Dropbox, SugarSync, Amazon Cloud Storage,, or ShareSend.

 Please take time to review the itinerary in our shared Dropbox space. Especially note that we are meeting in the parking lot of the Cabell County Central Office at 8:30 am on Sunday, July 15. We will depart promptly as scheduled.

I can’t wait to get started on our culminating experience from the Forestry and Rail Transport project. Seeing many of the things that we have discussed in class will give you the tools to make your lessons come to life for your students.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Articles of Interest

Pat and I have been hopping this week.  We have a camp (Shewey Science Academy) that has over 120 students in Mingo County this week.  Students can attend the academy at any of four sites (Gilbert, Lenore, Matewan or Williamson) to do inquiry based science and math. 

While we love seeing all of these students enjoying learning, it sure does wear a couple of old guys out!  We look forward to the beginning of the Shewey Science Academy each year but we also look forward to having it completed.  This is the fifth year that we have done it and we think it gets better each year.

Working with us are Wes Neal of Huntington High, Derek Fry, a recent chemistry education graduate and Keri Gregory a science education major at Marshall University.  This is a fantastic team that gets has done a great job for the students here.

In the evenings, I have been doing some reading to prepare for our trip in July.  I found a couple of things in the Elkins InterMountain Newspaper that may interest you:

West Virginia’s Largest Butternut Tree – also known as a white walnut

Historic Beverly Plans a Busy Summer – we will spend a day in Beverly, just south of Elkins

Don’t forget to register and attend the blog sessions that Brian McNeel is doing.  I am confident that Brian can help you improve the content and appearance of your blog.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer itinerary updated

Plans for the summer trip around the state to locations of importance to the timber industry continue to take shape.  You can access the updated draft itinerary HERE.

Please note that on July 16-17 (Monday-Tuesday) you must wear long pants and closed toe (not sandals) shoes for safety reasons.  You will be provided with safety glasses and hearing protection for your tours.

Also, please note that some time has been built into the schedule for walking tours of areas with local trees and with structures of historical importance.  You may especially want to check the walking tour of historic Beverly, WV.

Don’t forget that there are specific blogging requirements prior to the summer trip.  If you need assistance with blogging, two sessions have been scheduled before the trip.  If you are available on June 14 and/or 21, please contact Karen at the central office to register.

Keep watching the blog for updates to the trip itinerary.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Extra helping of blogs

As you are aware, there are some requirements for your blogs prior to summer culminating trip to places of importance to the timber industry in the state.  Although we have addressed some of the basics of blogging with you, we realize that you may have forgotten some things about blogging or feel that you need some extra help.  After all, blogging is not something that many of us do every day.
To help you get on top of the blogging requirement for this project as well as to enhance your blogging skills, we have asked Brian McNeel to conduct a couple of sessions where you can catch up on your blog, sharpen your blogging skills and learn some new tricks and tips.  Brian has a lot of technology savvy and can help you make blogs that are attractive, informative, educational and professional.
Brian will be in a computer lab at the Cabell County Board of Education Central Office from 12:30 – 2:30 on June 14 and 21 (Thursdays) to assist you.  You may attend either or both sessions.
If you are interested in attending one or both days of Brian’s blog session, please call Karen McClanahan at 304-528-5011 to register.  If you register and attend, I can provide you with a $50 stipend for attendance at each session that you attend.
Please take advantage of this opportunity to improve your blogs through Brian’s workshop.  The skills that you learn will not only improve your timber and rail blogs for your students but will give you the knowledge to make better blogs for other educational projects.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Closing of School

I hope that everyone is getting ready for closing out school and has had a great semester.  Having summer break start this early in the summer is wonderful.
Since I have been on vacation for the past couple of weeks, I have not been checking your blogs recently but I hope to read and comment on everyone’s blog updates within the next couple of days.  Hopefully, you are keeping up on your blog updates and preparing a resource for your students.

While I was on vacation, I kept my trip journal as a blog (  The purpose of my blog was to record our vacation sites and experiences.  My audience was my family and friends.  Although I don’t think that my blog is excellent, it does show how information can be joined with links, photos, maps and other tools.  Keep in mind that your blogs’ purposes are not the same as my vacation blog.  You are creating an educational resource and your audience is your students so your writing should be like any other resource that you would provide as an educator.  Please do not neglect to update your blogs as identified in prior postings as well as discussed on our April 21 field trip.

Also, please keep in mind that you can send your lesson plans any time prior to August 15.  A template is provided although you may feel free to use another outline if you prefer.

Plans are continuing to develop for the summer culminating experience for the Forestry and Rail Transport project.  We want to make this year’s trip even better than the past two years.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Hatfield & McCoy Feud TV Show

As you have probably heard, The History Channel will be airing a special on the Hatfields & McCoys beginning on May 31.  The series stars Kevin Costner (Devil Anse Hatfiled), Bill Paxton (Randolph McCoy) and many others.

While working in Mingo County over the past few weeks, I have spoken to several people who were interviewed for the series.  They report that the show portrays the events fairly accurately and does not show people from the region in an especially unflattering light.

As a resident of West Virginia, I would suggest that we watch the Hatfields & McCoys.  The previews look excellent.

An interesting article on the Hatfield-McCoy Feud can be found on the West Virginia Archives and History website.

As an early timber baron, Devil Anse Hatfield is of special interest to educators in the Forestry and Rail Transport project.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Stipends Increased for Summer 2012

As you are aware, one of our deliverables for the Forestry and Rail Transport project is the development and sharing of three lesson plans that use forestry, forest products, logging, railroads and/or water quality as focal points.  These lesson plans should be closely tied to content standards in your field and include at least two other content areas (total of three subjects). 

These lesson plans should be of the professional quality that will be of use to educators not only throughout Cabell County but across the state and beyond.  Although a lesson plan format is provided, you may feel free to use a format that you may be more comfortable using as long as the quality remains high. This template is also in our shared TimberRail Dropbox folder.  A link to the template is also in the Handouts area of our project blog.

Lesson plans should be in Microsoft Word format and sent to Steve via email.  They should also be provided on a link from your blog page and available to visitors to your blog.  You may find that it is convenient to upload your lesson plans to Dropbox, SugarSync, Amazon Cloud Storage,, or ShareSend.

In the 2010 and 2011 projects, participants were paid $100 per day for the 6 day summer culminating experience and $200 for the development and posting of three lesson plans.  Total stipend for the summer was $800.  This year, the stipend will be restructured slightly.  You will be paid $1000 for the completion of the summer project.  This includes participation in all aspects of the summer trip and the development and posting of three professional quality lesson plans based on the project.  All work must be completed by August 15 since the last stipends must be submitted for payment on that date.

You may prepare the required lesson plans at any time.  If you would like to write your lessons before the summer trip, that is not only acceptable but is highly desirable.  I can get payment for your $1000 stipend submitted as soon as the trip is complete and you have sent your three high quality lesson plans.  I cannot provide stipends to participants who do not complete the project.