Date: January 5, 2024
Contact: Nanci Bross-Fregonara, Communications Director, Kump Education Center
ELKINS-The Kump Education Center, Elkins, is hosting a Woodlands Heritage Lecture Series beginning Wednesday, January 17 at 7 p.m. in the historic Kump House. The first lecture, “Where the Bison Once Roamed,” will feature Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy, Research Forester, U.S. Forest Service. The four monthly lectures in the series are supported by a grant from the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area and complement the current Wild, Wonderful Woods interpretive display at the Kump House.
Thomas-Van Gundy’s talk will illustrate the importance of mapping approximately 2,600 km of bison and elk trails in West Virginia using historical records, such as county histories and traveler's accounts. “These large animals would have directly altered the landscape through their creation of paths and their consumption of vegetation,” Thomas-Van Gundy said.
“The ties between Native Americans and bison are still being explored for West Virginia, especially in the highlands where less is known about Native American resource use,” she explained. “This map of major bison trails is an important resource for telling a more complete story of the history of forests and woodlands of West Virginia.”
The lecture series focuses on the importance of the Appalachian highlands’ forest heritage, from the centuries-old bison trails to how it affects current and future West Virginia preservation and economic initiatives.
Other lectures in the series include: “Nature’s New Deal: Monongahela National Forest and the New Deal” Wednesday, February 21 at 7 p.m. with Robert C. Whetsell, Archeologist, U.S. Forest Service; “Nature and the Economy in Appalachia” Wednesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. with Eriks Brolis, Director of Economic Development & Strategic Initiatives at The Nature Conservancy of West Virginia; and “From Coal Mine to Forest: The Mower Tract Revival” Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. with Kris Hennig, Partnership Coordinator, U.S. Forest Service.
All the lectures in the series are free and open to the public. Attendees will also be able to explore the historic Kump House and the Wild, Wonderful Woods exhibits. The Kump House is located at 401 Randolph Ave., Elkins (across from Kroger) with parking access in the rear accessible by Seneca Road.
For more information about the KEC, visit kumpeducationcenter.org, the Kump Education Center FB page or email email@example.com. The AFNHA grants were made possible by National Heritage Area funding through the National Park Service.
The Woodlands Heritage Lecture Series at the Kump Education Center will feature four monthly lectures beginning Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the historic Kump House, Elkins. Speakers include, from left to right: Melissa Thomas-Van Gundy, Research Forester, U.S. Forest Service; Robert C. Whetsell, Archeologist, U.S. Forest Service; Eriks Brolis, Director of Economic Development and Strategic Initiatives, The Nature Conservancy of West Virginia; and Kris Hennig, Partnership Coordinator, U.S. Forest Service.