Summer 2016 Newsletter
View from future project site in the Monongahela National Forest
       July 1, 2016 - October 1, 2016

Project Results
Much of the summer was spent establishing monitoring plots at 2016 project sites, monitoring plots at former project sites, and completing project reports. Click the button below to see some our 2016 project final reports. 

Seedling from 2016 site in the Daniel Boone National Forest
One of the 600+ vernal pools created in the Mower Tract
Project Spotlight: Mower Tract
The Mower Tract is located on Cheat Mountain in the Monongahela National Forest (MNF), which traverses the entire length of central Randolph County, WV. Red Spruce once covered much of this area within the West Virginia Highlands. After the industrial logging era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the red spruce ecosystem was reduced to less than 10 percent of what originally existed. Removal of the forest through extensive logging was linked to regional flooding and was key to the establishment of the MNF. In addition to logging, over 2,000 acres of the Mower Tract was mined for coal in the 1970s. Reclamation of the mined land involved the compacting of soil to ensure slope stability and planting of non-native trees and grasses. Compacted soils and a non-native grass mat have prevented native species recolonization. Restoring the native red spruce community in the mined area was initiated in 2009 through a partnership between ARRI, US Forest Service, GFW, NRCS and others. To date we have helped plant about 150,000 plants on more than 350 acres at Mower. As a component of the project, many (>600) small vernal wetlands (shown in photo) have been created throughout the reforestation area to provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, including salamanders, frogs, and birds. Work continues at the site and we have begun exotic conifer removal and ripping on another 120 acres. Approximately 75,000 additional seedlings will be planted in the Spring of 2017. Looking forward, we hope to continue our efforts here until all 2,000 acres are returned to native forestland.
Sixth graders participate in a hands-on activity to learn how they are impacted by agriculture

Outreach Spotlight: Breckinridge County Youth Agriculture Expo Day
The Breckinridge County Extension Council partnered with community leaders and local schools to achieve the second annual Breckinridge County Youth Agriculture Expo Day: Grow It, Eat It, Wear It. The Youth Expo was held at the FFA Training Facility in Hardinsburg, KY. Mary Sheldon, a Green Forests Work and Coal Country Beeworks representative, presented information concerning differing types of bees and species characteristics. The students learned about the immense impact bees have on agriculture and the environment. The students were also shown a Langstroth Hive used for honey bees, discussing the practice of beekeeping along with how bee products can be used in healthy daily living. As many students have very little understanding of how agriculture impacts their daily lives, the Expo provided 10 hands-on learning stations for approximately 275 local 6th graders to explore the various aspects of agriculture relating to animal sciences, crops, production, land management, soil conservation, and agriculture careers. 
Initiative Spotlight: Job Creation
Green Forests Work, in partnership with the Breaks Interstate Park, the Appalachian Center, the Access Fund, and the Southwest Virginia Climbers Coalition, was involved in establishing rock climbing as an officially sanctioned activity at the Breaks Interstate Park on the Kentucky-Virginia line. The introduction of rock climbing is anticipated to restore lost personnel positions at the park, provide opportunities for new businesses in the nearby community of Elkhorn City, and lead to improved resource protection at the park.The ultimate goal of this project is to provide a model for other coal-impacted communities on how to make a transition to a more sustainable use of natural resources. This project has also become involved with the Explore Kentucky Initiative, which promotes a sense of pride in Kentucky’s natural heritage. By providing Appalachians access to explore and connect with the landscape, it is hoped that a sense of ownership will be created that will instill a sense of responsibly to the region.

New Partnership
GFW has teamed up with Appalachian Headwaters to undertake reforestation projects and watershed restoration activities related to a settlement between Alpha Natural Resources and Appalachian Mountain Advocates. Funds will be used to conduct reforestation projects on surface mined lands owned by Alpha. GFW will mainly be providing technical assistance but will also help financially support a new Reforestation Coordinator who will oversee restoration activities. Contact Kate Asquith with Appalachian Headwaters to inquire about the position.

RCPP Update
We experienced several hurdles throughout the summer with our RCPP project: the 300-acre project in Ohio was reduced to 120 acres; only one of the three Kentucky projects was pursued and its acreage was also reduced, and efforts will now only be focused in Kentucky and Ohio rather than in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland as well. Despite these minor setbacks, Kylie, our Reforestation Coordinator, is confident we can pick up the pace in 2017. The Kentucky site has been brushed (shown in photo) and will be planted in the spring of 2017. 

Fundraising Event
November 29, 2016 (Giving Tuesday) through December 31, 2016 is the GoodGiving Guide Challenge. This is an online giving campaign that allows non-profits in central in eastern Kentucky to compete for endowment prizes. During the time frame listed above, donations made through our Razoo page will be counted toward the Challenge. Want to be a fundraiser? Contact us!

Copyright © 2016, Green Forests Work, All rights reserved.
Green Forests Work
TP Cooper Building
730 Rose Street
Lexington, KY 40546-0073
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