March 28, 2011
Appalachian Heritage Week is April 4-8 at Lees-McRae College

In the Mountains, of the Mountains and for the Mountains-these words have long defined Lees-McRae College. This spring a special Appalachian Heritage Week will once again highlight Lees-McRae's commitment to Appalachia. From April 4th through the 8th, each day the college will celebrate a particular aspect of mountain heritage and invites everyone to participate in activities sponsored by the Stephenson Center for Appalachia.

Monday, April 4, will be natural history and outdoor activities day. In the afternoon from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., tours will leave from the dam of the millpond to travel Hemlock Trail. The hike will feature discussions of the hemlock woolly adelgid that has attacked the 500-year old hemlocks along the trail, and its natural enemy, Laricobius nigrinus, that was released in an experiment to see whether the adelgid's predator will thrive and reproduce, thus saving an indispensable part of Southern Appalachian ecology.

Along the trail LMC students will present different features of outdoor Appalachia. Highlighting the natural denizens of the area will be students from the Wildlife Rehabilitation Program with some of the birds and beasts that are wildlife ambassadors. Also students from the LMC Backpacking Club will display both a contemporary campsite and one typical of a century ago. The Rock Climbing Club will demonstrate belaying, rappelling, and climbing, while the LMC Search and Rescue Team will staff a first-aid station.

That evening, beginning at 5:00 the cafeteria, will serve traditional Appalachian fare while the group Us Fellers plays old time music.

On Tuesday, Appalachian Agriculture will take the stage. Lee Rankin will bring alpacas from her Apple Hill Farm to illustrate the growing field of agri-tourism. She will also have available socks, scarves and other products created from the fine alpaca fiber. Joining her in Tate Lawn next to Hayes Auditorium will be Annmarie Hall with a horse-drawn wagon to take students and visitors on a tour of the campus.

Tuesday evening beginning at 6:30 in Evans Auditorium of Cannon Student Center will be the opportunity to meet several local farmers and learn about their produce, what they have now and will have at the farmers' market this spring. Trosly Farms, Sugar Bear Farms, North Fork Farms, Barbara Aycock, Pam Joslin and Al Snipes will attend. At 7:00 p.m. Avery County Agricultural Extension Agent Adam Keener will lecture on the history and the current state of agriculture in Avery County.

Wednesday will feature Appalachian Arts and Crafts. King-Shivell Lounge in the Cannon Student Center will feature artwork by Lees-McRae Students. Beginning at 1:00 p.m. potter Rob Withrow from Brasstown, North Carolina, will demonstrate his pot-throwing technique in Swank Park behind Chafee Administration building. That night at 7:00 p.m. in the Stafford Room of Carson Library Jesse Knight of the Communication Arts faculty will present his documentary on the timber frame construction of a new blacksmith facility at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Thursday will focus on literature with research librarian Donese Preswood holding an open house of the Stirling Collection of the Carson Library from 12:00-4:00 and 6:00-7:00 in the evening. At 7:00 Dr. James Gifford will present a program on Appalachian poet, novelist, essayist and educator Jesse Stuart. Gifford, who has recently published the authoritative biography of Stuart, is the executive director of the Jesse Stuart Foundation. The library will also display many of Stuart's books from the Stirling Collection.

The week will conclude Friday with Lees-McRae's First Lady Deborah Buxton holding an open house in the Daniel Boone VI Cottage on the campus. Boone taught in LMC's blacksmith program in the late 1930s before going on to make the iron work for Colonial Williamsburg in his Boone Forge. The cottage features some of his original ironwork. Hot tea, homemade cookies and bottled water will be provided throughout the day beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Joining Mrs. Buxton from 3:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon will be Mike Hensley, a celebrated contemporary blacksmith whose father Bea worked in the Boone Forge with Daniel Boone VI before establishing his own shop where he and Mike have worked for many years. At 7:00 p.m. in Evans Auditorium Mike Hensley will present a program on Daniel Boone VI and contemporary blacksmithing.

Except for the dinner on Monday night, all events are free and open to the public. The dinner with music in MacDonald Dining Hall of the college will be served from 5:00-7:00 and costs $9.70.

"We invite everyone to join us in our celebration of our Appalachian Heritage. Whether you can contribute to our understanding of the past, or hope to learn more about mountain culture, please join us for one or all of our activities," says Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachian.

For further information contact Meghan Wright at 898-8729 or e-mail Michael Joslin at

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