November 2014 - Spotlighting Member Projects
The First Two Months
The 2014-2015 AFHA AmeriCorps team has been serving for two months now, which means that the group has had a chance to settle in and projects are well underway. Here are a few photos showing what members have been up to:
The west side of the Darden Mill (facing the train tracks) in Elkins is getting a paint job. Here Hands-On Team Members Blake Crow and Katie Booth are scraping as they prepare to paint. Photo: Scott Prouty 
Emily Peters, serving with U.S. Fish & Wildlife, talking about the importance of pollinators (using a pollinator finger puppet) to a North Elementary School class during the Mountain State Forest Festival in Elkins, WV.
Photo: Tamara Lewis, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 
Chip Chase, right, giving a tour of Caanan Valley State Park to AFHA Members during the October team meeting. Photo: Scott Prouty 
Restoring brook trout habitat in the Potomac Headwaters
The author reintroducing native West Virginia brook trout. Photo: Travis Ferry
By Travis Ferry
AFHA AmeriCorps Conservation Team Member
When I first decided to take the AFHA AmeriCorps Conservation member position with Trout Unlimited’s (TU) Potomac Headwaters Home Rivers Initiative (PHHRI) here in West Virginia, I knew I was bound to have some good experiences, but I had no clue just how amazing they would be. It soon became pretty clear that I was in for a great year. During the second week of my service, I was fortunate to assist the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and Trout Unlimited with a brook trout reintroduction project in the Potomac Headwaters.  To conservationists and fishermen, reintroducing native West Virginia brook trout to an extirpated stream is a great accomplishment.

I am currently working with Trout Unlimited’s PHHRI in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia to protect, restore, and re-connect native brook trout waters. The overarching goal is to reconnect isolated headwater populations to main stem rivers in order to produce a destination fishery containing the trophy sized brook trout that historically existed in these streams. Brook trout are a mobile species that require cold, clean water to survive.  TU’s efforts focus is on both near and in-stream habitats, each of which is essential to maintaining healthy populations of fish. A significant portion of the work in the Potomac focuses on riparian restoration, which consists of restoring the forested corridors along streams by installing agricultural exclusion fencing to reduce erosion from livestock hoof shear while providing a buffer to nutrients entering the stream. By re-planting native vegetation we help spur the benefits provided by a healthy riparian habitat, which provides shade to maintain cold water temperatures necessary for brook trout survival and a strong network of roots to reduce sediment inputs from erosion. The PHHRI also works to reconnect habitat through the mitigation of aquatic organism passage barriers, such as culverts and low-water bridges. TU replaces the barriers with fish and vehicle friendly structures. The PHHRI is also working to enhance and restore in-stream habitat through the addition of rock and wood. These materials create pools, stabilize eroding banks, and increase habitat complexity necessary for aquatic organisms. 
East Fork of the Greenbrier, showing a forested riparian buffer and woody material additions. Photo: Travis Ferry
Over the course of my term of service I will be working with TU to engage members and the general public in brook trout and cold water conservation projects. In the next few months, I will be working with partners to host numerous WV Save Our Streams water quality monitoring workshops and riparian tree plantings set for spring 2015. In addition, I will be spreading the word on TU’s efforts in the Potomac Headwaters through news articles, blog posts, and social media. If you are interested in learning more about trout restoration in the Potomac Headwaters or if you want to know more about volunteer opportunities with TU, you can contact me at 304-614-6699 or

The Art in Architectural Maintenance

By Benjamin Cantor-Stone  
AFHA AmeriCorps Hands-Om Member

Although my professional background is in archaeology and museum management, my favorite hobby is sculpture in clay. My work is abstract, figurative, or practical, depending on my mood or the recipient. Two of my pieces have won awards at the Minnesota State Fair. However, I didn’t think I’d get to sculpt anything while repairing windows.

Clearly, I was wrong. When an historic wooden window frame has sustained severe rot, it is necessary to replace the lost wood and protect what remains. There are two main materials you can use to replace the rotted wood:

  1. A new piece of wood (commonly called a “Dutchman”) that has been sealed against the elements…or…

  2. Putty Epoxy, a caustic substance that has to be mixed in gloved hands and sticks to pretty much everything except wax paper.   

The finished bay window in Arthurdale's forge.
Photo: Benjamin Cantor-Stone

I spent hours applying epoxy to nail holes and rotted beams in the large windows of Arthurdale’s New Deal-era forge. During that time, I learned that my sculptor’s eye proved advantageous – I measured angles on existing wood, extending it out to lost areas. Holes were smoothed over by (gloved) hands and various tools – all wrapped in wax paper, of course. Some tools had to be purpose-built, or whittled for small areas. I was pretty ready for this before I started with the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area, but now I can do it without supervision and take it wherever I go next…or maybe I’ll just spend another year up here!

Experience the heritage of your area! Sites of the Month spotlights events and locations within the region, based on AFHA's four themes: forestry, history, culture, and nature.
A portion of the land that is now called Garrett State Forest was donated to Maryland in 1906 by John and Robert Garett on the condition that the state start a forestry service. Originally called Swallow Falls State Forest, the initial donation of 1,917 acres has expanded to nearly 7,000 acres that includes cranberry bogs, beaver dams, and a 40 acre stand of old growth white pine and hemlock. Both Swallow Falls and Herrington Manor State Parks are located within the Forest. A number of CCC work projects were built here, including a dam and lake, cabins and a pavilion. The Forest also includes the Kindness Demonstration Area (featured in AFHA's December 2013 Newsletter) and is suitable for hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding, skiing, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities. 
Located in the restored B&O railroad station in Philippi, the Barbour County Historical Musuem features displays and artifacts documenting the history of the county. The Museum also sits at one end of the Phillippi Covered Bridge (featured in AFHA's February 2014 Newsletter). Perhaps the best known attraction in the Museum is a pair of mummies which had previously gone on tour in the U.S. and Europe with P.T. Barnum's circus in the late 1800s. The mummies were preserved by county resident Graham Hamrick. 

The Hampshire County Arts Council (HCAC) is a group with a mission to promote the arts in the county. Their website includes an events calendar featuring concerts, readings, exhibit openings, and theatrical productions. Other resources include information about member artists, guest artists, their summer camp, and an archive of their work to date. HCAC concerts regularly take place at the Bottling Works in Romney. The Hampshire Highlands Studio Tour featuring the county’s visual artists is taking place this weekend, November 14-16th

The Elk River Wildlife Management Area in Braxton County is owned by the WV Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It is the oldest wildlife management area in the state and its 18,225 acres run along Elk and Holly Rivers as well as Sutton Lake. Within these bodies of waters there are bass, bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, muskellunge, trout, and walleye. There is old growth timber in the area and deer, squirrel, turkey, and may be hunted along the trails. There are campgrounds on the south side of the lake at Baker's Run.  
Do you have a suggestion for Sites of the Month? Email us at: and let us know your favorite sites throughout AFHA!
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Our mailing address is:
Appalachian Forest Heritage Area
P.O. Box 1206
Elkins, WV 26241