Call for Volunteer Bloggers!

Have you visited the Forestry Outreach Center, attended a recent event, or hiked the Pinnacles lately? Do you have a story to share about an experience in the Berea College Forest, past or present? Can you provide insight into the flora, fauna, or history of College Forest lands? If so, we invite you to consider volunteering to contribute to this website as a guest blogger! Submit your post, including a photo or two, if possible, to Alison Adkins at Alison_adkins@berea.edu . We hope to be reading your story on this site very soon!  

by Jay Buckner

Kentucky “The Dark and Bloody Ground”: Into the Myth and the First Peoples.

By Caleb Flege

When I was younger I was taught all sorts of things, and as a child, I had to believe those things because I had no reason not to. As we grow we begin to learn that the truth isn’t always true and that the winners wrote our history; because of that, it is our responsibility to learn the truth we were never taught. Growing up in Kentucky and learning about the “Indians,” I was always told that they never lived here. I was told Kentucky was their sacred hunting ground and that they only stayed here for short periods while hunting or traveling through. Later on in my education, that story was ingrained deeper when I heard the myth of “the Dark and Bloody ground”. This myth is believed to have originated from a native leader by the name of Dragging Canoe in 1775 at a treaty negotiation where the Cherokee nation would lose a large portion of what is now Kentucky to Richard Henderson’s Transylvania Company. What Dragging Canoe reportedly said was that “a dark cloud hung over the land, known as the Bloody Ground”. What the white people distorted this to mean was “that a conflict existed between Indian groups over Kentucky lands and that, therefore, the land was not claimed by any of them. Thus, if Kentucky was not the property of any particular Indian group, land speculators could justify selling this “free” land to settlers; and the settlers had every right to move in and establish farms.” Others believe it was meant as a premonition of the wars that would be fought over Kentucky. Either way, the myth that no one lived here is just that, a myth, and there is ample proof to dispel it. Kentucky “The Dark and Bloody Ground” will be a bi-weekly (hopefully) blog that explores the rich history of Kentucky natives from 9500 B.C.E to present day. Read more “Kentucky “The Dark and Bloody Ground”: Into the Myth and the First Peoples.”

On Being Outside

by Aloyce Riziki

It the voices of birds chirping joyfully,

The sound of trees swaying gracefully,

The flow of creeks burbling gently,

That makes me appreciate nature’s rhapsody.

It’s watching the squirrels moving cautiously,

Avoiding the bugs bugging endlessly,

Admiring the butterflies flying meticulously,

That reminds me to be alive and even more, mindfully.

It’s the sound of raindrops in the quiet forest,

The occasional touch of sunrays penetrating leaves,

The feeling of calm gentle wind across my skin,

That awakens my sense of gratitude and grace.

It’s the steepness and flatness of the hiking paths,

The roughness and gentleness of the soil structure,

The brown, dark grey and green colors of the flora,

That teaches me to find colors in the black & white lifestyle.

It’s the spectacular view after the hard climb,

The pause at the top allows for a reflection on the journey,

It makes me appreciate the ups and downs of the process,

Reminding me to embrace my own life’s hike.

Knowing the goal is as important as the process.

Go outside, be open to the outside, and learn from the Outside!

A Time For Pause

By Michelle Berendsen

A Time for Pause

When the cold settles, the earth grows quiet.
When the cold settles, the world pauses.
When the cold settles, change happens.

The bear… wanting naught but food and slumber.
The grass… wilting and falling beneath the snow.
The lost animal… pining for its reunion with summer.

They know this is not forever.
They understand this is a time to prepare.
They feel the knowledge the earth lends.

Read more “A Time For Pause”

To Everything There is a Season

by Jordan Byrnes

Winter has arrived in Kentucky. The winter solstice is December 21st, but for me winter begins when the thermometer drops below 32◦, the last leaves fall, and sunset is around 5:00pm. The lack of sunlight, fresh air, and time outdoors can be disheartening.

Winter can be inhospitable, but I see silver linings. Every season is full of gifts and opportunities. Some of these are easy to identify and understand. The new beginnings of spring, the sunny summer moments of carefree living, the bountiful and colorful autumn harvest.

Others are not so easy. The violent storms that come when seasons change, the brutal heat of summer, or the bitter cold of winter. These require us to look beyond appearances to see deeper meaning.

Read more “To Everything There is a Season”

Now Presenting: Brushy Fork Nature Coalition

by Chase Denny

There is a new kid on the block, folks! Berea College is proud to present the newly established organization known as the Brushy Fork Nature Coalition (BFNC). Student-led and student established group with the purpose of engaging students, faculty, staff, and community members. The BFNC plans to do this through opportunities that prove to be service-oriented, educational, and beneficial to the environment. The mission of the Brushy Fork Nature Coalition is to clean, maintain, and restore Brushy Fork’s Forest & Trails in order to provide an educational and recreational setting that offers students an opportunity to learn about the environment, wildlife, sustainability, and the outdoors. Berea College Sophomore Hunter McDavid is the founder and coordinator of the Brushy Fork Nature Coalition. Working alongside Hunter as the advisor for this coalition is the Forestry Outreach Center’s own Wendy Warren. This is an exciting development for nature lovers, those going into a nature related profession, and/or anyone that is interested in the beautiful scenery Brushy Fork has to offer. Brushy Fork is located right behind the Alumni Building at Berea College and is home to many beautiful sights

Read more “Now Presenting: Brushy Fork Nature Coalition”

Why Are We Building a Bridge?

Chase Denny                                                 

Why do we ever build bridges? Sure, we build bridges to travel over water so we can take our fancy cars from place to place or so we don’t get our feet wet when we need to cross a creek. Although these functions are very helpful, I do not believe these are the most important uses for a bridge. Bridges can be so much more than some concrete or some wood we use so our hiking boots stay dry. Bridges connect places and more importantly, bridges can connect people. They can help establish entire communities from nothing or repair longstanding communities that are on the brink of falling apart. This is why we are building a bridge through our work here at the Forestry Outreach Center (FOC).

Read more “Why Are We Building a Bridge?”

If a Tree Falls…

by Trent Powell

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Of course! But even if people were around to hear it, they would never be able to understand what the tree was saying. Peter Wohlleben, forester and author of “The Hidden Life of Trees”, discovered that trees, much like many other living organisms, have a way of communicating with one another.

Read more “If a Tree Falls…”

Neuroscience in Nature

Civilization grows at an exponential rate, and our technologies and influence over the Earth is ever evolving. It is astounding how different things were 100, 50, even 25 years ago. One large difference is our shift towards the comforts of living indoors, not just as a country, but as a society. In fact, as of around 2008, the majority of the world’s population (and 54% as of 2014) lived in urban areas. This is the first time in the history of the world that this has happened (UN 2014).

Read more “Neuroscience in Nature”

Breathing Too Loudly

I don’t want anyone to hear me breathe too loudly.

This is the thought that held me back from hiking for so many years. That held me back from doing quite a bit of things, really. It is no secret that walking uphill causes a person to breathe more heavily, but imagine for a moment, that you believe to do so–to breathe heavily–is wrong.

Read more “Breathing Too Loudly”

10 Wonderful Words about Nature and Pictures at the Pinnacles

I am convinced that language is the most fascinating aspect of anthropological study. We can study a culture’s words and oral customs and make inferences about that culture’s historic development and daily rituals. A language (and its numerous dialects) provides insight into what is prominent in the lives of its speakers. Words that describe very specific feelings or images are particularly intriguing; I try to imagine the origins of these words, the people that first spoke them, and what the word looked like when they were adopted.

Read more “10 Wonderful Words about Nature and Pictures at the Pinnacles”