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Culture and the Environment Focus of ACES Meeting at West Virginia University
01/08/2007

Cultural aspects of ethnobotanical studies will be the focus of presentations and a workshop at the next meeting of the Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies (ACES).

The ACES meeting will be held on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 25 and 26, at the Mountainlair on West Virginia University’s downtown campus in Morgantown.

ACES is a joint effort hosted by a consortium of three universities: University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, Frostburg State University and West Virginia University. The virtual center promotes research and outreach on medicinal plants originating in the central Appalachian region.

The meeting begins on Thursday at 10 a.m. with introductions of participants and attendees. The meeting’s cultural theme will be framed with a presentation by Mary Hufford, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Folklore and Ethnography, on aspects of cultural conservation and community forestry in southern West Virginia. Sharing materials and results from her own research in West Virginia and southern New Jersey, Hufford will define seasonal rounds as they pertain to community forests and demonstrate how such seasonal rounds often relate to other types of cultural annual time.

In the afternoon, Hufford will offer a two-hour, hands-on workshop that explores the rich interplay between human culture and the natural environment. Interactive exercises will illustrate the nuts and bolts of cultural documentation, including mapping the times and spaces of the community forest. The workshop will allow participants to examine the cultural practices that produce community around natural resources, including communities of bird watchers and botanizers.

The final presentation of the day will be offered by James Chamberlain, Research Scientist for Non-Timber Forest Products with the U.S. Forest Service in Blacksburg, Va. Chamberlain’s work with a range of species of medicinal and culinary importance includes both ecological assessments and cultural perspectives. His presentation will focus on ramps and cultural aspects of their harvest in the central Appalachians.

The Thursday meeting is open to the public and is free of charge. Students, agency personnel and community-based organizations are welcome to attend. However, in order to accommodate all participants, pre-registration by email is requested by Jan. 22 to lsteele@frostburg.edu or to brent.bailey@mail.wvu.edu.

On Friday, a business meeting of the ACES advisory group will be held in the morning.

For further information on this release, contact:

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