BRCA Gets an Interactive StoryMap
The Blue Ridge Mountains and nearby areas are full of natural and cultural history, forest and farmland, diverse animal and plant species, outdoor recreation opportunities and streams that provide us with water for drinking, fishing and swimming. The Appalachian Trail runs at the spine of the Blue Ridge, offering a chance to relax, stay healthy, and see the area from a different perspective at various outlooks. The Blue Ridge Conservation Alliance is a regional partnership that is working to foster collaboration among partners working to protect and promote these unique characteristics of the Blue Ridge, from Front Royal to Harpers Ferry. Each organization and person has a different story and perspective to tell about what makes the Blue Ridge special.
In 2019, two recent graduates of the Piedmont Environmental Council’s fellowship program dove deep into learning about the Blue Ridge and telling its story. Kaitlin and Nell met through the program and used their interests and education to collaborate on their capstone project – a storymap about the Blue Ridge Mountains and Blue Ridge Conservation Alliance
My name is Kaitlin King, I am a senior Integrated Science and Technology major at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. As a previous participant of the 2019 PEC Fellowship program I was able to become engaged with the Blue Ridge region through a hands-on project for the Blue Ridge Conservation Alliance. My favorite part about this project was being able to make it our own and incorporating so many different aspects of the Blue Ridge into it. I learned so much about the ecology, agriculture, history, and recreational values of the Blue Ridge, and how to utilize the interactive story map tool to share these values!
Nell Pearson is a senior at Bates College where she double majors in anthropology and history. As a PEC fellow, she wanted to learn more about the history of the Blue Ridge Mountains and talk to some people who call this region home. Through interviews, historical research, and site visits, Nell and Kaitlin were able to translate residents’ experiences into an interactive story map. After graduation, Nell hopes to pursue urban resilience and planning.