I went to two workshops today at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Biennial Meeting.
Nature Writing was run by Jim Harrison, head of the Outdoor Leadership Program at Emery and Henry College. The college has a program called Semester on the Trail where students hike the A.T. for 12 credits. Well, it’s not as easy as that. They have to journal and process the experience.
Then Johnny Molloy talked about his career as a writer of outdoor guides. He spends over 186 days a year sleeping outdoors.
He was a backpacking bum who started writing a hiking guide and now he’s got over 40 books. He said that there’s no such thing as writer’s block. That just means you don’t feel like writing.
The second workshop was about the A.T.’s unique role in Climate Change Research.
Think about it. The A.T. by going from Georgia to Maine can show the upward migration of animals, and sometimes, plants. Lenny talked about climate modeling. Though he didn’t want to use the word, predict, the models showed that the A.T. will have a 3 to 6 deg. F in the summer in the 2041 to 2060 time frame. The odds are I won’t be alive to feel that. Worse, there will be less rain on the Southern Appalachians and water sources will dry up.
Elizabeth Crisfield, a Ph.D. Student, talked about nature’s adaptation to this change. I really perked up when she pointed out that higher carbon dioxide levels will help poison ivy and make the toxins more potent. The picture above is of Elizabeth and Lenny at their talk.
I walked around the exhibit halls and the campus. It’s a beautiful leafy campus with old solid buildings. Emery and Henry is celebrating its 175th anniversary.