Coal mining, education, history and tourism are some of the stops along the way of the WVU Country Roads Scholars tour, a three-day program for faculty to gain insight into West Virginia industry, culture and communities.

This year’s tour, which runs May 11–13, will explore Charleston and visit sites in Mingo and Logan counties.

“As we step into summer, many of our students are traveling these roads home, back to communities where there’s a new emphasis on changing industries and developing tourism,” said WVU Provost Michele Wheatly. “It’s important that our faculty members get to know more about the communities, the opportunities and the challenges that our future students face in getting to WVU and what awaits when they leave Morgantown.”

The tour is sponsored by the WVU Provost’s office and organized by the WVU Extension Service, which has agents and offices in all 55 counties.

“Our WVU Extension agents are able to show us some of the highlights and challenges of West Virginia communities on this tour,” said Dave Miller, associate provost for Extension and Public Service. “We also have the chance to see WVU at work in these parts of the state.”

In Charleston, the group will tour the Capitol, the West Virginia Culture Center and the Governor’s Mansion, and will hear from Commissioners Betty Carver and Randall Reid-Smith. Local foods will be emphasized at a stop at the Capitol Market, and dinner at the Kanawha County WVU Extension office will provide a chance to prepare and taste recipes from the WVU Extension nutrition programs.

As the tour moves south to Mingo County, it will also include a visit to a current mountaintop mining site in Varney and Twisted Gun Golf Club, a reclaimed mine site near Gilbert. The group will also view the early stages of a high tech coal-to-liquids plant.

The faculty will hear about health care and education from Senator Truman Chafin (D-Mingo) and Delegate Steven Kominar (D-Mingo), an insight into health care from Tim Hatfield of Appalachian Regional Health Care, and tourism from Jeffrey Lusk of the Hatfield-McCoy trail system. Tour goers will also take in some of the legends and lore of the Matewan Massacre and view a reclaimed mine site at the Chief Logan State Park lodge.

The trip will wrap up with a panel of Health Sciences Technology Academy students and a tour of Lincoln County High School in Hamlin.



CONTACT: Ann Bailey Berry

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