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About Journey Up Coal River

The Coal River website is a multimedia resource centered around an interactive set of maps of the Coal River Valley. The maps were created in conjunction with local residents to discuss their concerns as well as share lessons regarding sustainable living, cultural values, and close connection to land and community. This website features dozens of audio interviews with community members, photos, videos, and music, as well as college-level lesson plans to reach out to students.

There are three objectives for our project: first, to increase awareness of the current concerns in the Coal River Valley; secondly, to provide a forum for local residents to actively shape how their home is viewed by participating in the creation of the website; thirdly, to use multimedia and cross-disciplinary curriculum to engage university students in the real-world research context of Coal River Valley. We also aim to encourage people to come to the Valley to work with community members for a more just, sustainable economy and to stop mountaintop removal. To get involved, please see this page.

This website is released in conjunction with the benefit CD Still Moving Mountains: The Journey Home, which includes music from national musicians such as Kathy Mattea and Del McCoury as well as West Virginia musicians and Coal River residents. The concept for the CD and multimedia website was birthed at a grassroots level and is being carried out with constant communication and cooperation with valley residents.

The project is being presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily represent those of the West Virginia Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Aurora Lights (AL) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to "strengthen connections within and between human communities and their natural environment." In West Virginia, Aurora Lights supports hands-on environmental education programs for college students, reforestation programs through our native trees nursery, and overseas opportunities for local students to travel to the Ecuadorian Amazon to experience First People's connections to the land. We specifically organize, lead and fund weekend trips to the coalfields as well as summer internships. In addition, AL produced a CD compilation of interviews and music entitled "Moving Mountains," with $6,500 in proceeds going to support southern West Virginian coal-field residents, individual educators and activists concerned with the issue of mountaintop removal coal mining.

Additional information about Aurora Lights and our mission statement can be found here.

Cartographic work done by Fritz Boettner GIS coordinator for Downstream Strategies, a small, Morgantown, W.Va.-based environmental consulting firm. Thank you Fritz!

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make this project a reality. We've tried to list everyone here, but so many people volunteered their time that we may have left someone out. If so, we apologize and please let us know so we can put you up here.

Matt Finck
Will Wickham
Milo Marlo
Eric Blevins
Magpie Killjoy
Mat Louis-Rosenberg
Glen Collins
Jason Johnson
Jen Barton
Devin Ceartas
Matt Townsend
Danielle Henry
Mary Hufford
Fritz Boettner
Chelsea Riter-Soronen
Matt Noerpel

Thank you all so very much!