Webshop for Cultural Heritage: From the Inside Out

Uploaded by serviceresources on 13.11.2009

>> Hi. I'm Susan Helmond, I'm the Knowledge Transfer and Utilization Director
at Campaign Consultation and I welcome everybody to this Web Shop
and what we hope will be useful to everybody today.
This is a discussion of cultural heritage tourism
and how national services programs are being involved in this effort in communities
around the country via representatives of three reference programs.
With us today from the University of Alabama Moundville Archeological Park
and we have Chip West [assumed spelling] and he's involved in his assignment
and helping develop that cultural tourism sight; we have Christy Bailey
and Brittany Bauer [assumed spelling] from the National Cole and Heritage Area
in Southern West Virginia, and we have Natalie Carter, although Natalie is not
on the Webinar she is on the phone and her experience is so worthwhile to all of us.
She's with the Blackstone Gallery Tourism area in Rhode Island
so we'll hear a brief presentation from all of them and we'll have a lot
of times your questions and discussions of some general issues around the development
of cultural heritage tourism, and how national service can be involved in it.
And as [inaudible] said as all [inaudible] service programs know, evaluation is critical
so we ask that you hang around until the very end so you hope to evaluate the webinar
and help us make us make it better.
Before we get started, I would like to know how many of our participants are currently involved
in cultural tourism and if you could participate in the poll on the right hand side
of your screen, how many would like to start a cultural heritage tourism program;
and if you have specific things that you would like to get out of this specific expectation,
it would be great if you could enter them in the chat area after the poll
so we can see what some of those are.
I'm going to give you a minute to do that and I'm going to keep talking.
Just so we are all on the same page, I'd like to use the definition of cultural heritage tourism
because there are a number of ways of looking at this and this comes from a terrific website,
the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which has lots of resources
for anyone interested in this topic.
And we'll have those web addresses at the end of the Web Shop for any of you
that want to go there to look around.
So the definition that we're using is that cultural heritage tourism is established
to experience places and activities that authentically represent the tourism people
of the past and present and include [inaudible] and natural resources.
And I think we have some good representatives in each of those industry programs
so without further adieu we're going to get started.
Chip West as I said is [inaudible] in the University
of Alabama's Moundville Archeological Park and Chip has his assignment there.
He's been working as part of a team of Vistas charged with increasing park visitorship
and building ecotourism in Hale County and he has degrees in history and anthropology
and is very interested and has been all his life in Native American culture;
and that is one of the things that this park has to offer.
So Chip tell us a little bit about your park and what it has to offer.
>> Chip: Okay first of all I am a part of a three-year program under the supervision
of the University Of Alabama Center for Economic Development.
About a year and a half ago they secured funding for three AmeriCorps Vista workers to be placed
in each of the county of the tri-county region that's Gail,
Bill and Perry King [assumed spelling].
It was the goal of the Center for Economic Development to help develop
and maintain a ecotourism and heritage trail, and that is a trail utilizing state
and local highways and focusing on various natural features, historical sites and parks
and I'm actually stationed in one of those parks, Moundville Archaeological Park,
where I work with the other staff members here at Moundville to try
to boost our park visitorship as well as working with my other Vista partners
on this ecotourism trail of development
of this trail implementation, implementation of the trail.
And I am happy to announce today that I received an e-mail this morning
that we are dedicating our signage for this trail on December 4th.
The park's role and my role in all of this is primarily going to be educational based.
I helped with the signage but I have figured out that one way
to really help ecotourism development itself is
to help develop the educational infrastructure here in Hale County
which is a rather rural county in Alabama which is great for the tourism, but we need to try
to help develop an infrastructure to bring these tourists in.
And we're using this park as kind of a gateway for that ecotourism.
We have a 350 acre park which maintains various woodlands and has always been a draw
for ecotourists, and we hope to increase that draw and bring more people in
and from this park focus on out into Hale County and then forward to the other two counties.
But like I said this is a three-year program
and I'm about a year and a half through that program.
>> Susan: Great, thank you Chip.
Also can you talk a little bit about what the history is there,
what you have to offer right there at the park?
>> Chip: Okay Moundville Archeological Park is a [inaudible] Native American ceremonial site.
We have 28 remaining ceremonial mounds and associated village
and ceremonial areas to the park.
We are currently reopening our museum which is newly renovated.
It's going to be very, very exciting to see.
Many artifacts haven't been seen by the public in over 100 years.
In addition to the mound and the museum, one of the beautiful things
about the park is it does preserve about a little over half a mile or a little
under half a mile section of the Black Boyer River Valley as well
as some Upland swamps [assumed spelling].
And at some point in time the park is undergoing a 20-year revitalization plan where we're going
to focus ecotourism and outdoor education, trying to teach school children
about their Native American history as well as outdoor history.
We have a number of different plants and animals that I wouldn't say can't be seen in this area
but can be easily seen in this park by all people.
We also offer a little over a quarter of a mile long raised boardwalk
which the public has enjoyed for many years using as a platform
for birding as well as for other wildlife.
In whole, the park is about 350 acres and it's a lot more
than just the Native American ceremonial site, it provides a wonderful view of the river
and a wonderful environment for those Wolverine plants and animals.
>> Susan: That's a great description Chip so you're talking about ecotourism and tourists
who enjoy the natural wonders that you have there;
you're talking about attracting schoolchildren through education programs.
Can you talk a little bit about how you package that?
You talked a little bit about how you offer programs to school children.
>> Chip: Okay my biggest interest right now is in educating the schoolchildren.
We have a wonderful facility for education and I like to use the excitement in the history
of Native Americans to try and encourage the kids to go out and learn more
and by that they also learn to read.
But the way we package this program is we have teachers package,
we have media spots advertising our educational programs,
advertising our special education classes.
I personally try to engage particularly school teachers who come into the park;
we have implemented something called a Saturday in the park program where we draw people
in on Saturdays for a three hour program based on Native American life ways.
The subject matter of that program changes on each Saturday and I frequently get
to meet school teachers while doing those programs myself, and encourage them
to come back and bring their classes back in.
We also do outside or educational outreach where we go to local and area schools
to teach them about Native American history.
We also offer educational outreach programs in national history and hunting and fishing
and other things to kind of broaden the spectrum of their education.
>> Susan: Thanks, thanks, Chip, that's great.
And I think you also had a very big special event recently is that right?
Is that an annual event?
>> Chip: Yes we just got through with the Moundville Native American festival.
It was our 21st year.
It draws on the average between 8 and 12,000.
Three years ago we had a record of 17,000 people over the four days.
Unfortunately, fortunately this year we had rain but even with the rain I think it goes
to show how special this festival is.
Even with just downpours all the four days, we still managed to bring in almost 8,000 people
in the rain so we reach out to a lot of people during that festival; and it's very important
to the park and to the Native American participants particularly to coin a phrase
that I've heard recently, Native Americans like for people to know that they're still here,
that they're history goes well beyond the prehistoric, it goes into the contemporary.
And it's a way for these descendants of the Native Americans that live here in the Southeast
to actually meet people and meet schoolchildren and interact with schoolchildren;
and kind of in a sense downplay stereotysims [assumed spelling]
that their exchange no longer exists.
They do exist; they're here every single day and it's really wonderful to see some
of my Native American friends interact with schoolchildren and the excitement
of the kids getting to meet a real Native American.
>> Susan: Great thank you.
Such a great overview and I hope it's already giving some people ideas
to develop ways they can work with their local communities to highlight what's naturally a gift
to your region, what your assets are.
Let's move on though to make sure we have time to here from everybody.
We'll next here from Christy Bailey and Brittany Bauer from the National Coal and Heritage Area.
Christy is the National Coal and Heritage Area Authority
and the Coal Heritage Highway Authority with responsibility for the development
of the National Coal Heritage area and the Coal Heritage Trail
which is the National Scenic Bi-way.
Now the National Coal Heritage area encompasses 13 counties
in Southern West Virginia coal fields where efforts are currently underway to restore
and preserve coal camps and coal communities
as culture heritage tourism venues while retaining their new features
and sense of [inaudible].
Brittany is the Director of AmeriCorps Program
with the Coal Heritage Highway Authority in Beckley, West Virginia.
She is an AmeriCorps NCCC and Vista Alumni,
but she is in [inaudible] experience in Southern West Virginia.
Much of her Vista service is dedicated to the formation of a non-profit
to creatively address brown fields and other abandoned lands
within Wyoming County which is very innovative.
I hope I'll have a chance to hear more about that.
Welcome to both of you and please tell us a little bit about some of the principals
that you've used to develop cultural heritage tourism in the coal mining region.
>> Christy: This is Christy and you mentioned the culturalheritagetourism.org website--
this is the National Trust- website and the principals set up by
that organization are the five principals that we work with.
We try to integrate those into everything we do and we do work throughout 13 southern counties.
Most if not all of them are designated as at-risk or low-income counties
by [inaudible] Regional Commission.
So we're very rural and mostly low income,
just a few small metropolitan areas throughout our area.
So one of those principals is that's important as the National Trust principal is
to collaborate and we do that every single day in everything we do.
Some of the groups that we collaborate with are our local governments;
we have 50 some municipalities throughout our region, plus 13 county commissions so we work
with those folks to implement projects.
We have a restored a train depot in a little community called Bramwell [assumed spelling]
which is-- it was a community that the early co-operators built for themselves and the town
of [inaudible] has reconstructed the depot there that we actually manage as a tourist
and one of our main interpretive centers for the area.
We also work with our local Convention and Visitors Bureau;
we think of them as our marketing specialists and we depend
on them a lot for assistance with marketing.
In addition, we work with art organizations and other community-based organizations
such as the water shaped groups and then we have several partners.
Through the Coal Heritage Area, we have the National Park Service, the Scenic Bi-way,
the Coal Heritage Trail, the Federal Highway Administration is our federal partner
in that project, and then the Corporation for National Community Service is a federal partner
with us because we have several different AmeriCorps
and [inaudible] Vista projects that we work through.
On funding the [inaudible] for communities it really depends
on community capacity to make these projects happen.
We really in terms of implementing projects we don't do much of that
but we help build the capacity communities to do that.
I'm going to let Brittany tell you a little bit about that.
That's kind of her specialty; she's kind of our community capacity [inaudible] and talk
with you a little bit about how we use national service to do that.
>> Brittany: Hi this is Brittany and we definitely partner with the Corporation
for National Community Service like Christy mentioned
which we have an umbrella project for Vista.
We have 35 members in 13 counties.
They serve non-profits and local governments and that's what they do, they do capacity building.
Some examples of their activities are a non-profit development
for scenic by-way organizations and watershed organizations; they also develop websites,
they suggest brown fields and create tourism initiatives.
Some of those are the 5K race as well as partnering with National [inaudible] service.
This upcoming weekend is the Make a Difference Day
and the pink creek scenic trail we're partnering with them to do a stream clean up and promote
that area and promote that newly designated state scenic bi-way; so that's one example
of how we promote heritage tourism.
We also have a new program; it's an AmeriCorps Education Award program.
It utilizes post secondary students that provide their technical skills that they've gained
from their fields of study, [inaudible] preserve
and interpret cultural historic and natural resources.
Some of their activities include developing geocast sites, GPS systems for the [inaudible]
which is ATV hiking and horseback trail system that goes through most
of southern West Virginia, and another example is
that they serve the [inaudible] and art galleries, and this.
>> Susan: So Brittany what you're saying is you're using your [inaudible]
after they've [inaudible] their history
to actually feed the interpretative guide for the history is that right?
And you're also using their GPS skills to match the scenic trail?
>> Brittany: Yes and we partner with the universities and one of our universities
in the area is Concord University and they have a marketing program to develop 3D technologies;
where if you look at a tourism guide and you put on some glasses,
pictures will pop out in a 3D fashion,
and so some of those interns are even working on that technology.
>> Susan: That's very cool; that's very cool.
>> Brittany: We also are utilizing NCCC, the National Civilian Community Corp;
they're going to be coming on October 30th to work at two sites within our region.
One of those sites is Wolf Creek Park which [inaudible] as a smart growth principals;
it nixes residential, commercial and green space and they're going
to be developing a wetland boardwalk,
a new river gorge nature and birding center in that area.
And then the other part of their time they're going to go to the John Henry Historical Park
in Talcott, West Virginia which is a very small town but it is the acclaimed
of the legend John Henry, that's not a legend.
But they're going to be building trails there and there's 14 acres of wooded area
that they're going to be [inaudible] and leveling
and possibly building some bridges over some small streams as well.
So we definitely utilize AmeriCorps to do a bunch of different things.
>> Susan: Those are also great examples of how you're making sites and programs come alive
which I think is one of the next principals isn't it?
Are there other things that you're doing to bring these things to light?
>> Brittany: Well one of the projects that we have, it's a very small community group;
they're very grassroot, they started out as a neighborhood watch
and since then they have built a community park and [inaudible] Memorial
so this summer we worked with them to bring tour busses to their area
with local residents as step-on guides.
When the tour bus comes and they're step-on guides and so they accompany the tour bus.
We've had four this summer I think through the region giving them stories of the past;
and in addition to that they have a lunch that is in a local church
so they have a church dinner and we have a local gospel singer
who does participatory singing with them.
So it's really emersion into that culture but as often as we can we have [inaudible] to assist
with interpretation but in that project, local residents who do it and then in one
of our underground mine tours it is former miners who really tell the story.
So that tour has been very, very successful.
We're booking tours for next year with the tour operators and it's really a part of one
of our communities that's never had tourists before.
So we're really happy with that and what's developed there.
>> Susan: And one of the questions that I heard before we did this web talk was some RSVP
programs which of course you do with seniors,
and they were asking how they could involve seniors in this kind of heritage tourism.
I think that's a great example of how you might involve people in telling the history
of what you're attempting to do; they're more than willing to tell their stories it sounds
like and I'm sure there are many small communities
where that's the case but that's a great tip.
Let's talk about the quality and authenticity.
How are you getting to that?
>> Brittany: Well one of the things that we make sure to do in all
of our planning is to have community input on that.
We just recently did an interpretative plan for the Coal Heritage Trail and Scenic By-ways.
It may have been easier for us to sit down and do that on our own but we operate by--
we hold a series of about 12 public meetings where folks came to us and helped us identify
which should be in that interpretative plan.
We've also done some collection of oral histories
so that we can get stories from people's actual words.
What people want to know about is people.
We can tell them facts and numbers but they want to know about the people
if they're cultural heritage tourists.
So we've engaged the community in collecting oral histories too
and as a long a range plan we intend to do some more of that as we go.
>> Susan: Thank you and I think you've also made clear how important it is
that these researches need to be protected as well as use and benefit of the tourists.
That there has to be a certain amount of preservation
and effort not to exploit them unfairly.
>> Brittany: Right and if working on [inaudible] employees in communities that seems
to be a challenge to get the resources for preservation structures.
Lots of times when the unemployment rate is high, any development is good development
and so the idea of preserving things is a little bit of a challenge.
On the slide view I have there in the upper right hand corner that's a former company store
if you're familiar at all with coal mining you know
that each little community had its store that was run by the company.
That was a company store and we were extremely pleased there
that [inaudible] entrepreneur was actually not from our area.
We restored that company store using [inaudible] and preservation tax credits and now leases it
out to a local non-profit to run so we were very happy with that project
because the resources are very scarce these days for historic preservation.
When you're in communities where there's not water and sewer then it's kind of hard
to make the case for restoring that structure.
So that one has been particularly valuable to us and it was done
by an entrepreneur using his own son so that's a little bit of a challenge
and historic preservation is expensive.
And so that continues to be a challenge for us.
>> Susan: I think for everybody but yeah certainly in this area.
It's not the first thing that people think of but it certainly is important.
So it looks like we've covered something I think in a rather specific way
about how these five principals have played out and thank you so much to Brittany
and Christy for illustrating them.
Thank you and again this is the cultural
and heritage tourism [inaudible] preservation website and we will have that address at the end
because there is a lot of information there for you.
Let's move on to Natalie Carter and Natalie has many years of experience working
with cultural tourism in Blackstone Valley which is in Rhode Island,
and she worked in the [inaudible] for forty years and sort of began in 1992
as the first educational director for the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council
where she developed historical and environmental programs--
River Classroom and River in the Classroom which must have been wet.
In 1997 Natalie became the Council's First Director of Operations and Business Manager.
[Inaudible] she [inaudible] the day to day operation of the Council.
She serves as the co-chair of the Amber Valley, Glasgow [inaudible] Valley [inaudible]
as the Council's principal grant writer.
This project has been ruled out for awards from the United Nations of World Tourism
as receiving the elicit five screen [inaudible] in tourism destination management as well
as the World Travel and Tourism Council's Destination award for Best Practices
in sustainable tourism development.
And Natalie is part of the [inaudible] and Planning Development Laboratory
where she shares those practices with other communities as well
so she's a resource in many, many ways.
And I know right now today you're technologically challenged Natalie but we know
that you have done a lot of work in this area and have a lot to offer.
Can you talk a little bit about the steps that you used to begin the project?
We're taking it back in a way to the start just to people can get a sense
of where we might begin and look at this broader picture that Blackstone not only offers.
Natalie if you could [inaudible].
Natalie we can't hear you.
>> Natalie: Can you hear me now?
>> Susan: Yes thank you.
>> Natalie: Okay very good.
I must say that along with this on the cultural heritage tourism site we are one
of the success stories.
So you can read our story on that site.
>> Susan: That's great.
Well we won't get to everything today so we'll know where to get the rest of the [inaudible].
>> Natalie: [Inaudible] cover all of this.
There's a long article about the success of this area on that site but just some exciting events.
Some of the things that are important
that really are deceptive you have to take our collaboration.
We were founded in 1985 in the Blackstone River Valley which is the first place
of the American Industrial Revolution.
And so there was the site Nantucket which is along the Blackstone River
which was the country's first polluted river not worst polluted river because of the amount
of industries that had taken place along this river.
The second most powerful river in the United States stretching only to the Niagara
and that power was able to generate all of the mills that were
at one time along our river and polluted our river.
We had a long way to go when we first started in 1985.
This was an area that was defamated, [assumed spelling] the industry had moved out,
the river was polluted, people were not even thinking about tourism.
That was the last thing on their mind.
So one of our first steps was really to change and to brand the area
and Blackstone Valley really didn't come about until that time.
People didn't identify themselves as a member of the Blackstone Valley
until about 7 years into the work in this valley.
We were lucky enough to get help from the National Heritage corridor.
We were the second national corridor and we were the first [inaudible] ones.
The [inaudible] of the Blackstone, the region [inaudible]
from [inaudible] down to here to Nantucket.
Worcester, Massachusetts and Nantucket, Rhode Island.
So along the way we were able in 1988 the Corridor Commission came together
and we became a viable force in the valley so we were able to work with the federal government
and our state and local government.
And collaboration is very important that this be a community effort.
So [inaudible] our communities to work with our community,
the first one is the first steps we took and it took quite a while
to develop a comprehensive tourism plan for the first one in Rhode Island for our area.
We went to every single city and town, worked through town meetings, met with people,
to get that as part of their comprehensive plan, and that was published about 1992.
From then we identified the needs.
With the corridor we worked along for the infrastructure for getting money into here
and they found of every dollar that was invested, at least ten came back
in investment mostly into the area.
So the important parts of finding a [inaudible].
Well there were 9 cities and towns in the whole corridor, there were 24 cities and towns.
So we had a lot of work to go out and to talk to people to find out what it was
that they were looking for, what they thought about the area, to get them involved in this.
Finding that more than a voice of one in going out
and getting people corroborating and also with good leadership.
Leadership is also a very important part of this story, so we found leaders to come forth.
I don't know can you still hear this?
>> Yes absolutely.
>> You're doing great.
>> Natalie: We worked with our communities and we still work with our communities.
We [inaudible] one of our local [inaudible] our art our city and town planners.
We very much have been involved in the work that we do.
We also worked toward establishing there was no [inaudible] association here
in our section of the Blackstone.
There was one in Massachusetts but not in Rhode Island.
We found the grant money; we established the water [inaudible] association.
We worked with the Vista to find the first [inaudible] affiliated area
for Keep America Beautiful; we call it keep the Blackstone Beautiful Program
that would [inaudible] of our Vistas.
We were able to go out and work with the local people who are cleaning up the rivers,
to work on greening projects in the towns.
>> Susan: One of the things that I was so impressed about when we talked and the things
that you've done is working with the neighborhoods and their changing population,
and how you've worked with new small businesses to help them become involved in this.
Can you talk about that because I think that's a big part of step 3
when the [inaudible] is preparing local businesses to be able
to cater to the tourists that come?
>> Natalie: Exactly and we did this eventually with another grant.
We were able to become American Heritage cities and towns [inaudible] applied for that.
We were granted that.
The [inaudible] of American Heritage river and in our cities and towns because of
that we were able to find a $50,000 matching grant to work along one corridor or an area free
of our [inaudible] communities, and we went out for the businesses
because it also had a many good historical sites, we did an inventory,
and we know that people didn't understand these historical sites
or even know that they were historical sites.
So we went out into the community and we saw the community had changed,
there was a huge Hispanic population, and many of them [inaudible] population,
Portuguese population, they set up little restaurants and community businesses.
So we found the money to go out and we started the Broad Street Regeneration initiative
which we sent out and Vista [inaudible] to work with people along the street planning
for the small restaurants, getting together, meeting their needs solely for them
and asking them what they were looking for.
We started a program where we featured them on an International Food Tour.
We brought people in [inaudible] historical tour first and got people to the restaurants
and had them experience the local food of these community restaurants.
This has been very successful, it's been a standard this year into going
into the restaurants and then doing a secret ingredient demonstration where they show how
to make something or do something that they produce and why it's successful and why it's
so special, and then [inaudible] and have dinners, they talk to the owners
and they learn about the different restaurants.
These people come from all different areas so they are now exposed to these restaurant tours.
Along the way with any small business you do have a turnover.
You do out and see what they want.
They were looking for microloans at one point so we worked with the Small business Administration
to find out that their microloans were too big so we worked on mini microloans.
There was some pure to pure lending.
We were looking at building an association where they could get their food
and go in the cooperative and try to buy food; some community gardens
where food could be also used in these restaurants.
>> Susan: [Inaudible] area to as the bi-local or people that are interested
in assisting [inaudible] food in the area
so that's another area of attraction for you I'm sure.
>> Natalie: It's bi-local and also the Farmers Market.
>> Susan: And how have you been able to market the Blackstone Valley?
Can you talk just a little bit about that Natalie so we can get
on to some of the discussion questions?
>> Natalie: Okay I know this is so much here and I couldn't hear what you said.
My phone of course is also blocked here.
What's the other part you want me to get on to because I'm trying to get on to so much here?
>> Susan: How will we market this?
>> Natalie: How will we market this?
Well this is an interesting thing.
I notice that you say marketing.
We can consider ourselves a best nation management organization.
Marketing is a very, very, very important part of it.
We try to market locally.
We also try to keep up with technology.
We have about 30 some websites that are linked together
that give a lot of information about the area.
We have found inexpensive printing prices; we do a lot of local brochures.
We try to get on a lot of people's radar where we don't really have a marketing budget.
We get a lot of press because we generate stories
that some people seem a little strange too.
But we know a lot of people can market.
We look at ourselves as implementers and doers and we have attracted that and tried
to find a branding, so we have worked with National Heritage Corridor
and our Massachusetts partners to try to market together with big money.
We try to find money together to find a way to market
and brand this area as one individual area.
So we try to market in many small ways but [inaudible]
because of our budget we would take a lot for the big market.
And so we do find that we're pretty successful in getting the word out.
>> Susan: Thank you.
And as I say I hope that the individual will go into the different websites
that these organizations have because Blackstone Valley for example has not only [inaudible] 30
or 40 different websites and it's very interesting
to see all the different new [inaudible] that are involved in this--
bakeries and quilts and all kinds of things that you wouldn't expect.
So I do encourage you to take a little time and take a look around
and spend a little time looking at these sites after the Web Shop is over.
Let's move on to handle some of the questions that have come
from our participants since we've been talking.
One of the things that came up in the questions was also one
of the questions you wanted to talk about.
What was needed to start?
Where does [inaudible] money come from?
A lot of folks are struggling with that especially [inaudible] sites
where that economic development doesn't come as quickly.
Panelists how can you help us with that?
>> Well I can talk about our area where our money comes from.
We have been successful and we do have a hotel pass here in Rhode Island and the hotels
that are in your area, you get a small percentage.
It's about 26% of our budget comes from the local hotel tax, the rest comes from contracts
and management contracts that we do, grants, and some of our projects.
We do run a lot of projects ourselves and events.
We feature our local railway; we rent out a type
of [inaudible] Christmas trains, a [inaudible] train.
We have to rent the train from the railway but we still try to make enough
of a program where people can still join us.
We have different festivals and events.
>> Susan: Christy and Brittany what about you?
Where have you found money to support, especially at the beginning when you were small,
where did some of the money come from for some of the non-profits
that you were helpful in starting?
>> Well for [inaudible], the Coal Heritage Tour of the National Coal Heritage area,
of course the heritage area gets a small corporation each year,
and the Scenic By-way also has a small [inaudible] corporation each year.
We were created as a state agency to further economic development in our region to have
to diversify the economy that's been very dependent on coal for all these years,
so we also get a small state appropriation.
After that for project money we are-- we spend a great deal of time writing grants,
helping our community organizations write grants for project money.
So that's what we do.
When we talked a little bit about groundwork
that was a particularly interesting [inaudible] experience there.
So because of the coal mining industry and the legislative surround brown fields with the EPA,
[inaudible] land are considered brown fields.
Brown fields are usually recognized as people who live in toxic areas with petroleum
or other hazardous substances, but in our case most of the counties, [inaudible] and some
of the other counties in Southern West Virginia are [inaudible].
In [inaudible] particularly, it's very rural and 85% of the land is owned by land companies,
coal mines and is not available for public recreation or development.
So there is a national network called Groundwork USA that works in partnership
with the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service.
And if your community has received a Brown Field Assessment Grant, you are eligible to apply
to become part of this Groundwork USA network.
So in that with Wyoming County we applied and it's about a two year process.
You have to do feasibility study and a strategic plan; it involves a lot of community outreach
and community meetings in order to do the feasibility study and strategic plan.
And in return if you decided that you want to take that step forward
and become a groundwork trust, you receive $15,000 for the feasibility study
and strategic plan, in addition $85,000 from the National Park Service
and EPA towards building the foundation on this organization
that will address environmental issues in the county or the community that you've defined.
It also requires a match and it's generally a local match.
And in our area our County Commission, when there are communities that don't have water
and the basic infrastructure, it's hard to put in $25,000 a year for three years.
So what our county worked out is they would provide $12,500 each year
for three years matching local funds that are raised.
So the local community has gone around and solicited funds from businesses,
they're soliciting funds from different foundations and are using
that Groundwork USA network to really work and build that relationship with the foundation.
And so far they've raised about $20,000 from people giving small donations of $200 here
and $200 there, toward meeting that match.
>> Susan: That's remarkable isn't it?
[ Inaudible ]
>> To bring economic wealth to your small community
and also the [inaudible] federal agencies that have started [inaudible] [inaudible] work,
special classifications of scenic by-ways, historical heritage places
and now EPA has [inaudible] [inaudible] more.
That's pretty interesting.
[ Inaudible ]
>> So it's very much a part of every community the brown field issue.
>> Susan: Yes definitely yes.
What about-- how are you generating an interest in historic tourism from the community?
Because we know this would be a terrible uphill fight if the community wasn't interested
or involved and I hear about your community meetings.
I certain understand that the outreach is part of it.
Are there other ways to get people behind this
so that they understand how it could benefit them?
>> Well in terms of the Coal Heritage Area and the [inaudible] they were actually created
as a result of community interest.
That people in the area saw the resources being destroyed everyday and disappearing every day;
so they went to our congressional representatives and said,
"Hey we need to figure out how to save this stuff."
So really our community involvement is [inaudible] every day with somebody
that has a project or an interest or an artifact that they want to donate.
That's been probably one of our easiest things to do, but we do try to keep a steady stream
of information going out in terms of press releases,
we try to stay out of the public as much as possible.
Today I attended a Mayor's meeting [inaudible] county, so we try to keep our faces
out there a lot too so that people know the kind
of things we're doing and where they can be involved.
>> Susan: One of our producers is interested in really updating a new project.
They were a nationally noted project in the 90's and they were trying
to figure out what's possible now.
How have some of you who have long histories, changed what you're doing over the years
so that you've kept up with what the public interest is?
>> I think we have rather long history and we continually work at it every single day
because it's a great amount of work.
We don't give up working at these issues.
Also at one point we were very inductive in doing things with hardware and getting our name
out there and getting the branding and the local Blackstone Valley identity.
Now I think we're also looking at bringing more people in and making the Blackstone as a point
of learning center [inaudible] sustainable development.
So we're moving along and also getting very involved in technology.
We have young interns that tweet through Facebook and upkeep our Facebook, our tweets,
our website they give us feedback on.
So it's getting involved in every way that is out there today, not going back
and saying gee we did a good job.
We also say what can we do tomorrow.
>> Susan: Thank you.
>> Hi this is Suzanne.
I've got a question from Karen and she asks if brown field destinations are available
on tribal line and is there a website?
I don't actually know anything about this but if one of the presenters
or another presenter could help out that would be great.
>> Susan: Brittany do you know whether there are brown field sites on tribal reservations?
>> Brittany: This is Brittany and yes the reason I know this is because Groundwork is working
to develop a trust and a tribal site.
And in order to do that they've had to have that brown field [inaudible].
I don't know specifically of any site,
but there should be brown field information at [inaudible].gov.
It may be general information but you can contact if it's locally
within your state you can find out who your regional director is and call them to see
if they would know if there are any travel [inaudible] are working or in the process
of the brown field declaration and [inaudible].
>> Susan: Great thank you Brittany.
We've just got a couple of minutes left and I just wanted to get a little bit more from all
of our participants about what has been successful
for you that has really surprised you.
There might be a real test for someone just starting out?
What has surprised you and what is it you're doing that really--
boy if I had known that I wouldn't leave it there I would have grabbed it sooner.
>> Surprise?
I think the surprise is only hard work.
We also talked about the elderly and seniors.
We have one visitor center that's staffed mainly by all the residents right along 295,
one of our main highways and because they want to share this story so much they work
through the Volunteers Program and they now staff the Visitors' Center full time.
So I think that we also with young people we've given the opportunity
to learn how to tell their story.
We brought in people to teach them how to tell their story.
We have a bike path now.
We're also teaching them how to fix bikes and also how to give tours on the bike path.
I think that once you involve people, they become involve [inaudible].
They may not know the story but finding creative ways
to involve them [inaudible] energy every time.
>> Susan: Thank you.
Are there more questions from the audience that you haven't put up on chat but that you'd
like to ask around before we close?
Boy that hour goes so fast.
No more questions?
I will ask you please to take a look at the evaluation questions
which we're going to post in just a minute.
Please let us know how this met your needs, whether you got what you wanted from it,
tell us what else you might want in the future or what may make it better.
I want to thank our panelists, Chip and Christy and Brittany
and Natalie thank you so much for being [inaudible].
I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Even though I talked to you all before I learn so much each time you tell your story
because it's always a little bit more you get to say than what I heard before.
So thank you so much for the richness of your experience
and being willing to share it with our audience.
We will have this Web Shop posted on the distance campus and for those of you
who are listening that are not distance, you can go into the [inaudible],
so if you want to hear it again you can.
There are resources here first of all.
We have the web addresses of the participants (their websites).
And you can contact them directly on the Vista forum.
If you have further questions, please go to the forum; and again these addresses are
on the posted version of the Web Shop that will be on campus.
You can access that if you can't copy it all down now.
But our presenters will be looking at the forum over the next few days
and are available to answer any of your questions.
He is [inaudible] discussion with you on these issues.
So your learning doesn't end here and if a question comes up when we hang up at the end
of our hour, and you say gee I wish I had asked that, there is an opportunity
to do that; we hope that you will.
Our next web talk will be on Community Economic Development, there will be an update.
We'll probably be talking with National Service participants that are doing interesting things
in community economic development, as well as featuring our brief case for success
which are tools and resources for financial asset development that's available
to you on the [inaudible] campus.
And on the resource center as well in about [inaudible] time.
So we will be looking forward to hearing from you about these topics.
That one will be on November 12th, just a few weeks from now so we hope that you'll continue
to let us know what your interests are.
These topics come from your interest in the viewfinder and topics you suggest to us.
If you're not currently getting the viewfinder, let us know
and we'll make sure you're on the list.
It is a wonderful resource for folks to learn more about these topics.
Thank you so much for your participation
and we'll look forward to working with you all again.