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Clinch River Youth Summit offers workshops for students plus chance for mini-grants


ST. PAUL, Va. -- High school youth, teachers and educators are invited to participate in the Clinch River Youth Summit, Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Estonoa Learning Center in St. Paul from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The summit will include presentations by representatives of local nonprofit organizations and government agencies involved in environmental conservation and improvement projects.

Two high school programs, Team Estonoa and Gate City High School, will offer presentations about their environmental education programs and outdoor classroom work.

Participants will also be invited to apply for mini-grants for student-led environmental projects, which will be highlighted at the Clinch River Valley Initiative’s Environmental Education Symposium May 9.

Keynote speaker for the summit will be Shane Barton, program coordinator at the University of Kentucky Appalachian Center. Barton is a regional planner by training and uses his experience and expertise to support regional initiatives in Central Appalachia. He holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Barton is a ninth generation Appalachian whose roots are deep in the coalfields of Virginia.

The summit will conclude with a tour of Wetlands Estonoa, a student-initiated, place-based, service learning project in St. Paul. This environmental learning center grew out of a student-led project on a former swimming hole-turned illegal trash dump. Today, the members are known as Team Estonoa with a mission of protecting and conserving the wetlands.

Lunch and T-shirts (for the first 50 registrants) will be provided.

The summit is being coordinated by Upper Tennessee River Roundtable, Southwest Virginia Environmental Education Team (SWEET), Clinch River Valley Initiative and Team Estonoa with funding provided by the Virginia Department of Forestry. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

To register for the summit, contact Willie Dodson at CRVIvista@gmail.com, Kathy Knotts at UTRR_VISTA@yahoo.com or Adam Wells at guestriverproject@gmail.com. For more information, call 276-679-1691 or 276-628-1600.

A Night With the Yarn Exchange:  Everything Old is New Again 

Start the New Year with the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange’s original storytelling radio hour, recorded in front of a live audience. It is a new year, but in Tennessee’s oldest town, “Everything Old Is New Again” and that is the theme of this month’s show, kicking off the fourth season of A Night with the Yarn Exchange on Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at the International Storytelling Center. 

This month, you’ll hear stories from Jonesborough’s newest business getting ready to open in one of the town’s most historic buildings. Stephen Callahan shares stories about his experience with making moonshine, the history of his family making moonshine and his sudden turn to make it all legal as he opens Tennessee Hills Distillery in the old Salt House.  

The Boones Creek Boys are also back again.  Listen to some of the stories they remember hearing as kids in the 60s, as they grew up listening to tales from their grandfathers and their friends, all born in the 1800s. Also joining the cast this month is Local Relish a regional music favorite. 

The performance takes place at 7 p.m. on January 26, and the fourth Monday of every month at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough.

A Night with the Yarn Exchange is made possible through a grant with the Harris Fund, in partnership with East Tennessee State University and through generous support from CrestPoint Health. A Night with the Yarn Exchange is part of Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts.

Seating, as always, is limited as tickets are available at a rate of $5 for adults and $1 for children.  Tickets can be purchased at the door on the night of the performance, at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center by calling 423.753.1010 or by visiting jonesboroughtn.org. 

Hands-On Classes at the McKinney Center Begin January 26 

If your idea of making art includes getting your hands dirty, there are several opportunities available this spring at the McKinney Center. This semester’s offerings provide hands-on instructors teaching classes in clay, pottery and ceramics. Techniques using the pottery wheel as well as hand-building will allow students to create beautiful art pieces they can use as decorative pieces in their home, or functional pieces they can use in their kitchen and dining room. Surprisingly, no formal prior training in clay is necessary.  

The Clay-Doh Factory course provides instruction for students in grades 3-6 in elementary clay construction. Jessica Evans, a local ceramist, will teach the basics of clay construction and extruder use, while students produce fun and unique ceramic creations. Evans also teaches the class for students who are more adventurous and want to learn how to use the pottery wheel.  The “Spin and Squeeze” course is an exciting opportunity for those interested in making bowls, mugs and other pieces that use the wheel. Students in this class will create their own forms on the pottery wheel, learning basic construction methods, as well as spatial relationships, aesthetics and form, while creating functional and beautiful ceramic pieces that are fired in the McKinney Center’s own kiln. 

Another form of ceramics being taught at the McKinney Center this season is a technique called “hand building.” Instructor Pam Daniels is a local ceramist and had a piece featured in the recent “Women’s Fund Art Exhibit” at the McKinney Center in November. Daniels is dedicated to showing students how to build pieces by hand. 

“I like to teach students how to create things they would like in their own homes, great functional pieces they will want to hold on to and not throw away next year,” Daniels said.  

By functional pieces, she explains that students will create decorative items, such as wall pockets, shields, wind chimes and other useful projects like trays and bowls.  

“These pieces will be extremely personal. I ask students to think about their home- how is it decorated? Do you like Fleur de Lis? Do you like dogs or cats? What are the colors in your dining room? Things like that, to help them think about what they would like to make,” Daniels said.  “Hand-building, to me, is highly personal, a way for each student’s personality to be expressed.”  

Students will then glaze their own pieces which will be fired in the kiln. Daniels was also careful to explain that with hand building, even though the end product looks beautiful and professional, no prior experience is needed. This was evidenced by the pieces created in the fall class, with beautiful wind-chimes, trays, and pinwheels, all of which will be on display in the student art exhibit this May. 

Classes begin the week of January 26th. To find out about these classes and many others being offered this spring, stop by the McKinney Center, or you can download the full catalogue and registration form online at http://www.jonesboroughtn.org/images/Spring_2015_Program_FinalR2.pdf. For more information, call McKinney Center Director Theresa Hammons at 423-753-0562. 


The Ralph Stanley Museum & Traditional Mountain Music Center will host Dr. Ralph Stanley’s 88th Birthday Dinner and Fundraiser at the Holiday Inn off exit 7 in Bristol, VA at 6:30pm on Saturday, February 21, 2015. Celebrate Dr. Stanley’s birthday with Dr. Stanley himself. A first-class dinner will be served which will include your choice of fried catfish with white country gravy, slow roasted beef brisket, or herbed grilled chicken. All entrees will be accompanied by tossed Salad with assorted dressings, mashed potatoes, southern green beans, and rolls and butter. Desert will be white chocolate bread pudding with Irish cream sauce.
Entertainment this year will include Clearwater Branch, Virginia Whirlwind, UVA-Wise Bluegrass Band, Nathan Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, and some special guests.
Tickets to the dinner are priced at $100 per plate, and guests may purchase them by calling the Ralph Stanley Museum at 276-926-8550. Please have your R.S.V.P in by January 26, 2015.
 The Museum & Center presents this special birthday event each year in celebration of Dr. Stanley's life and work. With a career spanning 68 years in the music business, Ralph Stanley has made an indelible mark upon the music industry. From old-time to bluegrass to country to gospel, Dr. Stanley has influenced countless artists and continues to break new ground in the industry.
This annual event also serves as an important fundraiser for the Ralph Stanley Museum to ensure that regional music will be an important part of our area in the years to come.

For more information or to order tickets, please call the Museum at 276-926-8550.  


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