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June's Wilderness Workshop Rated a Great Success by SSC
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by Josh Rutkowski, WVU Sierra Student Coalition | 2006

Sierra Student Coalition members learn, practice and play at the 3rd annual WV Wilderness Workshop.

The Sierra Student Coalition was well represented at the West Virginia Wilderness Coalition’s wilderness workshop at the Mountain Institute June 2-4. The weekend-long workshop consisted of people living throughout West Virginia and beyond. The Sierra Club - West Virginia Chapter’s sponsorship of the event enabled SSC members to attend the workshop at no cost. As one of the attendees, I was able to learn about the many effective methods of environmental activism. Effective use of media, message development and approaching community leaders were some of the topics covered. We learned about the history of the Wilderness movement and about the history of Wilderness in West Virginia. Through these workshops we were able to set plans of action for our group and also learned some of the better ways to influence politicians to take action.

Held in the morning shadows of Spruce Knob in the main yurts at the spectacular Spruce Campus of The Mountain Institute, we were able to imbibe the spirit of the beautiful Monongahela National Forest- which is ultimately the place we are learning and working to save. We took hikes, caving trips, and morning bird walks. On Sunday, groups of us went into the Seneca Creek Backcountry for an afternoon trek. Judy Springs was our destination and we found it as peaceful and charming a place as ever. This area is nearly 25,000 acres in size, a premier Wilderness candidate area, it is one of the largest unprotected roadless areas in the east. We are hopeful that Congresswoman Capito will realize how special this area is and include it in a soon to be introduced Wilderness Bill in Congress.

It is exciting for myself and the other members of the Sierra Student Coalition at West Virginia University to be part of this exciting and undoubtedly historic effort to permanently protect our last best places.

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