Baylor in Kentucky
Appalachia Field School
In 2004 and 2007, Dr. Sara Alexander invited Baylor undergraduate and graduate students to take a special field school course to assist her in a longitudinal project which she began in 1980 and has continued to the present day. The course was taught in Red River Gorge, Kentucky, which is located in eastern Kentucky approximately 60 miles from Lexington. Red River Gorge is a unique geological area that claims over 100 natural sandstone arches, some of which have spans over 100 feet in length and 30-40 feet in height. Visitors come from all over the U.S. and Canada to participate in a range of wilderness recreation activities. This area is the most popular rock climbing destination in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. During these field schools, students learned mapping techniques, basic photography, participant observation methods, and how to design a survey, sample/survey a recreationist population, and interview personnel responsible for management of the area. Graduate students also interviewed local residents and absentee landowners to provide data for a second important part of this long-term project. Field trips included Bluegrass festivals, horse farms in the Lexington bluegrass region, the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, and an Appalachian arts fair in Berea, Kentucky.