Sustainable WNC

The Gateway to Sustainability in Western North Carolina

Archive for April, 2007

Spring, 2007, Remembering Blacksburg, Virginia

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Dear Relatives,

My wife Pat’s father attended Virginia Tech, as did her brother Jon and she herself.
Pat and I met on Spruce Run Mountain, just outside Blacksburg, Virginia in 1971.
This poem is for all of us who wish to come to an understanding and an embrace of this spring,
with its blooms, buds, and blossoms,
and its killing freezes.

May All Beings Discover How They Are Loved.

With respect and humility,

Paul Gallimore, Director
Long Branch Environmental Education Center
POB 369 Big Sandy Mush Creek
Leicester, NC 28748
Tel. 828.683.3662
Fax: 828.683.9211
Web Site:



Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow -

Even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving

To be a bud on a Spring branch,

To be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,

Learning to sing in my new nest,

To be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,

To be a jewel hiding itself in stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,

To fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death

Of all that is alive.

I am a mayfly metamorphosing

On the surface of the river.

And I am the bird

That swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am a frog swimming happily

in the clear water of a pond.

And I am the grass-snake

That silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,

My legs as thin as bamboo sticks.

And I am the arms merchant

Selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,

Refugee on a small boat,

Who throws herself into the ocean

After being raped by a sea pirate.

And I am the pirate

My heart not yet capable

Of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,

With plenty of power in my hands.

And I am the man who has to pay

His “debt of blood” to my people

Dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm

It makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.

My pain is like a river of tears,

So vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,

So I can hear all my cries and laughter at once,

So I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,

So I can wake up

And the door of my heart

Could be left open,

The door of compassion.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

HEALING APPALACHIA: Sustainable Living Through Appropriate Technology

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Dear Relatives,

Our book, HEALING APPALACHIA: Sustainable Living Through Appropriate Technology is available now!

Please let us know how many copies you would like to order.
If you order copies through us here at Long Branch your donation will enable us to use a percentage of the book cost to help us raise funds for continuing our programs here at the Center.

We are also seeking donations and grants to help purchase enough copies to distribute to all public libraries in Western North Carolina.
So please be generous, help us spread the word to family and friends and encourage them to help us spread the word!
If we’re successful, we’d like to donate at least one book to every public library throughout the Appalachians!

With much gratitude and appreciation to all who help to inspire,

“I think constantly of the future — of the children, and of the need for all children to go into the future as a single, sacred community.

The children of the trees, the children of the birds, the children of the animals, the children of the insects — all children, including the human children, must go together into the future.

There’s no future for the human children if there’s no future for the children of those other life forms.

The vigor and sensitivity of childhood is, for me, one of the great inspirations, because the childhood experience is refreshing, spontaneous, wholehearted, and fearless.”

— Thomas Berry, “Belonging” in Parabola

“Three times three times three big time thank yous.
Now in our life, energy, divine consciousness, we are like one.”
— Ted Williams, Tuscarora Elder

Paul Gallimore, Director
Long Branch Environmental Education Center
POB 369 Big Sandy Mush Creek
Leicester, NC 28748
Tel. 828.683.3662
Fax: 828.683.9211
Web Site:

Subjects > Appalachian Studies > Healing Appalachia

Sustainable Living through Appropriate Technology
By Al Fritsch and Paul Gallimore
Price: $35.00
Format: paper
ISBN: 978-0-8131-9177-5
Subjects: Appalachian Studies, Nature/Environmental Studies
Pages: 416
Year Published: available May 2007
Trim Size: 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Illustrations: 32 photographs

This book is also available in cloth format. Click here to view


“Contains a wealth of valuable wisdom culled from decades of experience. Fritsch and Gallimore inspire readers with a detailed and realistic vision of what is practically possible.”
–John Nolt, author of Down to Earth: Toward a Philosophy of Nonviolent Living

Healing Appalachia is the first book to apply “appropriate technology,” or the simplest level of technology that can effectively achieve the desired result, specifically to the Appalachian region.
The authors examine thirty low-cost, people-friendly, and environmentally benign appropriate technologies that are concerned with such issues as food preservation, land use, shelter, and transportation.
They pay close attention to the practicality of each technique according to affordability, ease of use, and ecological soundness.
Details on construction and maintenance and resources for locating further information are included, making this an essential volume for everyone who cares about the future of Appalachia.

Al Fritsch is founder of Appalachia–Science in the Public Interest and coauthor of Ecotourism in Appalachia: Marketing the Mountains.

Paul Gallimore is founder and executive director of the Long Branch Environmental Education Center in Leicester, North Carolina.


“Contains a wealth of valuable wisdom on appropriate technology in Appalachia, culled from decades of experience. Fritsch and Gallimore inspire readers with a detailed and realistic vision of what is practically possible, and they explain what works and what doesn’t in this unique region.”
–John Nolt, author of Down to Earth: Toward a Philosophy of Nonviolent Living

“This is a timely and welcome book.
It makes an important contribution to the advancement of earth-friendly, user-friendly and community-friendly ways of living in the Appalachian highlands.”
–Michael Frome, Ph.D., author of Strangers in High Places: The Story of the Great Smoky Mountains

©2002 University Press of Kentucky
All Rights Reserved

Who Speaks for Bear?

Thursday, April 5th, 2007


Who Speaks for Bear?  

“As for me I am a child of the god of the mountains.”  

       Who could ever know the Magic and Mystery of these living and breathing wild Beings?

         For generation upon generation Native peoples in Europe,  Asia  and the Americas, have honored the bear in mythology, legend, folklore, stories,  songs and dances, and even in their clothing and shelters.  Bears  have been powerful symbols of wilderness, wildness, and wild freedom.  They’ve always enjoyed the freedom to be as wild as they want to be.

   They have excited the imagination and provoked awe and wonder at their strange and mysterious human-like qualities.  Cultures from around the world have told stories around the camp fire about people encountering and sometimes even marrying (!) these furry four-legged creatures.  And my wife reminds me that even today stories abound about the woman who married a bear.

         Could it be that bears are really people behind their fur coats and furry masks?  Or could some people really be bears in disguise?  Sometimes they even get up and walk around like we do on our hind legs. Maybe when they go home to their mountain cabins, they take off their overalls and just let their fur hang out!  Could you imagine your best friend confiding in you about their true nature?  Ha!  Maybe we all had better be careful just who it is that we growl at  . . . .

         Even beyond the mountains, Bears still live and roam widely in our language, too:  When our mothers “bear” children, the bear is present at our birth.  Or we “bear” good news, we carry or tranmit some information, and the bear is there.  Or we can’t “bear” to hear of animal suffering, or we support the right to “bear” arms (or arm bears for that matter!), or we get our “bearings,” the bear shows us the way, or we grin and “bear” it.  The bears are there for our patience, tolerance, and endurance.

         And these wild ones roam far and wide, beyond our wildest dreams they roam –  into the stars, even.  When you look up into the night sky who do you see but Ursa Major, the Great Mother Bear, helping us to get our bearings and find our true path with heart, the pole star, or we see  Ursa minor, the little bear daughter roaming the heavens in the night sky.

         For us humans, bears can evoke tenderness, love, and security,  which must be  why we give our children Teddy Bears or Care-bears to protect them, our cubs,  in their cribs.

         They inspire us with their awesome strength and power, as with grizzlies and polar bears, and they tickle us with much mirth and humor when we think of Winnie the Pooh or a black bear up a tree taking honey with his face in an agitated bee’s nest.

         Bears know how to survive in nature without fear.  Can you imagine that? — living in nature without fear?  What kind of amazing magic and power that would be!  No need for day-care, no formal education, no land ownership, no agriculture, no cities, no money, no insurance companies, no government, no jobs other than to eat and sleep and enjoy nature.  No wars and no pollution!  Can you imagine that? Who says that human beings are the most evolved terrestrial mammals?

         The bears know what to eat in every season, and where to find the roots and the berries and the nuts, and how to heal themselves with the medicinal plants.  They’re even able to find a warm cozy den for the winter without having to pay any rent at all.  Living free.  Living Wild.  Maybe all of us do have something to learn from the bears.

“My Paw is Sacred.                                                         The Medicinal Herbs are abundant.                                 My Paw is Sacred.

All things are Sacred.”

          – Lakota Bear Healing Song, Frances Densmore, 1918, Teton Sioux Music, 264

Paul Gallimore, Director                                          Long Branch Environmental Education Center               Southern Appalachian Black Bear Federation               POB 369      Big Sandy Mush Creek                              Leicester, NC 28748                                                       Tel. 828.683.3662                                                           Fax: 828.683.9211                                                          Email:                                                     Web Site: