Pine Mountain Settlement School will offer a two-day forest study workshop Aug. 14-16. The workshop is named in honor of one of the first and foremost conservationists of the 20th century, E. Lucy Braun. Dr. Lucy, as she was called by her colleagues, devoted her life to the study of plants and to conservation campaigns to save wilderness areas and other natural sites.
Dr. Braun was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and attended the University of Cincinnati, where she earned her undergraduate degree, master’s degree in geology and Ph.D. in botany. She taught geology, botany and ecology at the university from 1910 to 1948. Upon retirement from teaching in 1948, she spent the rest of her life doing research on plants and working to save natural areas from destruction.
In the 1920s and 30s, she conducted field trips to gather information for her study of the forests of eastern North America. Her travels brought her to the southern Appalachians, including areas around the settlement school.
On these field trips, Dr. Braun and her sister Annette, a zoologist, drove their Model T Ford through the mountains to collect plant specimens. Dr. Braun’s analysis of the information collected on these field trips resulted in her book “Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America.” This book was the definitive text on the subject when it was published in 1950 and it remains so today.
In 1930, Dr. Braun and Katherine Pettit, one of the founders of Pine Mountain Settlement School, campaigned to save a virgin forest on Lynn Fork of the left fork of Leatherwood in Perry County. They were not successful, and the forest there was subsequently cut down.
Pine Mountain’s forest study workshop includes hikes to different types of forests; all are within an hour’s drive of the settlement school.