Kentucky High School to Adopt Integrated Science-Humanities Stories of Place Curriculum

Brandon Matthew, shaking hand of Kentucky State Delegate Chris Harris, who stopped by to meet the Stories of Place students and faculty and learn about theirprojects. Photo by Mary Hufford.

Appalachian Land Study collaborators Dr.’s Mary Hufford and Karen Rignall have partnered with Sheldon Clark High School in Martin County, Kentucky to develop an integrated science and humanities curriculum to document and map Martin County’s special places. This project, called “Stories of Place,” is part of a wider program by land study partner the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network to document Central Appalachia’s special landscapes. Youth and elders share photos, memories, and visions of the future to catalyze inter-generational conversations about how land and resources are managed, particularly in places that are most meaningful to people. 

Elements of the Martin County Stories of Place curriculum were piloted in 2019 with support from the Whiting Foundation, the University of Kentucky, and Appalshop Media Institute. Students in the pilot classes at Sheldon Clark High School in Inez, KY had their projects featured at the capitol rotunda in Frankfort, Kentucky and presented their work to legislators Rocky Adkins and Chris Harris.

stories of places
Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC)videographer, interviewing Andrea Davis about her Stories of Place Poster, based on her interview withRemona Ward Estep. Photo by Mary Hufford.


In June 2019, teachers from Sheldon Clark High School and Dr.’s Hufford and Rignall participated in an intensive week-longParticipatory Action Research Institute with the Public Science Project in NewYork City to further refine the curriculum, which will be fully implemented in the 2019-2020 school year. Students will collect GPS data, conduct interviews and oral histories, write stories and essays, and produce interactive media–podcasts, videos, and web maps–that document their special places inMartin County. Stories of Place is an exciting intergenerational approach to engaging folks, especially young people, in the conversation about land and place-making. Listen to a podcast featuring some of the students’ interviews here.