Service and Education
"When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice." ~ Cherokee Proverb
What is unique about our service projects is that we offer a variety of service projects throughout the week, in other words, each day your group will be working in a different location with a special focus. Our service projects are a blend of work and education. We focus on the environment, rural Appalachia, and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. We provide the service projects in cooperation with several local community organizations.
Throughout the week, we provide daily instructions and guidance for the service projects as well as education on natural and cultural history. We hope to educate and offer unique outdoor experiences that encourage sustainable practices and community service. Groups will be involved with all aspects of the program including meal preparations, cleanup, and other caretaking tasks at the host site. You might find yourself splitting firewood or learning bird calls or how to build a fire. We may share a little bit of the Cherokee language or how to build a compost. OR we may ask you to help chop vegetables for the evening dinner.
At our host site on Rocky Branch, we focus on ecological restoration, sustainability and education. This will include gardening, composting, beekeeping, strawbale and other alternative construction, removal of invasive plant species, planting native species, bird identification, edible and medicinal plant use, and citizen/community science projects throughout the week.
Projects for the Sequoyah Museum on tribal land could include removal of invasive plants, trail building, ecological restoration, and maintenance of museum property. Education about the Cherokee will be provided with interactive activities learning Cherokee language, dances, history, and playing a traditional Cherokee ballgame. We will also have Cherokee guests to join us when possible.
In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we may be involved with trail maintenance, invasive plant species removal, collecting native seeds, planting native plants, and campsite maintenance. Park staff will provide education related to the current projects and park history.
When we visit the Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, we will focus on the history of the area and work to restore the gardens to what is native habitat as well as useful plants that were grown by the people who lived in this region when it was first settled. We learn of the relationships between the settlers and Cherokee in this region along with the current work being done to work with the Cherokee to tell their story.
If we visit the Cherokee National Forest, we might be preparing and cleaning up the public campgrounds or working on a trail in preparation for the coming months that are busy with visitors to the area.
The Rocky Branch Community Center serves the community by offering a gathering place for personal and community events. On Friday evening, your group will join in on the Rocky Branch Mountain Music gathering to enjoy music from local musicians and community members!