Conference Day One


I was wrong. I can’t get wireless Internet from Hotel Roanoke meeting rooms, so the live twitter and blog entries I’d imagined won’t happen until perhaps Friday afternoon. Ah well.

The first day of the SEJ conference was as full as I’d expected and much less lonely an event. This is a crowd of folks not afraid to look you in the eye and hold out a hand and say “my names is John (or Jane), what’s yours?”

Today, the field trip to Polyface Farm. I’m responsible for posting a blog post on the trip for the SEJ blog (and pix to a Flickr gallery) so will have that done by Saturday morning.

Most memorable yesterday, a must-check-this-out moment was listening to Amory Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute describe the work he and RMI have been doing on composite materials and design for tomorrow’s fuel efficient automobile (that could have been yesterdays’–their innovations are just now starting to get the attention that will get them built in large numbers.)

Also interesting the panel discussion type segment that involved a WVa attorney who has been front and center in litigation against mountaintop removal coal extraction and a representative from one of the large coal companies. The conversation was frank, at times tense, but respectful and professional. I learned a lot.

This is a crappy post. I’m buzzing around thinking ahead to the day to come. So just peek at the recent image above from near home that has nothing whatsoever to do with the content of this post and move on. Back atcha soon. (Sorry–a Palin-ism.) Wink Wink.

Oh yeah: found out yesterday that the SEJ BR Parkway excursion will end up at Hotel Floyd today, so if you see a bus pull into town mid-afternoon, that might be part of the group from Roanoke. Y’all behave when company’s in town.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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