Researching Bent Creek Experimental Forest from the perspective of archival documents help me develop a sense of history for area where the Experimental Forest is located. The oral histories included in this timeline describe the work of two young men who were employed in the Experimental Forest within ten years of one another, before and during the Great Depression. Both touch upon the actual labor involved in their job positions and, in addition, describe the culture of “mountain people”. Reading these perspectives from workers at Bent Creek changed my perspective of the location by describing how the Experimental Forest exists in relation to the communities that surrounded it. Since the Experimental Forest is a research station, I expected it to be more isolated from the people who live near it.
I also found that looking through pictures of the Experimental Forest helped to me to construct a mental landscape of the area where research was being conducted. Several pictures within the archives illustrate ways in which the landscape was disturbed by human activity, which began to build more layers into a “deep map” of the Experimental Forest that depicted the landscape as well as changes to it. I also enjoyed looking through pictures that depicted smaller pieces of the Experimental Forest, such as the picture of the trunk of a sycamore tree.
If Reilly and I choose to continue to research Bent Creek Experimental Forest, I could foresee us exploring the StoryMap platform to assemble archival documents about Bent Creek. I attempted to create a presentation with StoryMap for these documents, but had difficulty doing so. If we created a StoryMap, we could visually explore some of the environmental changes that have been and are currently being researched at Bent Creek Experimental Forest and place these changes within a larger map that illustrates Bent Creek’s landscape. Within this map, we could layer in the voices from the interviews along with pictures of how the forest would have looked during the time when William Nothstein and Hugh Creasman were working there.