Margaret Lynn Brown
George Ellison, photo by Timothy Spira
Thursday Speaker: Margaret Lynn Brown
Title: The Hikers and Campers Who First Envisioned a National Park in the Smokies
Description: Never underestimate hikers and wildflower lovers. Although prominent Asheville and Knoxville residents like David Chapman are given credit for pushing through a national park in the Great Smoky Mountains in 1934, backpacker Paul Fink, hikers Carlos Campbell, Dutch Roth, and the women of the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club changed history with their words, photography, and passion for these beautiful mountains.
Bio: Margaret Lynn Brown, the author of The Wild East: A Biography of the Great Smoky Mountains, teaches American history courses at Brevard College in Brevard, North Carolina. She has a chapter in a forthcoming book by University of Tennessee Press, Lost in Transition. She is also an avid hiker and native plant gardener.
Friday speakers: George Ellison and Lee Knight
Title: Elegant Terrain: A Celebration in Music & Verse of the People, Flora & Fauna, and Landscapes of the Southern Highlands
Description: Listen to renowned folk musician, singer & storyteller Lee Knight weave his magic with the assistance of nature-related poems written and read by the well-known naturalist, regional historian & poet George Ellison. The Great Smokies & Southern Appalachians are not so high & intimidating as the much younger Rockies & Himalayas, but this 250 million year old mountain range is a wealth of biodiversity unsurpassed by any other mountain range in North America. Join Lee and George as they pay homage to this exceptional region.
George Ellison Bio: Writer-naturalist George Ellison grew up in Danville VA, attended UNC-CH and USC-C, and taught at Mississippi State before moving to Western North Carolina in 1973. Since 1976 he has lived with his wife, artist and papermaker Elizabeth Ellison, several miles west of Bryson City NC.
He writes the Nature Journal column for the Ashville Citizen-Times; the Botanical Excursions column for Chinquapin: The Newsletter of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society; and the Back Then column for Smoky Mountain News. His books (all published by The History Press in Charleston SC with artwork by Elizabeth Ellison) include: Mountain Passages (essays); Blue Ridge Nature Journal (essays): High Vistas: An Anthology of Nature Writing from Western North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains, 2 vols.; Permanent Camp (poems); and Literary Excursions in the Southern Highlands (essays). He is currently working with his wife and their daughter, photographer Quintin Ellison, on a volume titled Highland Perspectives to be published in 2021 by The History Press. Visit George Ellison's website here: https://www.georgeellison.com/
Lee Knight Bio: Lee Knight is a native of the Adirondack Mountains of New York. He has lived in the Southern Appalachians for 50 years. He is a folk singer, having collected most of his songs from traditional musicians. Lee has performed in many parts of the world and performed with Pete Seeger, Jean Ritchie, Bill Monroe, Wu Man and the Kronos Quartet. He plays the 5-string banjo, the fretless 5-string banjo, guitar, Appalachian dulcimer, Cherokee flute, drums and rattle and the mouth bow. For the past 40 years Lee has been a whitewater raft guide on the Nantahala River and taught Road Scholar classes. Visit Lee Knight's website here: http://www.leeknightmusic.com/