Kentucky Mountaintop Removal Expedition

Jun. 7, 2014 - Jun. 10, 2014 Whitesburg, Benham, & Berea, Kentucky

The Natural History Museum coordinated with local ecologists to enhance understandings of environmental issues in Kentucky, specifically in Whitesburg, Benham, and Berea.  The expedition included tours of mountaintop removal sites, underground mines, and nature preserves.

Examples of Expedition Outings:

MTR Up Close: Mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining is exactly what it sounds like. The tops are literally blown off the mountains in order to get to the coal seams beneath. The rubble from the mountaintop is pushed into nearby “valley fills.” This form of mining has destroyed miles of mountaintops in eastern Kentucky while damaging or destroying waterways and adversely impacting public health. On this site visit, participants will be able to get an up close view of mountaintop removal. Participants will get a sense of what it is like to live and work close to MTR operations.  Note: This site visit may involve a short hike up a hill. Participants who are not able to make the hike should choose a different site visit. Also, please note that participants in this visit will need to sign a waiver, as the MTR visit is on private land.

MTR Flyover:
While Option B will give participants an up close look at MTR, the flyover will provide participants a sense of the scale. You will be able to see multiple MTR sites, valley fills, and slurry ponds from the air. The flight path is about 30‐45 minutes long. Notes: The planes used for this site visit are relatively small (3‐5 passengers only) so interested folks should keep that in mind if they have issues with being in small spaces/planes. Also, if you rank the flyover as your top choice, we will need to know your weight so please send that information along as well. Because the planes are small, the pilots always ask for participant weights ahead of time in order to plan accordingly.