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Taylor Swift’s Appalachian Millipede, Agriculture Innovations And A Mysterious Disappearance

Swift Millipede
Courtesy
The Nannaria Swiftae (Swift Twisted-claw Millipede) is one of 17 new species of millipede found by entomologist Derek Hennen.

This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear about a farm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that can grow a lot of agriculture on one acre of a former industrial site.

We’ll also hear about a podcast that remembers the "Back to the Land" movement in West Virginia during the 1970s and 1980s — as well as a mysterious disappearance.

And, we’ll hear about a team of entomologists who documented dozens of new species of millipede across Appalachia. One of them used the opportunity to pay tribute to a surprising influence.

That and more as we journey through Appalachia.

In This Episode:

  • Decade-Long Boil Water Advisory Lifted In Southern West Virginia
  • Saving Mountain-Lovers From Extinction
  • A “Swift” Discovery: Newly Identified Millipede Named For Pop Star
  • I Was Never There Podcast Sheds Light On 1988 Disappearance

Decade-Long Boil Water Advisory Lifted In Southern West Virginia

Accessing clean water in West Virginia’s McDowell County hasn’t always been easy. After years of inconsistent availability, some communities in McDowell County have been connected to a reliable tap water system. One of these communities is Keystone, where 74 percent of residents are African American and where there has been a boil water advisory for a decade. Jessica Lilly has the story.

Saving Mountain-Lovers From Extinction

Across Appalachia, plant species are rapidly dying out, but researchers are trying to save one plant, found only in the Appalachian Mountains, from extinction. Paxistima canbyi, or Canby’s Mountain-Lover” is a species of ground cover that is rare even in its home in the Appalachians. The Allegheny Front’s Andy Kubis brings us the story from Pennsylvania.

A "Swift" Discovery: A Newly Identified Millipede Named For Pop Star

Derek Hennen
Derek Hennen, the entomologist who helped to discover 17 new species of millipede.

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift didn’t technically grow up in Appalachia, though she did live in Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Still, a newly discovered Appalachian millipede was named for Swift. The Nannaria Swiftae (Swift Twisted-claw Millipede) is one of 17 new species of millipede found by entomologist Derek Hennen. Hennen spoke with our host, Mason Adams, about the discovery and about pop stars.

I Was Never There
A new podcast, I Was Never There aims to shed new light on the disappearance, and on the “Back to the Land” movement that provides the story’s backdrop.

I Was Never There Podcast Sheds Light On 1988 Disappearance 

The 1988 disappearance of Marsha Ferber has puzzled the community around Morgantown, West Virginia for decades. Ferber moved to Morgantown from New Jersey in the late 1970s and quickly became a fixture of the town, establishing a pair of clubs and the Mountain People’s Co-Op. Then, in April 1988, she vanished.

A new podcast, I Was Never There aims to shed new light on the disappearance, and on the “Back to the Land” movement that provides the story’s backdrop. The mother-daughter duo who created the show, Jamie and Karen Zelermyer, discuss the show with Chris Shulz.

Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Ona, Montana Skies, and Taylor Swift. Bill Lynch is our producer. Alex Runyon is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode. You can find us on Twitter @InAppalachia.

Stay Connected
Inside Appalachia Co-Host/Folkways Reporter, mason.j.adams@gmail.com, @MasonAtoms
Inside Appalachia Producer, blynch@wvpublic.org, @LostHwys
Alex Runyon is a proud Huntington, West Virginia native. She attended Marshall University and earned degrees in creative writing and literary studies, dabbling in journalism, photography and women’s studies along the way. She worked as a freelance photographer and social media strategist before joining the Inside Appalachia team as Associate Producer. Alex enjoys writing and performing stand up comedy, hiking, screenwriting and playing board games. She lives in Huntington, West Virginia with her cat, Waylon Kittings. Follow her on Twitter @_AlexRunyon.