Sept. 12: The Ground Beneath Our Hearts

ground_nMark your calendars now and join OVEC, the Catholic Committee of Appalachia and the WV Chapter of Sierra Club on September 12 for a very special international event, The Ground Beneath Our Hearts! This will be a worldwide celebration of our love for the beauty of our homes and heritage in places that have been terribly damaged by extractive industries. OVEC will be hosting an Appalachian celebration at Kanawha State Forest (Shelter #6) beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Participants are asked to bring two items from the ground close to their hearts; 1) a natural item like a rock, flower, leaves, etc., and 2) an item with a story or meaning that they can share briefly with the group, such as a quilt, a piece of pottery, a keepsake – anything that has personal and cultural meaning. (These will be returned at the end of the celebration.) The items will be transformed into a beautiful “celebration sculpture” by the participants as they share in song and story. This sharing will be a very important part of our day — celebrating the things we love about our heritage, while acknowledging that places of great beauty have been lost.

Participants are invited to personalize words to The Ground Beneath Our Hearts song, replacing the words “deep roots and strong ties” (“these are the things that keep me here”) with something else meaningful to them. The song will be sung as a closing piece at the event, and will be filmed to become part of a documentary of this event, stitched together with other The Ground Beneath Our Hearts celebrations from various places around the world. Here’s the sheet music for the song:

Listen to and sing along with the song on YouTube, here.

Food will be provided, but, if possible, bring a salad or dessert to share.

So put September 12 on your calendar and come celebrate The Ground Beneath Our Hearts! For more information about the international events and sponsoring organization, visit the website

If you are on Facebook, be sure to “like” The Ground Beneath Our Hearts overall Facebook page as well as our specific Appalachian celebration page. Please invite others to do so too.

OVEC would like to thank the Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation and the Appalachian Community Fund for helping to fund this event.

If you want to help plan OVEC’s celebration or want more information, contact Tonya at or 304-522-0246.

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The Author



  1. Wilma Lee Steele

    Please delete the first onem but post this one.
    I have been a member of OVEC for well over ten years. I worked with the sisters & friends at Big Laurel Learning Center in Mingo, for over 25 tears now. Both groups has helped inspire & empower me though the years. I was against MTR before I met any groups, but I mostly complained about things I couldn’t change.

    The two good things I always did, were to speak the truth & go see. Go see for myself and search for beauty as well as the harm & destruction. After one of the earlier floods about 2004 or 2005, in Meador, Mingo, We rode our four wheeler looking over the damage. I saw a large oak that had fallen during the floods. I saw something strange sticking out of the mud, it looked like the leg of a dog. I found that it was a tree root that had grown in an odd shape because it had grown in a solid rock. Smaller rocks were embedded in the root. i brought this home and a friend cut a slick of the big oak. I used this to create art work I called, WHITE FLAME.

    One of the gifts that I was born with, is to see good in people and situations. Without this, I think I would have died long ago. We need to cling to the good, no mater how bad things look.I hate words like, “they destroyed’ it give they too much power. I remember teasing Vivian about the Captain & Tennille song, “Love Keeps us Together”, but I changed it “Coal Brought us Together.” You got to cry over your loses, fight with everything in you for change. Never forget to love, to laugh and find the good in every situation. That is why, ‘The Ground beneath our hearts’ is a project important to me. WLS

    1. Wilma, it seems that man by nature is destructive. Somehow we have advanced to the point where the impact of his destructive capabilities are so great that many of us have chosen to speak out and voice our concerns. We are far from eloquent, we can only speak from our hearts and pray that we say the right words and our words are taken to heart. Thank you for speaking out and living your words, Wilma….T. Paige

      1. Thank you T Page, and thank you for the music.

  2. This special, sacred event is so needed.
    I plan to be there.

  3. Would love to come and support you in this event. Any lodging accommodations for people from out of area? Anyone traveling from Kentucky to ride with?

    1. Teri, you can stay with me, I’m an hour away.

  4. Teri-there’s a few slots for accommodations. E-mail us.

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