The Appalachian region includes the entire state of West Virginia and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. This region is a very cultured and diverse region with misconceptions that don’t allow others to fully educate themselves about it.

“The states of Appalachia.”

When people hear about Appalachia, a stereotype that comes to mind is that all Appalachian people are farmers that live a country lifestyle. This is inaccurate, and the people of Appalachia are very diverse and with a number of different skill sets. There are lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc., but not everyone focuses on that part of it, which is why it is difficult for outsiders to understand the region and its people.

Poverty is another word that comes to people’s minds when they hear Appalachia, and although there is poverty in this region, it shouldn’t be the defining factor of the region. Poverty levels have also decreased since the old days of Appalachia. Ever since the 2016 presidential election, Appalachia has become more of an interest to the American people, which is a great opportunity for others to understand exactly what Appalachia is and why it’s so important. The soil and climate of Appalachia are also benefits of this region. The soil is made of nutrients and minerals that assist the trees and plants in growth and health, along with the changing climate each season. The warm summers, cooler spring and fall seasons, along with colder winters allow the region’s trees to blossom, providing the finest lumber in the entire world, which is just one resource this region provides to the American people.

Many projects have been created to showcase the true Appalachian region to the rest of the world, and if you aren’t familiar with Appalachia, then they are worth looking into. One of these projects was started here at West Virginia University by Professor Dana Coester. The “100 Days in Appalachia” project had a purpose to create content such as articles, multimedia reports, and creative imagery that show more than the stereotypical image of the Appalachian people. The “100 Days” name is referring to President Donald Trump’s first 100 days of administration, but the plan is for the project to continue even further. What is so unique about this project is the collaboration of WVU students, professors, as well as the Appalachian people to tell the story of this region with facts and truths, not just what people want to hear. This project is honest and doesn’t sugar coat the region’s issues, but at the same time provides the positives that Appalachia provides the rest of the world with.

“My name is Jess Green, and I am in the Public Relations department at Appalachian Insights. My dream job is to work for a PR agency in New York City. Follow me through our journey-@jsgreenwvu16.”

Appalachian Insights is a research collaborative at West Virginia University. Follow our blog for information regarding research and innovation.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store