This is my first Wilderness Wildlife Week. Very nice event! I have been two days in a row and may make it again tomorrow. In addition, it is my first time at the Leconte Event Center, a beautiful facility with a rustic style.
Last night, I was able to attend the presentation by Dr. Bill Bass, internationally known creator of the ‘Body Farm’ research facility at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. To a full house, he explained how it began in 1980 at UTK.
When Jack Reese was President of UT, Bass asked him for land to conduct research on anatomy and forensic science. He got 3 acres of land behind U.T. Hospital where they used to burn trash. They poured a 16 X 16 concrete slab and put a chain link fence around the area. It became known in the field for research on dead bodies and criminal investigation. Later, Patricia Cornwell visited Bass, took a tour, then wrote “The Body Farm,” based on the facility.
Dr. Bass’ presentation last night was full of stories, information, and was supported by slides of past cases. It takes a strong stomach to look at the visuals, but you learn many things about real CSI work. Dr. Bass is proud that they have the largest modern skeletal collection in the world (over 2,000) at the University of Tennessee, with people coming from all over the world to study there. In addition, FBI Evidence Response Teams come for a week every summer to update skills in criminal investigation.
(On a side note— Dr. Bass is such a gentleman that he asked if I could see OK when I sat on the floor to get the photo above.)
Today, I went to a presentation at 7:15 p.m. by Dwight McCarter, who shared stories about search and rescue in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I think this topic is kind of frightening and wanted to hear more about his experiences for three decades tracking lost children and adults . An hour wasn’t long enough. He should write a book about this topic.
Looking at the schedule Saturday, there are two sessions that look especially good. Here is a copy and paste from the program online:
2 – 3 PM: NEW! HERITAGE! The Politics of White Capping: Don Williams – Greenbrier Hall B
Join Don as he encapsulates the story of the war between the White Caps and blue Bills, two vigilante group with very different agendas in the 1890s, resulting in cliff–hanging elections marked by bribery, boozing, romance and murder, including a bloody rock fight inside a Gatlinburg church, as well as the only Democrat to ever serve as sheriff of Sevier County since the Civil War.
Heavens! Which church could this be?
Also, I have always wanted to hear this choir in the description below. Make note of the time!
4 – 5 PM: NEW! Gospel Music of the Smokies: Boyd’s Creek Church of God Choir – LeConte Hall Stage
This group is from a rural area of Sevier County that is rich in history. The choir, led by Nichole Donohoo Stinnett, sings out the gospel the way the church’s early African-American members sang it.