Pine Mountain Settlement School


TAGS: Scott Mathies EE Narrative ; Environmental Education ; Appalachian mountain culture ;  Mary Rogers ;  Anne Sicilian ; Preston Lewis ; David Siegenthaler ; EE staff ; interns ; maintenance staff ; Matthew Boggs ; kitchen staff ; residential programs ; local school visitors ; Indian Cliff Dwelling ; crafts ; folk dancing ; Alonzo Turner ; community events ; workshops ;

Pine Mountain Settlement School

Environmental Education

By Scott Matthies, Environmental Education Staff, 1979-1981

I was in my last year at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, trying to figure out what I was going to do for January term 1977. On my way to the dining hall, I noticed a small brochure tacked to the bulletin board describing a course at Pine Mountain Settlement School in Harlan County, Kentucky. I’d never been east of the Mississippi and thought that this could be a fun adventure. Little did I know that it would change the course of my life.

Arriving at Pine Mountain Settlement School, I was immediately enamored with the natural setting and the beautiful architecture of the school campus. It felt as if we were transported back to an earlier time. Over the month I was immersed in the Appalachian mountain culture and the surrounding environment as part of the Environmental Education staff: EE Coordinator Steve McKee, Mary Rogers, Rob Belser, Afton Garrison, Nancy Sather, and interns — Anne Sicilian and Remembrance (Chipman). Anne was helping Preston Lewis with a Special Education class within the local school district but had the classroom at Pine Mountain. Preston’s wife, Lane, also contributed to the Pine Mountain community.

Scott Mathies EE Narrative: GALLERY I

 After spending the month I was sure I would return, and I did in March of 1979 when I learned that there was an opening on the EE staff. Steve and Pam McKee along with Rob Belser had left and Mary Rogers took over as EE Coordinator. Afton Garrison continued on and Cami Hamilton and Mark Dalton joined me on staff with David Siegenthaler eventually becoming the EE Coordinator. Up until the summer of 1981 when I left, there were a few staff changes with Dee (Dolores) Nice, Maggie (Margaret) Buchanan, and Andrew Stowe joining the staff. There were also numerous interns over this period, many who eventually joined the EE staff.

An important part of the Pine Mountain Settlement School was the maintenance staff such as Omer Lewis and his son, Asbel Browning, Marlin ?, Jimmy Wilder, and others along with Sue Lewis, Mildred, Lorraine Browning and more in the School’s kitchen.

The EE staff and the interns were also very grateful to Matthew Boggs, the night watchman, for his offer to teach wood carving in the evenings.

Our time at Pine Mountain was kept busy with day trips from local schools and weeklong residential programs with the fifth graders from Kingsport, Tennessee, coming every year. Various subjects were taught using the classrooms and then continuing outside on the trails through the woods. A highlight for some was a visit to the limestone cave, as they emerged from their explorations covered in mud.

Evenings were busy with crafts such as carving whimmy-diddles and making cornhusk dolls, night hikes and a folk dance with Alonzo Turner calling the dances. There were also wildflower weekends, edible plant workshops and other events which brought in members of the surrounding community to not only attend but several helped teach.

Working and living within the confines of the school could cause some interpersonal conflicts at times, but for the most part we enjoyed and learned from each other and made lifelong friends. I met Anne Sicilian there in January 1977 and we ended up marrying in 1983. Many marriages came out of those who worked at Pine Mountain: Cami Hamilton and Mark Dalton, Dee Nice and David Siegenthaler, Jill and Doug Minter, Karen and Jimmy Wilder, Remembrance and Rob Belser, and there must have been others.

Anne and I left Pine Mountain for Berea, Kentucky, and lived near Lane and Preston Lewis in Irvine and later near Frankfurt, Kentucky, then on to Maine and eventually settling in Chaplin, Connecticut. Anne continues as a Special Education teacher and I became a building contractor specializing in energy efficient construction.

For over twenty years I have been a Chairman of the local Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, as well as serving on the Conservation Commission. In addition, I have become involved with a local land trust as a Steward and a Trustee for Joshua’s Tract Conservation and Historical Trust, Inc.

Anne and I remember Pine Mountain Settlement School with a great fondness for the place and for the people we met there.

Scott Mathies EE Narrative: GALLERY II


Scott Matthies  EE Narrative




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Scott Matthies ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Bethel College ; Environmental Education ;  Special Education ; EE staff ; Steve McKee ; Mary Rogers ; Rob Belser ; Afton Garrison ; Nancy Sather ; interns ; Anne Sicilian ; Remembrance ; Preston Lewis ; Lane Lewis ; Pam McKee ; Cami Hamilton ; Mark Dalton ; David Siegenthaler ; Dee (Dolores) Nice ; Maggie (Margaret) Buchanan ; Andrew Stowe ; Omer Lewis ;Asbel Browning ; Jimmy Wilder; Sue Lewis ; Lorraine Browning ; kitchen staff ; Matthew Boggs ; wood carving ; programs ; limestone cave ; whimmy-diddles ; cornhusk dolls ; folk dances ; Alonzo Turner ; wildflower weekends ; edible plant workshops ; community ; Jill and Doug inter ; energy efficient construction ; Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission ; Conservation Commission ; Joshua’s Tract Conservation & Historical Trust, Inc. ; Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; North Newton, KS ; Kingsport, TN ; Berea, KY ; Frankfort, KY ; Maine ; Chaplin, CT ;

Subject LCSH

Matthies, Scott.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY


Scott Matthies


Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet


Series 22: Environmental Education ; Series 09: Staff/Personnel (Biography) ;




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 22: Environmental Education ; Series 09: Staff/Personnel (Biography) ;

Coverage Temporal

1979 – 1981

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; North Newton, KS ; Kingsport, TN ; Berea, KY ; Frankfort, KY ; Maine ; Chaplin, CT ;


Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Scott Matthies ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Scott Matthies ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers, Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2014-04-05 hhw ; 2014-05-08 aae ; 2017-06-14 aae ;



Email correspondence between Scott Matthies and Helen Wykle, dated March 25, 2014, and April 5, 2014.

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