Memories of W.Va. biology trips captured in new book

Jun 12, 2014

Percy LillyFor 22 years – from 1971-1993 – biology students trekked to West Virginia in late May to explore the habitats of Appalachia. Now, a new book, The West Virginia Trip, 1970-1989: Ecology of Unusual Habitats, captures the experience through photographs, history, writings and reflections of the professors who were the guides who led more than 200 students on the learning excursions through the years.

Retired professor Dr. Percy Lilly, the book’s author, enjoyed the trip down memory lane as he compiled the book.

“About one year ago, my daughter, Catherine, observed all my slides of the trips, which has then led us to working together to produce the book, she with the computer skills and I with the information,” Lilly said.

The book, which will be available for purchase during Alumni Weekend June 20-22, contains more than 200 vibrantly photographs provided by 12 photographers; the list of students who participated with reflective quotes from more than 40 of them; the list of the 12 Heidelberg faculty members who participated; descriptions of the unusual habitats; and writings and descriptions of events and places by professors Dr. David Baker, Dr. George Barlow, the late Dr. Howard Hintz, Dr. Ken Krieger, Dr. Robert Murray and Lilly.

The 10-day field study trip had as its home base a cabin between Elkins and Parsons, W.Va., and 119 acres in all directions around it. “We went in all different directions” to investigate forests, bogs, plateaus, water quality and unexplored areas, Lilly recalled.

Lilly captioned all of the photos and attributed the photographer. “In doing that, I remembered so many of the students very vividly … lots of good memories,” he said. “Many of the students said (this trip) was their best experience at Heidelberg.”

In September 2013, about a dozen alumni of the trips and six faculty members and their spouses reconvened at the cabin for a reunion. That event also is captured in Lilly’s book.

“Best of all were the memories and reminiscing among good people,” he said.

After Alumni Weekend, the book will be available in the Heidelberg Bookstore.