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Shepherd students complete service learning projects

By Staff | Dec 19, 2008

Shepherd University students took part in a living history program at the Shepherd family cemetery on New Street in Shepherdstown.

Shepherd University students in Dr. Keith Alexander’s Introduction to Historic Preservation class completed their service learning projects for fall 2008. Presented on Halloween as a living history program, the project built on last spring’s gravestone cleaning of the Shepherd family cemetery on New Street.

The students cleaned tombstones, some of which date back to the 18th century. Removing the moss and lichens growing on the stones helps preserve the information about the past. And in the process of cleaning the stones, students applied lessons discussed in the classroom about cleaning techniques and historic preservation ethics.

Cleaning gravestones requires great care, as well as copious amounts of water. This can be a challenge for some sites, including the New Street Cemetery, where there is no water source. This semester a rain barrel, purchased by the Shepherd family from Earth Choice Rain Barrels, a

Shepherdstown company, which offers an abundant, environmentally sustainable, and free source of water, was installed.

Ninety community members attended presentations held in the New Street graveyard on Halloween night. The presentations featured Shepherd students dressed in period costumes giving first-person accounts of their characters’ lives in Shepherdstown. Kyle Pfalzer, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, portrayed Abraham Shepherd; Kimberly Thomas, Gerrardstown, played Anne Shepherd; Bethany Baddorf, Ranson, portrayed Eleanor Strode Shepherd; and Isaac

Forman, Cambridge, Ohio, was James Touro Shepherd.

The historic preservation class worked closely with the Office of Community Services and Service Learning on the gravestone cleaning and the living history projects.

Earlier this year, Dr. Alexander, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies and coordinator of the historic preservation program, presented his experiences using service learning for preservation education to the Charles Town Landmarks Commission, the Historic Shepherdstown Commission, and at the National Preservation Conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma.