Sunday, June 19, 2011

From Oak Hill Cemetery to the Lab and Departure

Listening to the Director at Oak Hill Cemetery

The Friday session of the maps class began with a field trip to Oak Hill Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Birmingham.  We were greeted by the cemetery caretaker who gave the group a small introduction to this beautiful burial ground.

We were given a thorough orientation to the layout of the cemetery by director Stuart Oakes.

The cemetery is a beautiful one and our task was to learn how to map a cemetery using the GPS device. Divided into small groups, we headed towards our sections and got to work.  My partner and I had a strong interest in seeing the old African American section, and headed that way to see what was there. It was a pleasure to see the headstone of one of the leading African American citizens of Birmingham, Rev. William Pettiford.  He was also an early pastor of the well known 16th Street Baptist Church which many of us know was bombed during the Civil Rights movement.

Headstone of Rev. William Pettiford, leading minister and educator in Birmingham

Two other researchers were busy documenting the same section.
Crystal Simmons and LaDonna Garner study map of cemetery before marking the perimeter on GPS

The exercise at the cemetery was followed by a session in the computer lab where we learned how to take the data using ArcGIS Explorer to present the data captured on the GPS devices.

Computer Lab, Capturing Data from GPS

Sadly, the last session came to an end.  We discussed the points that we enjoyed most and shared ideas for next year's institute.

This experience at Samford had been wonderful for me, and I must say that I can only look forward to next year. New friendships were made, and old ones were re-established.  I learned so much from both the faculty and also from the participants.  My head is full of new ideas, and after I catch up on my rest I have some new things to try, to enhance what I do----to tell the story better.

Thank you to all who worked so hard to make the Samford experience, once again a great one. And alas, farewell to that beautiful campus!

Samford University, a beautiful campus.

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