CEDAR plans to expand

J.D. CharlesFor The Logan Banner

September 26, 2012

The CEDAR (Coal Education Development and Resources) coal education group will be expanding soon in southern West Virginia.

CEDAR is a not-for-profit corporation formed in July 1993 as a partnership between the Coal Industry, Business Community and Academia to help young people learn more about the real impact of coal mining in their own communities.

Volunteers with CEDAR met on Sept. 18, 2012 at Gatti’s Restaurant at the FountainPlace Plaza to discuss projects like the Coal Fairs, scholarships and a move into a new county.

“We are getting ready to expand into Wayne County,” said Debbie May. “We have many loyal and dedicated teachers who are involved with CEDAR to teach students about the impact and heritage coal has in our region.”

Coal mining has come under increasing political pressure in recent years, and that in turn has affected local communities as miners have lost their jobs and mining related businesses are feeling the pinch as money gets tight.

“Many of our students have family members who are coal miners, or who are affected by the mining industry in other ways,” May noted.

One new member of CEDAR is a familiar face — Crystal Hensley, the former president of the Rotary Club of Logan has gotten involved with the organization.

“I helped them in the past with their work on scholarships,” said Hensley.

“We recently had 72 winners in the Coal Fair among the different age groups,“ May noted, adding that CEDAR makes grants available for classrooms and that individual teachers can get $800 grants for their classrooms. Cedar is a volunteer organization in its 12th year.

May said the group is making a positive difference through the Coal Fairs, classroom projects and scholarships.

“We had one student who recently met with Bill Raney of the Coal Developers Association,” she said. “He explained how you can introduce a bill into the legislature and how to go about getting it passed. Our student did just that and that is how Bituminous Coal was officially listed as the state rock. That student is at Concord now. We have had a lot of successes.”