aspect of the
|Foxfire (The Foxfire Fund,|
Inc.) is a not-for-profit, educational and literary organization based in Rabun County, Georgia. Founded in 1966, Foxfire's learner-centered, community-based educational approach is advocated through both a regional demonstration site (The Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center) grounded in the Southern Appalachian culture that gave rise to Foxfire, and a national program of teacher training and support (the Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning) that promotes a sense of place and appreciation of local people, community, and culture as essential educational tools.
What is "Foxfire"?
© Bruce McAdam
• The term "foxfire" is a name commonly applied to several species of bioluminescent fungi that grow on rotting wood in damp forests (like the Southern Appalachians) during the warmer months. These fungi typically produce a dim blue-green glow that can be seen only in dark, starlit areas, away from any artificial lights or moonlight. Other names associated with these glowing fungi include "faerie fire" and "will o' the wisp."
• "Foxfire" is the name that an English class picked, in 1966, for a student-produced magazine they chose to create, containing stories and interviews gathered from elders in their rural Southern Appalachian community. Other potential names on the list included "ginseng," "yellow root," and "bloodroot," which are plants native to the north Georgia area where the students lived.
• "Foxfire" is the name of a series of books which are anthology collections of material from The Foxfire Magazine. The students' portrayal of the previously-dismissed culture of Southern Appalachia as a proud, self-sufficient people with simple beliefs, pure joy in living, and rock-solid faith shattered most of the world-at-large's misconceptions about these "hillbillies."
• "Foxfire" is a museum in the small northeast Georgia town of Mountain City. The students driving the Foxfire program chose to use royalty monies from the book series to purchase property and build a home for their work—a place where they could store and preserve their growing collection of artifacts, and a place to interact with the community that so strongly suppported them.
• "Foxfire" is a method of classroom instruction—not a step-by-step checklist, but an over-arching approach that incorporates the original Foxfire classroom's building blocks of giving students the opportunity to make decisions about how they learn required material, using the community around them as a resource to aid that learning, and connecting the students' work with an audience beyond the classroom.
• "Foxfire" is The Foxfire Fund, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization responsible for overseeing all of these programs — the ongoing production of The Foxfire Magazine, the publication of The Foxfire Book series and companion titles, interaction with visitors and school groups at the Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center, and the training of educators in the Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning.
• Most importantly, "Foxfire" is the living connection between the high school students in the magazine program and their heritage, built through interaction with their elders. Students, by their own choices, have worked for over 47 years to document and preserve the stories, crafts, trades, and the personalities of their families, neighbors, and friends. Through this work, they have recorded vast collection of information on this unique American culture, preserving it for generations to come.
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