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31

F R I D A Y

Even as threatened rainforests grab all the headlines, the world’s oldest temperate hardwood forest continues its sharp decline, with nary a benefit concert or an all-star CD in its honor: Apparently, its West Virginia location isn’t exotic enough for globetrotting celebrity greenies like Sting, who demand accessible—and preferably topless—beaches for relaxation after their world-saving stints. So it’s been left to folklorists to chronicle the demise of the forgotten forest along the Coal River. Mary Hufford has been studying the area for three years; she presents her findings in “Stalking the Mother Forest: Culture, History, and the Central Appalachian Cove,” the first in a new series of monthly lectures on the work of the American Folklife Center. At noon at the Library of Congress, James Madison Building’s Sixth Dining Room, 1st & Independence Ave. SE. FREE. (202) 707-5502. (Eddie Dean)