Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Kelley Libby, Jessica Lilly, Chris Schulz Published

Encore: Millipedes And Taylor Swift, Inside Appalachia

A close up of a brown millipede is seen on moss.
The Nannaria Swiftae (Swift Twisted-claw Millipede) is one of 17 new species of millipede found by entomologist Derek Hennen.

This week, we visit a farm in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that can grow on one acre what other farms grow on 100 acres.

We also hear about a podcast that remembers the “Back to the Land” movement of the 1970s and ‘80s – and a mysterious disappearance.

And, we meet a team of scientists that found dozens of new millipedes across Appalachia. They named one species after a pop star. 

These stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

  • The Flow Of Water In McDowell County
  • The Queen Of Pop And The Millipede
  • I Was Never There
  • Communities Of Healing Helping Appalachian Furnishings

The Flow Of Water In McDowell County

McDowell County, West Virginia, has been one of those places where access to clean water has not always been a given. But now, some communities there have finally been connected to a reliable water system. One of those places is Keystone — where 74 percent of residents are Black.

Jessica Lilly has the story.

The Pop Queen And The Millipede

Pop star Taylor Swift is known for ridiculously catchy pop songs and legions of obsessive fans. And now — she has a millipede in Appalachia named after her. It’s called Nannaria Swiftae, or Swift Twisted-claw Millipede.

Taylor Swift’s millipede was given her name by an entomologist named Derek Hennen, who was a PhD at Virginia Tech when he and a team of scientists discovered 17 new millipede species.

Mason Adams traveled to Blacksburg, Virginia and spoke with Hennen.

Derek Hennen, the entomologist who helped to discover 17 new species of millipede. Courtesy Photo

I Was Never There

Marsha Ferber’s disappearance in 1988 has puzzled the community around Morgantown, West Virginia for decades. 

Ferber moved there from New Jersey in the late 1970s and became a fixture. She established a pair of clubs and the Mountain People’s Co-Op. Then in April of 1988, she vanished.  

A new podcast titled I Was Never There aims to shed new light on the disappearance, and the “Back to the Land” movement that provides the story’s backdrop.

The podcast was created by a mother and daughter, Karen and Jamie Zelermyer.

Reporter Chris Schulz sat down with them to learn more.

A new podcast, I Was Never There, aims to shed new light on the disappearance, and on the “Back to the Land” movement that provides the story’s backdrop. Courtesy Photo

Communities Of Healing Helping Appalachian Furnishings

Tammy Jordan, the founder of Fruits of Labor, is helping other businesses create work environments that are recovery friendly. She helped create a program called Communities of Healing.

Jessica Lilly brought us a story about one business that’s using the program — Appalachian Furnishings, in Wyoming County.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Ona, Blue Dot Sessions, Montana Skies, and Taylor Swift.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Alex Runyon is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.