In Appalachia, Elusive Mountain Lion Myths Abound & Hope Surrounds Tiny Homes Project in Schools


This week on Inside Appalachia: wildlife experts agree the Eastern Mountain Lion is extinct. So why do so many people across Appalachia swear they’ve seen mountain lions? Have they? What did they really see? WMRA’s Andrew Jenner and Brent Finnegan explored the stories behind mountain lion sightings in the mountains of central Appalachia. What they found, made them question the expert opinion.

And we’ll hear how a school cooperative in coal country is changing how people think about education and their region’s future. As coal country looks for a new path forward, a few communities are looking to their public schools. Some school administrators are changing not just how they prepare students academically, but how they help those students meet economic and social challenges. 

“Tiny House” Project Tackles Big Problems

We’ll also meet high school students in eastern Kentucky who are learning real life skills by building tiny homes.

In eastern Kentucky’s coal country, jobs are scarce and many people struggle with substandard housing. Some high school students think they can help tackle those big problems by building tiny houses. As part of the series, “Changing Course,” Benny Becker reports on a project called “Building It Forward” that has vocational students designing, building and selling tiny homes.


Credit Benny Becker/ Ohio Valley ReSource
Tiny house built by students at Knott County Area Technology Center.

Also in this episode you’ll hear:

We had help producing Inside Appalachia this week from WMRA in Harrisonburg, Virginia, WMMT in Whitesburg, Kentucky, WKYU in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the Ohio Valley ReSource.
Music in today’s show was provided by Mike Hudson,  Dinosaur Burps, Andy Agnew Jr. and Ben Townsend.

Inside Appalachia is produced by Jessica Lilly and Roxy Todd. Our executive producer is Jesse Wright. Kara Lofton edited this episode. We’d love to hear from you. You can e-mail us at Find us on Twitter @InAppalachia or @JessicaYLilly.