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Dr. Jones takes a hike – to the tallest peak east of the Mississippi
|Brewton-Parker College associate professor of chemistry Dr. Christopher Jones, his five-year-old son, Silas, and his eight-year-old nephew Justin Wilson (of China Grove, N.C.), pause for a photo on top of the summit of Mount Mitchell, which they climbed earlier this summer. Mount Mitchell, at 6,684 feet, is the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. Dr. Jones used the hike as an “educational time to share with the kids the great wonders of nature that God had placed on the mountain.” His hike will also enter the classroom discussions, said Dr. Jones. (Photo provided)
By Kelley M. Arnold
Director of News and Public Information
MOUNT VERNON—Brewton-Parker College’s associate professor of chemistry, Dr. Christopher Jones of Mount Vernon, hiked Mount Mitchell (N.C.), the tallest point east of the Mississippi River in June. For Dr. Jones, it was the finish line of a personal journey, one which he plans to use in the classroom.
Dr. Jones’ hiking companions to the 6,684 foot summit were also an unlikely pair – his five-year-old son, Silas, and 8-year-old nephew, Justin Wilson of China Grove, N.C.
It may be unusual for a youngster of five years to hike any mountain, but Silas counts Mount Mitchell as his seventh mountain, reports Dr. Jones.
“While there may be a few five year olds and possibly four years olds who have hiked this trail, I doubt there are that many,” adds Dr. Jones. Silas is a rising home schooled first grader.
Dr. Jones began training for this hike at the end of November.
“Being in fair shape was not going to be good enough,” said Dr. Jones of the 5.6-mile hike. “I did at least seven mountain hikes between November and June 23rd, and I have worked my way up to 10-mile runs and tackled a 100 km (Another Bloomin’ Bike Ride) and a 100 mile bike ride (Sweet Onion Century).”
Dr. Jones plans to use the information – and inspiration – he gathered along the trail in the classroom and laboratory.
“Over the course of the hike to the top of Mount Mitchell, the scientist in me could not help but use this as an educational time to share with the kids the great wonders of nature that God had placed on the mountain,” said Dr. Jones. “A few of the highlights were the many snails sitting atop logs and rocks, the wide variety of mosses, the large hardwood trees in areas never logged, and of course, the pull of gravity that you must overcome to get to the top. My students will hear about this hike in chemistry class as I discuss kinetic and potential energy, high elevation acid rain and atmospheric pressure. While many students like the personal connection to the topics covered in class, for me, it just makes teaching more fun when you can explain science behind what you simply remember as a great time enjoying God’s creation with family.”