MEDIA RELEASE – June 12, 2013. Road to Georgetown.

Bob Maher and Edward Wedler begin walking from Yarmouth NS to Georgetown PEI mid-September (over 500km) collecting and sharing stories about rural people, rural communities and rural life. It is in Georgetown, a small community located to the far east of Prince Edward Island, that people all over Atlantic Canada converge for three days in early October to “redefine rural” at the Georgetown Conference.

Back in early May, they organized a one-day event in Lawrencetown, Annapolis County, (Road to Georgetown Conference) where local storytellers came to share their experiences and ideas on their view of “redefining rural” — on topics that might change the way we work, live or play in rural Nova Scotia. How can underutilized kitchens in community, church and fire halls be transformed into small food business incubators, linking local farm producers and consumers? How did the search to answer the question “Why are honey bees dying?” result in a unique fully-organic beekeeping business? How do we harness our unique talents, such as creating harps, to build a creative self-sustaining economy? Can “Walk The Lobster” help revive our past glory in attracting tourists to Nova Scotia?

These stories, and more, struck a chord. Why not unearth, collect and share even more, with each other and with the world – stories that would inform us, motivate us and inspire us? And so was born the Storyteller’s Trek on the Road to Georgetown. Enroute, Maher and Wedler want others to share their rural stories and to think what “redefining rural” means to them. They will also take the opportunity to speak at community functions if asked. The route will start at Yarmouth, go through the Annapolis Valley, the Rawdon Hills, the Cobequids, to the ferry at Pictou, then on to Georgetown. Where possible they will follow a blend of trails supported by hiking groups and rural roads going through communities.

The inspiration for the walk is from those writers, philosophers, and activists who see practical (feets-on) appreciation of the cultural and natural landscape. Maher and Wedler will maintain a Road To Georgetown Trek Blog allowing others to follow the route, view daily stories of interest and even support the Trek.

They place no restriction on what people and communities share with them but they, admittedly, share a passion for geography and technology. And there are questions to be answered. How are technologies affecting life in rural areas? Through technology, how do we engage our “next generation” more meaningfully? How are we adopting and creating new participatory techniques in building vibrant rural communities? How are we building a culture of creativity and innovation? Can online maps become our new storytelling tool?

Bob Maher and Edward Wedler