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Historic Preservation Event Features Experts on Traditional Trades

Since the early 1900s, scientists have been using growth rings inside tree trunks to determine a tree’s age.

Today, modern-day scientists are using growth rings to determine the age of historic buildings.

One noted authority, Mick Worthington of the Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory in Baltimore, is bringing his expertise in the field of dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, to the campus of Edgecombe Community College.

Worthington is the keynote speaker at this year’s Historic Preservation Trades School on Saturday, April 26, on the Tarboro campus. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It will be an informative day,” says Monika Fleming, historic preservation program director at the college. “I think people will learn a lot about our program and get some insight on what can be done to preserve historic structures.”

This marks the fifth year for the event. Fleming says she’s expecting up to 100 participants.

In addition to Worthington, scheduled speakers include:

  • Jack Peet, Williamsburg, VA – masonry restoration
  • Mike Strickland, Knightdale – stained glass repair
  • Kevin Wilson, Tarboro – timber framing
  • Reid Thomas, Hassell – painting historic structures
  • Julie Thomas, Hassell – historic home furnishings
  • Joe Armstrong, Raleigh – slate and metal roofing
  • Daniel Chasse, Tarboro – woodworking repair and window repair

Sessions begin at 9 a.m. and rotate throughout the morning and again in the afternoon.

Participants also will have an opportunity to tour the college’s Norfleet House, a 200-year-old home that has been a working classroom on the Tarboro campus since it was moved there in 2009. For the past five years, historic craftsmen and students have been restoring the house.

In 2009, Edgecombe Community College began its historic preservation program, the first of its kind in North Carolina. It includes certificate, diploma, and degree programs.

“Now, there are about a half dozen similar programs at two-year schools,” Fleming says. “There are several others at four-year schools, but they’re not trades-based.”

Fleming believes the college’s unique Historic Preservation Trades School continues to thrive because preserving the past remains popular.

“We have so many historic buildings in North Carolina, and we want to help people save those structures.”

The fee for the Historic Preservation Trades School is $70, with an optional $10 box lunch available to those who pre-register. Participants will earn one continuing education credit.

For more information, contact Fleming at 823-5166, ext. 241, or