About Jen's Work
Jen Osha (Jen-OH-sha) Buysse is currently is the Director and co-founder of the Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership School (Mtn SOL), a West Virginia environmental education non profit. The Mountain Stewardship and Outdoor Leadership School offers in-school programs through the Morgantown Learning Academy, after-school and summer programs for local students, and is now expanding to offer tuition free programs to at risk youth in low income communities. As part of a commitment to social justice, families are offered sliding scale tuition as well as scholarships. Mountain SOL is about connection – connection to self, connection to friends, to community and to a greater circle of life. Mountain SOL classes are hands-on and allow for unstructured time in the woods as well as experiences in stewardship and self-led exploration. More advanced skills include wilderness medicine, herbalism, de-escalation, and our own version of mountain sur-thrival.
Jen Osha received her B.A. in English with Honors from the University of Virginia, her Masters in Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and her PhD from the geography department at WVU where her research was focused on constructing a participatory map of Coal River Valley in Southern West Virginia, with an emphasis on visually demonstrating the social and environmental impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining. She organized and raised awareness about the impacts of MTR for over a decade alongside true heroes and environmental warriors. She produced the benefit CD 'Moving Mountains: Voices of Appalachia Rise Up Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining' from 2000-2003 as well as the second MTR benefit CD, 'Still Moving Mountains: The Journey Home' in 2009. She was also the project director for the multimedia website Journey Up Coal River, which won the E-Appalachia website of the year award. Jen Osha is currently working with a team of brilliant humans on a multi-faceted project bringing together five different non-profit organizations with the goal of mitigating the effects of trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and poverty in West Virginia. This project will provide environmental education, therapeutic and mental health techniques, personal empowerment, and stress reduction in the form of an expansive course covering community medical aid, healthy meal prep and food access, and mountain survival skills for the betterment of individuals and communities. She is blessed to live in the mountains of West Virginia with her family and four leggeds, working with loved ones to to build expanding circles for a healthy and happy Appalachia.