MPW.68 / 2016 Turtle Earth Family by Parker Michels-Boyce
Photographer
Parker Michels-Boyce Lynchburg, Va.
Team Chapnick

Story Summary

At the end of an old road that no longer has a sign, Colleen and Jamie Smith are raising their family in the same one-room schoolhouse that Colleen’s grandmother attended as a girl. In the 1960’s, Colleen’s grandfather acquired the old schoolhouse in southwestern Washington County at a community auction. The Smiths embrace a lifestyle that is closer to nature—growing much of their own food and limiting their impact on the environment. They focus their energy on nurturing the family relationships and have decided to homeschool their three daughters, aged three, six, and ten. Jamie works as potter in the tradition of the Wyandot Native American tribe, his ancestry, and works out of a studio attached to the schoolhouse. Colleen is an herbalist and operates a small shop called Turtle Earth Healing and Arts on Main Street in nearby Steelville, where she sells teas, dried herbs and Jamie’s pottery. The name Turtle Earth comes from the Wyandot creation story, which explains mankind’s relationship to nature and the balance between good and bad in the world.