OpenValley is a spatially defined project—roughly, the Genesee Valley watershed—whose name derives from one of several translations of the Seneca word rendered as “Genesee” or “Geneseo”: “beautiful valley,” “shining clear opening,” “pleasant open valley.” Its goal is to facilitate original research by undergraduates utilizing archival materials, local fieldwork, and digital tools. In revisiting local history a specifically bioregional perspective has been adopted; that is, what Peter Berg has called a process of active reinhabitation—and doing so “in an area that has been disrupted and injured through past exploitation.” In adopting this perspective we hope to avoid simple nostalgia and the uncritical celebration of local history, seeking instead to fabricate a past that can speak to contemporary environmental issues.

Thus far, work has grown out of Milne Library's Wadsworth Family Papers and from its 70-year collection of diaries written by a Springwater, NY farmer named Sheffield Peabody. Students have partnered with the Livingston County Historical Society Museum to create an ecology-themed exhibit, and with the John L. Wehle Art Gallery at Genesee Country Village for an exhibit upon angling—and specifically the fish culturist Seth Green. In fall of 2015 students began an experimental project that utilizes digital mapping applications for the purposes of bioregional history. During the 2018-19 academic year, OpenValley partnered with the New Deal Gallery in Mt. Morris to rephotograph its collection of more than 200 WPA easel paintings, research their painters, and consider the role of art during a time of environmental emergency--both the 1930s and our own times. In fall 2020 students worked with the town of Perry to support ambitious revitalization plans, initially focusing upon the now-defunct Perry Knitting Co. to understand the community's economic history and its legacies. During the 2023 academic year, two different groups of students returned to the area's agricultural history by way of materials from The Geneseo Migrant Center (GMC) created during its more than fifty-year existence--one group going back in time to understand earlier forms of hired labor, the other assessing the GMC's legacies from a contemporary perspective.

Little Italy, Retsof NYMilne Library Archives O-Neh-Da Winery, Coneseus Lake

As with any collaborative undertaking there are many people whose contributions are here gratefully recognized.

Students: Conrad Baker, Kristin Biela, Trevor Burke, Brendan Caputi, Jakob Dickerson, Zoraida Dooley, Corinne Enright, Kyle Freeman, Ashley Gibson, Nicole Hong, Theresa Johnson, Brendan Morse, Andrew Nauffts, Melissa Paravati, Isaac Park, Kyle Parnell, Victoria Salazar, Jacob Sikora, Katrina Suhr, Justine Talbot, Connor Valvo, Emily VanScooter, Samantha Vell, Kayla Vialva, Eric Wegman [Fall 2014]; Atheeqa Aijaz, Ashley Chamberlain, Amy Chan,  Noah Chauvin, Alyssa Cole, Alexis Donahue, Jessica Doyen, Marisa Drpich, Jennifer Faes, William Foley, Rebecca Gates, Devon Gawley, Samantha Grabher, Brodie Guinan, Jessica Lolakas, Michelle Nitto, Elyssa Slawinski, Haley Smith, Gregory Stewart, Courtney Yonce [Spring 2015]; Mary Auld, Noah Chauvin, Kristen Druse, Kevin Feeley, Jeremy Jackson, Danielle Kahn, Jordan Keane, Natalie Kelsey, Matthew Viglucci, Megan Wong [Fall 2015]; Atheeqa Aijaz, Kate Berdan, Anthony Bettina, Stephanie Carelli, Danielle Comerford, Gil Cruz, Carly Daniels, Sean Delles, Ariana DiPreta, Marisa Drpich, Ian Duffee, Christina Faubert, William Foley, Gabriella Garcia, Connor Hillman, Rebecca Leville, Shayna Nenni, Eva Pellegrino, Ben Ranalli, Jessica Rounding, Victoria Savallo, Kate Schulz, Caroline Seche, Valerie Sigl, Austin Stappenbeck, Clarissa Swain, Kelsey Teglash, Courtney Yonce [Spring 2016]; Justin Anderson, Jessica Apthorpe, Jay Bang, Kristopher Bangsil, Julia Caldwell, Sydney Cannioto, Sabrina Chan, Paige Closser, Victoria Domon, Elana Evenden, Yadelin Fernandez, Michael Griffin, Madison Jackson, Niamh McCrohan, Ben Michalak, Ricky Noel, Elizabeth Ramsay, Abigail Ritz, Skye Rose, Samantha Schmeer, John Serbalik, Marianna Sheedy, Emily Spina, Alison Stern, Griffin VanOstrand, and Nicholas Vanamee [Spring 2019]; Meghan Cobo, Michaelena Ferraro, Melisha Gatlin, Andrew Gleason, Macaire Lisicki, Ben Michalak, Ethan Pelletier, Emma Raupp, and Mariah Rockwell [Fall 2020]; Shannon Altman, Eve Angelo, Maris Breaton, Justin Colleran, Madison Dedrick, Brianna Donahue, Matthew Dunbar, Marisa Greaney, Abigail Henry, Nia Jones, Iris Kahris, Kaila Lattuca, Mar Leeman, Michaela Marino, Marie Naudus, Hanna Proaper, Kenzie Ruthven, Ethan Shaw, Jordyn Stiner, Nevaeh Tucker, Claire Wallace, Lanna Wandy, Audrey Williams [Spring 2023]; Cecilia Dignan, Cooper Fensterstock, Shannon Keenan, Natalie Kershner, Nikolete Michalkow, Fen Nielsen, Sawyer Wilson [Fall 2023].

Community Members: Aimee Alden (Livingston County Historian), Maureen Kingston (Avon Town Historan), Betty Knoblock, Anna Kowalchuk (Livingston County Historical Society Museum), Patricia Tice (John L. Wehle Gallery of Art). Deborah Bump, Mark Calicchia, Elizabeth Harris, Melissa Moody, Rebecca Lomuto, Rob Doggett (New Deal Gallery). Sandy Schneible, Joanne Barth, Lorraine Sturm, Jessica Pacciotti (Town of Perry). Julia Stewart-Bittle (Creative Artists Migrant Program Services). Cindy Amrhein and Sally Smith (Wyoming County Historian). Kirk House (Steuben County Historical Society). Patty Friend (Town of Brant Historian).

Academic and Staff Suport: Kirk Anne, Kate Berdan, Regina Carra, Joseph Easterley, Colleen Garrity, Corey Ha, Kristina Hannam, Leah Root, Sonya Bilocerkowycz, Paul Schacht.

Co-Facilitators: Elizabeth Argentieri (emerita), Ken Cooper (cooper@geneseo.edu). Please email us with any questions, corrections, or suggestions.