For his Our Common Nature project, Yo-Yo Ma, center with musician Kathy Mattea, performed as part of a community discussion in Nuttallburg, West Virginia. Photo by Matt Eich for The New York Times.

At New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia, “A hiker’s mouth dropped when she learned why a small group was forming at a rocky overlook here. ‘Yo-Yo Ma,’ she was told, ‘is going to do a pop-up concert,’ ” reports Joshua Barone in Friday’s (12/16) New York Times (login may be required). “The audience, so casually assembled, didn’t know that it was taking part in Ma’s latest project, Our Common Nature, an intentionally broad and searching initiative that explores ways in which we can heal, and enrich, our relationship with the world around us. It has taken him to the Grand Canyon and Acadia National Park, to the Great Smoky Mountains and Hawaii; as it expands beyond national parks, he hopes that it will also lead to Antarctica. And, for a few days in September, it brought him to the coal-rich Appalachians of West Virginia.”