Saturday, December 11, 2010

Geminid meteors on the way

CAPE CANAVERAL,Fla - Stay tuned for nature's coming attraction. Early next week, the Geminid meteor shower will make its annual appearance, just in time for Christmas. Astronomers consider it the best meteor shower of the year, with more than 100 meteors streaking through the night sky every hour.
The peak of the meteor shower will occur early Tuesday, between midnight and sunrise local time. The show will be best in the Northern Hemisphere, easily visible with the naked eye.
For those not willing to stay up late - or get up early - there should be a decent showing Monday once the sun sets. Actually, some meteors should be visible in the night sky from Sunday to Thursday, as long as the sky is clear, according to NASA.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bird watchers to count variety of species in Morgantown

On Dec 18, area families, students, birders and scientists - all armed with binoculars, bird guides and check-lists - will be out before dawn to count birds.
The Mountaineer Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC), held each year, is centered on the Morgantown Airport and, like all counts, is a circle with a diameter of 15 miles.
Both advanced and novice birders are welcome to participate. There is no charge. To register: 304-379-4492 or e-mail
The goal is to count all the birds within 7 1/2 miles of where the two runways intersect. The CBC circle is divided into areas, which are covered by teams. A team is usually out from dawn to dusk, with individual participants joining in for as much of the day as they choose. Again this year, LeJay Graffious is the coordinator and compiler and will set up teams based on the number of people interested in taking part. The count usually has a minimum of four teams covering the count area.
Owling is another phase of the count. In this section, birders listen for owls and other nocturnal calls or sightings.
Those with bird feeders can conduct "feeder counts" of the number of each species seen at their feeders on Dec 18, then call Graffious to report their totals Dec 19 and Dec 20.
To make certain every species is counted, any birds completely missed on count day can be footnoted as "seen during count week" if spotted within three days before or after Dec 18. Count Week for the Morgantown CBC is Dec 15-21.
The final tally report is sent to be included in the National Audubon Society's 111th Christmas Bird Count.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter bird walk set in Canaan Valley

The Refuge and Friends of the 500th will host a winter bird walk at 8am, Saturday at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Volunteer Casey Rucker will lead the walk. Those participating will meet at the refuge's office. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking boots. The walk is free.
There will also be a Christmas bird count Dec 18. Contact Ken Sturm at 304-866-3858 before that day to get assignments.

In case you have never heard of the Refuge and Friends of the 500th (I hadn't), you can reach their website at

Friday, December 3, 2010


December 5th - Winter Botany Walk
Join landscape architect and WVBG Executive Director George Longenecker for the last walk of the season at the West Virginia Botanic Garden! George will explain to us how to recognize the native and exotic trees, shrubs, and ground covers growing in the Garden by means of leaf scars, bud scales, bark characteristics and many other indicators left behind after the leaves fall. Learn with us this little known lore of the old growth forest at the West Virginia Botanic Garden! Bring magnifying glasses if have them, otherwise we'll share ours. all ages are welcome. Wear hiking footwear, preferably waterproof. Meet at the lower parking lot on Sunday, December 5, at 2:00pm. Walk is free and open to the public.
Contact Erin at for more information.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Money available for wetlands

West Virginia State Conservationist Kevin Wickey said money is available to restore, enhance, protect and manage habitat for migratory birds and other wetland-dependent wildlife through the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP). WREP is a voluntary conservation program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that works through partnership agreements with states, nongovernmental organizations and tribes.
All proposals for this funding are due Dec 15.
Send West Virginia proposals to: Kevin Wickey, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, West Virginia State Office, 1550 Earl Core Road Suite 200, Morgantown, WV 26505.
Priority will be given to proposals that:
* Have a high potential to achieve wetland restoration and significantly improve wildlife habitat.
* Significantly leverage nonfederal financial and technical resources and coordinate with other local, state, tribal or federal efforts.
* Demonstrate the partners' history of working cooperatively with landowners.
* Provide innovation in wetland protection, restoration, and enhancement methods and outcome-based performance measures and methods.
* Provide evidence that wetland restoration and enhancement activities will be completed within two years of easement closing.
* Provide for monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the restoration activities.
* Provide for matching financial or technical assistance funds to assist landowners with the implementation of the Wetlands Reserve Plan of Operations and associated contracts.
* Facilitate the submission of landowner applications.
* Provide for outreach to, and participation of, beginning farmers or ranchers, socially disadvantages farmers or ranchers, and limited-resource farmers or ranchers within the area covered by the agreement.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Forest officials seek feedback

With more than 800 miles of system trails, the Monongahela National Forest has plenty of opportunities for non-motorized recreation, whether on foot, skis, mountain bike or horseback.
Almost all the trails were originally developed with only foot traffic in mind, so many are not suitable for other uses. Maintaining such a large system is also a challenge, since some trails receive very heavy use and others receive almost no use.
In order to better understand how trails are being used, what types of uses are occurring, and to better prioritize future trail development and maintenance work, Monongahela National Forest recreation staff began working on a trails planning process several years ago. To gain public input the forest has partnered with WVU to develop an interactive website.
By visiting the website at, people can view current information regarding trails and provide comments regarding the management objectives for each trail. Interactive features allow visitors to fill out a survey for trails and view supplemental maps.
A pop-up screen is associated with each trail. This screen lists the current trail management objective. Because this information might not be accurate, visitors to the website are strongly encouraged to review the information for all trails of interest and submit a survey for each trail for which they can make recommendations.
A WVU graduate student is managing the website and collating data to share with the Forest Service. Site users may contact the student at if they experience problems with the website or survey.

Friday, November 12, 2010

DNR now accepting grant applications

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Resources Section is accepting applications for grants through its Wildlife Diversity Unit. Proposals must be submitted or postmarked on or before Nov 19.
The DNR grant program has two categories. One category supports research regarding the population status or natural history of a species, or understanding of the status of ecological communities. The second category funds projects that benefit nongame wildlife or botanical resources though education, conservation, species protection or habitat management.
The application booklet and materials can be found on the Wildlife Diversity website, Contact Patty Fordyce at 304-637-0245 or to receive the booklet or for into.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Appal-Asian Ginseng
Sunday, November 21 at 10:30 p.m.
Deeply embedded in the cultural traditions of Appalachia and prized around the world for its healing attributes, ginseng has gone from lowly folk remedy to cult-status treatment. In China, people will buy ginseng even if it means they will run out of money for food. This new documentary explores the unusual connection between West Virginia and Asia because of this mysterious root, and examines the effects that high demand, loss of habitat, and changing climate are having on its survival.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Tuesday, November 9, 2010 7:00pm, our speaker, John Jacobs, will discuss "Winter Birding for Beginners" and help lead us into the winter identification and Christmas Bird Count.

*Note a location change for the October and November meetings is now the Mon Arts Gallery. The address is 201 High St, between Pathfinder and Huntington Bank. Parking behind the bank. Anyone who would like to meet and socialize over dinner at the Mediterranean Deli on High St are welcome beginning at 5:45.

Those interested in participating in this year's annual Christmas Bird Count should contact LeJay Graffious 379-4492 or Everyone is welcome to join in this national birding tradition.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another Opportunity for Mountain Roots Seminar

For those who missed the opportunity to hear Mimi Hernandez when she spoke at WVU a couple of weeks ago, here is another opportunity.

Hello all,

The "Mountain Roots" seminar is being offered by the WVU Extension at several different sites throughout the state. Please tell your Master Naturalist contacts that we can offer 2 Hours of Elective Credit towards certification (or recertification) for attending this interesting talk. Log on to the WV Stewards website (see below) to get the information as to where and when.

Best Regards,
Jim Van Gundy, Chair

See flyer or go to

Friday, October 22, 2010


(Click here to view the GBBC eNewsletter - October 2010 online.)

Save the dates: the GBBC is coming!

The next Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) takes place Friday, February 18 through Monday, February 21, 2011. The National Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada, are already in the planning stages for the event and we'll be staying in touch over the next few months to help you prepare for the biggest, best count ever!

This past February's GBBC produced another record-breaking turnout. Participants turned in more than 97,300 checklists online, and identified more than 600 species. Read a summary of the 2010 GBBC.

You Might Also Like:

New 2011 GBBC video: Gives an overview of the event and detailed instructions on how to collect and enter data.

New 2011 PowerPoint: Use it to give presentations about the GBBC to bird clubs or other groups.

As much as we're interested in the birds, we're also interested in the people who watch them. So we did a survey of several thousand 2010 GBBC participants and thought you might be interested in what we learned about who takes part in the count, why, and what they get out of it.
GBBC Survey results

• Fifty-six percent of GBBC participants rated themselves as beginning to intermediate birders when it came to identifying birds by sight, with 44 % falling into the advanced to expert range. Eighty-seven percent ranked themselves as having beginner to intermediate skill in identifying bird species by sound.

• The most important reason given for participating in the GBBC was to contribute directly to the study of bird populations, followed closely by contributing directly to bird conservation efforts.

• Nearly 60% of participants reported that the most influential reason for becoming initially interested in birds was easy access to nature, wildlife, and bird feeders.

Increase Your Bird Knowledge with a Birds of North America Online Special Offer
If you want access to the most comprehensive information on all of the 700+ species of breeding birds in the U.S. and Canada, we have a deal for you. Great Backyard Bird Count participants are being offered a special one-year subscription rate of $34, a savings of nearly 20% from the regular price. To take advantage of this offer, simply:

1) Visit the the Cornell Lab of Ornithology E-Store
2) Select the one year BNA Online Subscription Option and click “Add to Cart”
3) At the “Cart” enter "GBBC" in the Promotion Code field. Click apply and you'll get the discount
4) Click “Proceed to Checkout”
5) A Subscription Code with account set-up instructions will be emailed to you

Get a preview: At the request of several organizations involved in the Gulf Oil Spill Response, Birds of North America Online is providing free access to more than 50 species at risk from the oil spill. Have a look. Check out the efforts of citizen science participants to track Gulf Coast birds using eBird and Audubon's ongoing restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

FeederWatching Time is Just Around the Corner

The 2010-11 season of Project FeederWatch begins November 13, though you can sign up at any time. FeederWatchers keep track of their birds through the winter and report their tallies each week. This helps scientists track changes in winter bird populations from year to year.

To learn more and to sign up, visit New participants receive a kit with a handbook, a bird-identification poster, calendar, and instruction booklet. There is a $15 fee ($12 for Lab members) to help cover the costs of materials and participant support. If you live in Canada, please visit our partner, Bird Studies Canada, or call (888) 448-2473.

Thank you for caring about the birds!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a nonprofit membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in conservation.

Bird Studies Canada ( administers regional, national, and international research and monitoring programs that advance the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of wild birds and their habitats. We are Canada's national body for bird conservation and science, and we are a non-governmental charitable organization.

National Audubon Society
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
Call: (212) 979-3000

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Call toll-free (800) 843-2473

Bird Studies Canada
Box 160
Port Rowan, ON N0E 1M0 Canada
Call: (888) 448-2473 or (519) 3531

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The West Virginia Botanic Garden is hosting a fall children's festival from 1-4 pm Saturday at the garden, 1061 Tyrone Road.
It is free and open to the public. Fairy houses will be built in the expanded Fairy Garden. Some of last year's fairy houses survived the heavy snows, and some did not, so the woodland sprites need some new houses.
For a donation of $5, pictures will be made of each child with his or her fairy house, courtesy of C. McDaniel and Co.
The Natural Leaders Program, under the direction of Erin Himmel, will feature several children ages 9-12 demonstrating their knowledge of select nature topics. Natural Leaders is supported by a grant from IMPACT E*A*R*T*H.
The Morgantown Fun Factory will be there, making leaf and flower fairies, nature wreathes, and pounded flower prints. Other crafts will include pumpkin painting, pinecone bird feeders, nature bingo and many others.
Refreshments will be available, and order forms will be available to purchase spring blooming bulbs.
Info: Ellen, or 304-282-5913.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Writer to discuss chestnut blight

Award-winning science writer Susan Freinkel will discuss the blight that brought to the American chestnut to the brink of extinction next week at WVU, home to scholars who have played key roles in the rescue and restoration of the tree.
She will present the seminar, "A Whole World Dying: The Early Fight to Save the American Chestnut" at 7pm Tuesday in 1001 Agricultural Sciences Building on WVU's Evansdale Campus. Freinkel's lecture is free to the public.
Freinkel will also be a guest at West Virginia's third annual Chestnut Festival, set for Sunday in Rowlesburg.
While researching sudden oak death for Discover magazine, Freinkel learned about chestnut blight, what she calls "the granddaddy of forest epidemics," and became caught up in the story. She spent nearly three years researching and writing "American Chestnut: The Life, Death and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree," the first book on a blight that reshaped the American landscape.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mimi Hernandez at WVU

Oct 21, 6-9, Rm 1001 AgSci, cost $5 at door. Join Mimi Hernandez, certified herbalist at the Appalachian Center for Ethnobotanical Studies, as she discusses lore, tradition and science behind Appalachia's native medicinal roots. RSVP 304-291-7201.


New River Gorge National River

Release date: Immediate
Contact(s): David Caldwell
Phone number: (304) 466-0417 x18

National Park Service Celebrates the First National Fossil Day!

National parks are home to some pretty intimidating species. There’s the saber-tooth cat, for example. The flesh-eating Allosaurus, with 5½-inch claws. And the hulking entelo-dont, a seven-foot-tall, boar-like scavenger and predator with a nasty nature and powerful jaws. If it sounds like bears (which, yes, can also be found in national parks) will be the least of a visitor’s worries, let it be known that the creatures named above exist only within the national parks’ wealth of fossils. At least 230 parks preserve fossils from throughout geologic time; billion-year-old stromatolites, 200 million-year-old dinosaurs, ice age mammals from thousands of years ago, as well as plant records all appear in national park fossils. To promote awareness and stewardship of fossils—the record of evolving life on a dynamic planet—and to foster greater appreciation of their value to scientists and educators, the National Park Service and the American Geological Institute will hold the first National Fossil Day on October 13, 2010, during Earth Science Week.
“Fossils deserve Americans’ attention and appreciation,” said National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, “and I am proud that the National Park Service has been one of the driving forces behind the establishment of National Fossil Day. Fossils provide clues to how living things respond to change and hold important lessons for us, here on our warming Earth. Fossils excite children and adults and draw them into the world of science. Everyone should come out and learn more about America’s paleontological heritage on October 13.”
Throughout the country, children and adults can participate in National Fossil Day events. These include the National Fossil Day Celebration at New River Gorge National River's Canyon Rim Visitor Center in Lansing, West Virginia between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Here people of all ages will explore the richness of this area's fossil record, along with the connection of the landscape's ancient plants to our modern times. Some can even earn a National Park Service Junior Ranger Paleontologist Badge through this hands-on program. Stop by Canyon Rim Visitor Center any time to explore Earth's history and the ways that this heritage is preserved.
To learn more about this and other special celebrations on October 13, please visit the National Fossil Day website at
The site lists National Fossil Day events by state, provides guidelines for the National Fossil Day 2010 Art Contest, and serves as a one-stop shop for teachers, students, and paleontology-lovers seeking activities and resources to help them pursue their interest further. The website also lists the many partners helping the National Park Service to organize National Fossil Day. These federal and state agencies, vocational groups, professional organizations, fossil sites, and museums include the National Science Foundation, the American Geological Institute, the Association for Women Geoscientists, and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
For more information about New River Gorge National River and this local event, visit or call 304-574-2115.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

GASLAND Movie Showings

GASLAND Movie Showings: No admission charges at any of the three locations below.

Sunday, October 3rd: Uniontown State Theater
37 East Main Street
Uniontown, PA.
Two showings: 1 pm and 3 pm.

Monday, October 11th: Ohio County Public Library
5 16th St
Wheeling, WV 26003.
(304) 232-0244.
One Showing: Noon.

Tuesday, October 12th: College of Law
WVU, off University Ave.
Morgantown, WV.
Time: 6:30 pm.
"Green Tables" for information distribution.

For Background Information See:


GasLands-- The Documentary. 1 hour and 43 minutes.

GasLand Exposes The Dangers Of Natural Gas Drilling Called Hydraulic Fracturing - The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.


NOTE: While not every detail reported in the movie is portrayed accurately, the issues covered and the information presented are much more than thought provoking and challenging. And, in my opinion, the alternative explanations that have been offered for some details also represent problems for our region, that is for the exploration, development, production and transmission of natural gas from the
Marcellus shale formation.

Duane G. Nichols, Co-Chair,
WV/PA Monongahela Area Watersheds Compact.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oct 7 Class at Percival Hall

Our Oct 7 class will be presented by Ann Anderson and will cover Amphibians and Reptiles. The class is being held in Room 308 Percival Hall on the Evansdale campus. The class will begin at 6:00. Parking next to and across from Percival Hall is free in the evenings. Look for area 46 on the link to Evansdale campus parking.
I think the easiest way to find Percival is come in at the traffic light below the Coiseum, across from the Arboretum. This road will lead past the CAC. Follow the main road as you pass the Engineering school and the old Evansdale greenhouse. Percival will be on your right. Room 308 is down a short hallway from the door off the parking area adjacent to the building. If you get lost ask anyone where the room with the animals is.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

All OAKS Workshop

From Melissa Brodsky of the Marion County Master Naturalists:

Hello All,

The Marion County Master Naturalists and WVU Extension Service bring you an all day, ALL OAKS workshop!

Learn to identify Oaks by their bark, leaf or acorn; What wildlife is attracted/supported by Oaks; Which mushrooms and pests are associated with Oaks; general info on Oak forest management; watch a demonstration of making a basket with Oak strips; Which Oaks are best for crafting; Make your own trivet from Oak; cook&taste Shiitake mushrooms; Inoculate your own Oak log with Shiitake mushroom to take home and grow yourself!; Optional Hike after workshop.

The Oak workshop will be Saturday, October 16, 2010 at Prickett's Fort State Park, in the education building in the LOWER parking lot from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ( additional time for optional Hike after workshop).

These classes will count as Elective or Continuing Education credits for Master Naturalist participants! Please keep track of classes attended and have your attendance slip signed by the instructor.

This workshop is Free to attend (donations accepted at door, $5 required to inoculate take-home Shiitake log) and is open to the public- invite your friends and family!

Several copies of "Macrofungi Associated with Oaks of Eastern North America" and "Field Guide to Native Oak Species of Eastern North America" will be raffled- winners must be present to win.

Oak Workshop: Importance of Oaks to Humans and Wildlife

Saturday, October 16, 2010- Prickett's Fort State Park 9:00 am - 5:00 pm ( plus optional Hike at days end)

8:30- 9:00 am Arrival/Registration

9:00 - 10:00 am Intro to Oaks -speaker invited

10:00- 11:00 am Wildlife Associated with Oaks - Sue Olcott, DNR Nongame Biologist

15 min break

11:15 am -12:00 pm Mushrooms Associated with Oaks - Denise Binion, USDA Forest Service

12:00 pm - 12:45 pm Pests Associated with Oaks - Dave McCann, Graduate Research Assistant

12:45 - 1:15 Lunch -BRING YOUR OWN

1:15- 2:15 pm Making Baskets from Oak strips - Al Miller, Master Craftsman (demonstration only)

2:15 - 3:15 pm Wood Crafting with Oaks (make take home craft- Trivet) - Sid Absher, amateur cabinet maker
Class open to all, Craft limited to the FIRST 15 to register. If you would like to make/take home your own Oak Trivet, you must register through MCMN coordinator, Melissa Brodsky at (304) 366-1420 or

15 min break

3:30 -5:00 pm Cook/Taste and How to Grow Shiitake Mushrooms -Paul Goland- Hardscrabble Enterprises and Dave McGill- WVU Extension
Class open to all, If would like to inoculate and take home your own shiitake Oak log the cost is $5 and you must register through the Extension Agent John Murray, Marion County Extension Office (304) 367-2772

5:15 - 6:15 pm Optional Walk in Woods- Dave McGill

Timber Management Topic of Hike

On Saturday, the Mon Group of the Sierra Club is sponsoring a hike through, and discussion of, the timber management areas at Cooper's Rock State Forest. This hike will be of moderate difficulty. Expect several hours of hiking. Sturdy hiking shoes are recommended, as well as adequate fluids.
Participants will gather at the parking lot close to the entrance of Coopers Rock State Forest near Exit 15 off Interstate 68. Info: Gwen Jones, or 304-599-5815; Sally Wilts,

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Volunteers sought for cleanup

Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC), in coordination with the seasonal Adopt-a-Highway and Adopt-a-Trail program will conduct its third litter cleanup this year along W.Va. 7, Deckers Creek and the Deckers Creek Rail-Trail, within the beautiful gorge, from 1-4pm Sunday.
FODC is asking all interested volunteers to meet at 1pm along W.Va. 7, about one mile past the Pioneer Rocks Tavern heading east out of Morgantown, or at the Mellons Chapel Parking lot. Food and drinks will be provided, along with all the necessary gloves, vests and bags.
Info, or for a ride: , or call 304-292-3970.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Coopers Rock Cliff Habitat Restoration Day

Volunteers are needed for this event! It is one of the largest volunteer events at Coopers Rock. Work will involve mulching, creating enclosures with downed wood, some trail work, building of erosion dams, and more. All ages and abilities are welcome! Restoration day will be from 11am to 4pm. Please e-mail Jan at for more information about volunteering.

(This item was found on the Things To Do Around Morgantown page (9/24) with no date listed. I am assuming it is for this Saturday.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge needs volunteers to help plant trees at 10am Saturday. Program begins with discussion, then planting. Bring water and snacks. Lunch will be provided. Info: 304-866-3858.

Fall Migration Bird Walk

Fall migration bird walk at 7am Saturday at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Dress for the weather. Bring binoculars, or borrow some from the center. Program last 2-3 hours. Free. Info: 304-866-3858.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Take a walk in Bruceton woods

The West Virginia Forest Stewardship Program is sponsoring a series of "Walks in the Woods" throughout the state. These informal tours are open two anyone who currently owns forest land, hopes to own property someday or just enjoys spending time outdoors.
The tours are led by state forestry personnel who are experts on the issues facing West Virginia's forests. There will be a Walk in the Woods near Bruceton Mills starting at 10am Saturday.
Bill Slagle will lead a tour of his Walnut Meadows Farm, where he has a 10-acre black walnut plantation and a two-acre paulownia plantation. He grows seven acres of ginseng and he raises shitake mushrooms. In addition to agroforestry, the Slagels created a nature trail on their property, and gather mosses and greenery for the floral industry.
To register for the tour or for information, contact Ellen Voss at 304-293-5741 or See for more details, or visit for a list of additional forest-related events.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Sunday, October 3rd
Hazel Ruby McQuain Waterfront Park

Sign up now! Team registration ends October 1st
12:30 pm mandatory pre-race meeting
1:00 pm race begins

1-4 PM Deckers Creek Adventure Race & Adventure Day Festival
3-5 PM Live music: Eric Goes to Germany
Race awards to follow on the stage


AMD Tie-Dyes Face Painting
Creek Critters
Environmental Education

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Volunteers needed for National Hunting & Fishing Days at Stonewall

Forwarded from Melissa Brodsky of the Marion County Master Naturalists:

Master Naturalists,

Can you please spread the word that the WV DNR needs volunteers at the annual National Hunting & Fishing Days at Stonewall Jackson Lake State Park on Saturday and Sunday September 25 and 26? Helpers could work the front gate and/or help with the children’s activities. If interested, please contact Jim Fregonara, 304-637-0245 or

Thank you so much,
Jim Fregonara
Wildlife Resources Section
Wildlife Diversity Program

For more information on the planned activities visit this link to the West Virginia DNR website.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Predation Workshop

Predation Management Workshop

Thursday, September 23, 2010
9:30-4:00 p.m.
Jackson County Fairgrounds

Sponsered by
West Virginia TWS
USDA APHIS Wildlife Services

Lunch and Transportation Provided
Bus will leave 7 a.m.
Interested contact
Ann Anderson by Sept. 10th

To view the original document, click here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

2010 Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Show

2010 Gem, Mineral, & Fossil Show hosted by and at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey
Dates: Sept 25-26
Place: WVGES, 1 Mont Chateau Road (Cheat Lake), Morgantown, WV
Info: Local and regional vendors make available a variety of interesting and educational materials and geologic wonders. Purchase rock samples, minerals, and Displays, geode cutting, and exciting shopping opportunities. Fun for all ages. Free admission and parking. The WVU Student Chapter of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) will be on hand with an informal display and free mineral samples. Children under 12 receive a free rock or fossil specimen when accompanied by an adult.

Further information:

Great Valley Water Resources Science Forum

Great Valley Water Resources Science Forum (karst and water issues)
Place: Shepherdstown, WV at the US Fish and Wildlife National Conservation Training Center
Dates: Sept 15 for canoe field trip and mapping
Sept 16-17 for conference
Register by Sept 1st.

Further information

Friday, August 27, 2010

Downtown WVU Campus

For those unfamiliar (or no longer familiar)with the downtown campus and are planning on attending the class on Sept 2 at the WVU Herbarium, use this link to give you a general overview of the buildings and parking lots on the downtown campus.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The following obituary appeared in the Elkins Inter-mountain:

Thomas J. Allen, 69, passed away Monday, Aug. 9, 2010, in Hope Hospice of Cape Coral, Florida.

Tom was born at Boston, Massachusetts, on Nov. 21, 1940, to John T. and Anita (Lampro) Allen, now deceased, and grew up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

He joined the Air Force in 1960, and served his tour of duty in Labrador. Upon discharge in 1964, he enrolled at the University of Maine, earning a bachelor's degree in entomology and a master's degree in wildlife management. For 32 years, he served as a wildlife research biologist for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources in Elkins and became an expert in radio telemetry. Tom's lifelong passion for Lepidoptera led him to research, write and publish two popular field guides on butterflies. In 2003, he retired and relocated to Cape Coral, Florida, but remained active with many endeavors, including working with Florida Fish and Wildlife on the burrowing owl study, teaching at Edison College and writing a regular column for Birds & Blooms magazine. Tom was a nationally recognized wildlife artist, a gifted photographer, an avid native plant gardener and beekeeper, and a fossil hunter and collector. He was a dedicated conservationist who loved to share his knowledge, speaking to diverse groups in many venues.

Tom is survived by his loving wife, Sandy; three daughters, Rebecca J. Allen of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Elizabeth J. (Glynn) Capell of Bluffton, South Carolina, and Jennifer L. (Kenneth) Collins of Pendleton, South Carolina.; a son, Thomas J. (Ellamae) Allen of Seattle, Washington; a stepdaughter, Erin E. Guyer of Atlanta, Georgia; 10 grandchildren; two brothers, twin James E. (Ann) of N. Attleboro, Massachusetts, and Steve of Carmel, Maine; a sister, Nancy L. of West Bend, Wisconsin; and a nephew and several nieces.

A memorial service was conducted earlier this month in the chapel of Coral Ridge Funeral Home, 1630 S.W. Pine Island Road, Cape Coral, Florida. Interment was scheduled to be held in Pinelawn Memorial Park, Southern Pines, North Carolina.

Contributions in Tom's memory may be made to Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, P.O. Box 152761, Cape Coral, Florida 33915 or to Hope Hospice of Cape Coral.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sierra Club sponsors Otter Creek hike

The Sierra Club will lead a hike Saturday into the Otter Creek Wilderness. This easy, 5-mile hike is along an old railroad-grade trail. Hikers will follow the seven principles of "Leave No Trace" outdoor ethics. Lunch will be at a swimming hole, with the return trip on the same trail.
Info: Ann Devine-King, 304-594-2636, or

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

FODC to discuss acid remediation benefits

The economic benefits of remediating acid mine drainage in the Deckers Creek watershed will be discussed at a Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC) out-reach meeting set for 6:30pm Thursday, in WVU's Percival Hall, Room 308, Evansdale Compus. The speak is Evan Hansen, environmental consultant and former FODC board president. Refeshments will be provided.
This weekend, FODC staff and Youth Advisory Board (YAB) members are teaming up with community volunteers to paint a watershed-inspired mural, "We All Live Downstream" under University Avenue, along the Deckers Creek Rail Trail.
The wall will be prepared early this week and painted Saturday and Sunday. Volunteers are needed to help paint this 15-foot by 90-foot community mural with mountains, streams, wildlife and watershed facts.
To volunteer: Mary Luckini, or 304-292-3970.
This project will be partially funded through a local State Farm grant to support FODC YAB community service-learning projects.
Registration is under way online for the 4th annual Deckers Creek Adventure Day, set for Oct 3 at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park in downtown Morgantown. Those registering through Sept 10 will pay a $90-per-team registration fee. Those registering from Sept 10-Oct 1 pay a $120 per-team fee.
Info, to register:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sierra Club sets Coopers rock cleanup

As part of the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Adopt-a-Trail Program, the West Virginia Sierra Club has adopted the Intermediate Ski Loop Trail at Coopers Rock State Forest, and has scheduled a train maintenance day from 9-11 am Saturday, Aug 14.
Adam Polenski, dedicated Coopers Rock volunteer and experienced trail maintainer, will guide volunteers working on drainage issues. This moderate intensity work will involve the use of shovels and clearing out clogging vegetation.
Volunteers should wear sturdy boots, and carry work gloves, water and snacks. Adults and adolescents are invited. Those under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Volunteers will be required to sign a standard Sierra Club liability waiver and a DNR volunteer work program agreement.
Info or register: Ann Devine-King, 304-594-2636, or

Saturday, August 7, 2010

GPS course planned in Deep Creek

McHENRY, Md. - A course titled "Where in the World Am I? Introduction to GPS" will be from 9am - noon, Aug 28 at the Deep Creek Lake Discovery Center. The cost is $25 per student; $15 for senior citizens.
This course will teach the basics of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology using a combination of classroom discussion, activities and field exercises in the park. Topics include: How GPS works, how to determine your position using GPS, how to mark waypoints, and how to navigate in unfamiliar territory.
The course will be held rain or shine. Bring your own unit or borrow one of the GPS units available from the Discover Center. Register early to reserve one of these.
Info: Maney Gale, 301-387-3086 or
To register: 301-387-3069. The class is being offered in partnership with The Continuing Education and Workforce Development division of Garrett College.

Friday, August 6, 2010

butterfly net

hello looking for 2 butterfly nets. If you have one to sell or know where to buy or see one for sale buy it and bring it to the next master naturalist class I need one or two for catching the white moths in my garden.
or email me at or FB me. thanks

Thursday, August 5, 2010

NOTICE: Insect class for Aug 7 canceled

Hello all,

I just learned about an hour ago that Emily Grafton will NOT be able to do the Insect presentation on Saturday. She is ill and not recovering well enough to feel up to the task. I am sorry, but it is too late to get a satisfactory substitute.

We will have the walk on the 19th at Reedsville and I will work on coming up with something on insects this year.

Sorry for the late notice, but Saturday is supposed to be a nice day so enjoy the free time.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Friends of Deckers Creek to meet Aug 19

Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC) will have an outreach meeting with Evan Hansen, environmental consultant and former FODC board president, talking about the economic benefits of remediating acid mine drainage in the Deckers Creek watershed.
It will be at 6:30pm Aug 19, in Room 308, Percival Hall, WVU Evansdale Campus. Snacks and beverages will be provided.
FODC will hold a litter cleanup in Deckers Creek gorge from noon-3pm Aug 15. Volunteers are needed. Volunteers are to meet at 11:30am at the FODC office in Sabraton or look for folks along W.Va. 7 starting at Pioneer Rocks, at Tyrone Road.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dunkard forum open to public

A forum on the Dunkard Creek fish kill and other water quality issues scheduled for Wednesday by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at WVU is open to the public.
The forum runs from 6:30-8 pm in OLLI classroom A in the Mountaineer Mall, Green Bag Road. Forum leaders are Barry Pallay, Frank Jernejcic and Wallace Venable.
This class will provide an opportunity to learn more about the total dissolved solids problem and methods of mitigation.
Pallay is a chemical engineer and vice-president of the Upper Monongahela River Association. Jernejcic works with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Venable is a mechanical engineer and technical coordinator of UMRA.
Members of the public who plan to attend should e-mail Don Strimbeck at Info on OLLI:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Volunteers needed for Coopers Rock workdays

The Coopers Rock Foundation will host volunteer trailwork sessions at Coopers Rock State Forest on Saturday and Sunday. Volunteer trailworkers will have the opportunity to work up to 13.1 hours during the weekend. All trail users are welcome to volunteer.
Scheduled work hours are from 9am -6pm Saturday and from 1 -5:15pm Sunday.
Tools and work gloves will be provided; boots are encouraged, and sandals are prohibited for safety reasons. Bring your own tools if you would like.
The meeting place at the start of each day will be the Roadside Trail Kiosk in the day-use parking lot, near the restrooms. Latecomers should go to the kiosk for a map and directions.
Trails to be worked on include Roadside Trail, the Connector Trail, between the Intermediate Loop and the Reservoir Area, the Rhodendron Trail and more, depending on the number of volunteers.
Info: Adam Polinksi, 304.296.4977;

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Arthurdale resident hosts butterfly count

Jaime Dixon, of Arthurdale, is hosting the 3rd annual Arthurdale Butterfly Count on Saturday. She is one of hundreds of volunteers who have organized and hosted a butterfly count to gather data for the North American Butterfly Association's annual Fourth of July Butterfly Count.
During this one day census, volunteers collect data about the numbers and different species of butterflies seen within a 15-mile count circle. Volunteers are needed to help count butterflies. Volunteers will visit several different habitats, including fields, wooded areas and roadside wildflower groupings that attract butterflies.
Info and to volunteer: Jaime Dixon,
The North American Butterfly Association (NABA) said scientists have found that butterflies can serve as an important indicator of the health of ecosystems. The NABA Butterfly Count has been held annually since 1975, when only 29 counts were conducted. In 2009, there were 463 counts in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Info on NABA:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Master Naturalist Conference, June 11-13, 2010.

The Mon group was well-represented at the first annual state-wide Master Naturalist Conference held in Elkins on June 11-13. Patricia Bunner, Dale Patton, Brad Field, Dave Ahrend and Ellie, Rob Vagnetti, John Bogan, Carolyn Nix, Randy (sorry I don't have last name), Ellen Hrabovsky and I attended. Free classes were offered were Astronomy, Appalachian Geologic Natural History, GIS/GPS, WV Wetlands, and Stream Animal Ecology. The classes and socials were well organized and just plain fun. It was great to meet like-minded folks from across the state. I recommend the 2011 event to everyone.


Occasionally at the mushroom sorting tables of a foray I attend, I overhear someone say that they do not want to pick up any amanitas because there is no place to wash their hands. I have heard such expressions of fear from being poisoned at other times. Also, when I take a taste of a russula for ID purposes without explaining what I am doing, there are usually a few looks of horror from any onlookers who are present. Given our Anglo-saxon, mycophobic heritage in this country, I suppose it is natural for people to have such reactions, but some common sense based on a solid foundation of some chemical facts may help dispel some of the fear concerning poisonous mushrooms.

First of all we should consider the amount of toxin present in the mushroom and then its relative potency. Few substances in the natural world are so toxic and present in such high concentration (and these the layman is quite unlikely to encounter) that one need worry about getting it on your hands or even tasting a smidgeon. Incidentally, when I taste a mushroom, I literally do just that, not swallow it. Mushroom toxins work by being adsorbed through the intestinal tract, not through the skin. Then the toxins need to be transported to places like the liver or the central nervous system to hurt you. If you have just picked a few Amanita virosa for the sorting tables, you needn't worry about sitting down and eating a sandwich with your bare fingers because the lethal amanitin toxins are simply not present in that great of a concentration in the fungal tissue.

It is commonly accepted that A. phalloides is one our most toxic mushroom. It has been found that the lethal amanitins are present in only 3-5 parts per thousand and indeed, some specimens of A virosa and A. verna have no detectable levels. In other words one ounce of fresh death angel might have less than a fifth of a gram of toxin, an amount meaningless unless we know something about how potent the toxin is. Relative toxicity is often expressed as an estimation of the least amount of poison that would cause death, or the minimum lethal dose (MLD). A better method is to express the dose in a statistical way to minimize the fact that individual people will vary in their susceptibility to a poison. Such an expression is calculated on how much toxin would be needed to kill half of the people, if each person ate the same amount, each weighed the same, and none had any predisposing illnesses. That amount per person would be called the lethal dose 50 % or LD50. Expressed in weight of toxin per weight of individual ingesting the toxin, the LD50 for amanitoxins comes out to be in the neighborhood of about one 2 ounce mushroom for a 150 pound man (LD50 = O.1 mg/kg). It would take 10 small Galerina autumnalis to equal this same dose. In other words, if you ate this much of one of these two mushrooms, you would have a 50-50 chance of succumbing. Much less would be needed of course to make you violently sick, but this would still be appreciably more than what trace amounts might stick to your fingers when handling A. phalloides.

Even so, I do not recommend tasting such species although I wouldn't hesitate to do so (BUT underline that word "taste"). IN SUMMARY: By all means exercise care in identifying, eating, and handling various mushrooms, but at the same time, use some common sense to avoid unwarranted fear of them. Simple handling of even the most toxic mushrooms won't hurt you.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ranger Activities July 2010

David Caldwell has sent out information about the July 2010 Ranger Activities in the New River Gorge National River National Park Service. The program allows you to join a park ranger for a special activity, walk, or hike. Ranger-led activities provide an opportunity to learn more about the natural world that surrounds us and about the peoples who have shaped our past.

Click here for a copy of July's scheduled activities.

Visit New River Gorge National River website at

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Save Our Streams training set for Friday in Albright

Friends of the Cheat will host a Save our Streams training event starting at 10am Friday at the Cheat River Festival Site in Albright.
West Virginia Save our Streams Coordinator Tim Craddock will lead a hands-on workshop teaching techniques used to complete a stream bio-assessment. The bio-assessment consists of three basic elements: water quality analysis, physical characterizations, and an assessment of the benthic macroinvertebrate community.
Benthic macroinvertebrates are the small, but visible, invertebrates that live on the bottom of streams. A majority of the day will be spent collecting and identifying benthic macroinvertebrates.
Macros provide food for fish and other important freshwater dwellers. The quantity and types of macros found help determine the health of a stream. Two very different streams will be examined during the training: A stream polluted with acid mine drainage, Muddy Creek at its mouth, and a healthy stream, the Muddy Creek headwaters.
Anyone interested in participating should RSVP to: Andrew Miller, 304-329-3621 or

Thursday, June 17, 2010

FODC holds greenspace work day along rail-trail

A Greenspace Work Day will be from 11am - 2pm Saturday along the Deckers Creek Trail and at the Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC) Outdoor Learning Park. Master Gardeners and local seniors will plant a display board and planters along the section near the FODC Outdoor Learning Park. Meet at 11am behind Med-Express in Sabraton.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Preservation of the Cheat Three Tooth Snail

NOTICE: The program entitled "The Preservation of the Cheat Three Tooth Snail in the Cheat Canyon" will take place on Monday, June 28th at 10:30 am. This will be held in Room 320 of Percival Hall, Evansdale Campus of West Virginia University. Presentations by the Cheat Lake Environment & Recreation Association (CLEAR) and by the Copperhead Consulting Group will be made. Representatives of the current
owner of Cheat Canyon forest lands will be present to answer questions, i.e. the Allegheny Forestlands, LLC

NOTE: This meeting represents an update and report of the activities under Consent Agreement 1:05-CV-61 FPS, US District Court, Northern District of West Virginia, of February 5, 2007. This agreement involved Plaintiffs CLEAR, the Friends of Blackwater, and the WV Chapter of the Sierra Club. The original Defendant was Allegheny Wood Products, Inc. who sold their forest land interests in the Cheat Canyon on March 27, 2009. The Copperhead Consulting group has completed the delineation of actual and potential habitat for the Cheat three-tooth snail in Areas 1, 2 and 3 on the north side (river-right) and recently for Area 4 on the south side (river-left). Logging was completed by Allegheny Wood Products last year for the north side and no logging is currently planned for the southside. A northern segment of the Allegheny Trail passes thru the north Areas 1, 2, and 3, but is closed to the public.

Duane Nichols, CLEAR.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Save Our Streams training in Kingwood, WV

Friends of the Cheat will be hosting a Save Our Streams training course
in Kingwood, WV at 9:00 AM. West Virginia Save Our Streams is a
volunteer monitoring program that trains citizen scientists, how to
monitor and become watchdogs over their local wadeable streams and
rivers. The program uses a bioassessment approach, which involves the
collection and assessment of the benthic macroinvertebrates (visible
bottom-dwelling invertebrates) and an evaluation of the stream or
river’s basic physiochemical conditions.

The workshop will begin at the Friends of the Cheat at 9:00. The Friends
of the Cheat office is located at 119 South Price Street, Kingwood, WV
(see below for direction from Morgantown). The class will last
approximately six hours. The 2nd part of the class will be a hands on
demonstration in a creek, so dress appropriately. Boot or waders are
recommended. Lunch is not provided, so a bag lunch may be necessary.

directions from Morgantown:

If you're traveling from Morgantown simply follow Route 7 East until you
enter Kingwood. At the first stop light in town (by the County Court
House, not the Walmart stoplight) take a right onto Price Street. Our
office is located above the Dominion Post Office (look for large DP sign
on your left). You can park in the metered spaces on Price Street, or
take your first left onto Court Street after turning onto Price Street
and park in the gravel lot behind the building.

Andrew Miller
OSM/VISTA - Friends of the Cheat | 304.329.3621

Field Tours to Private Forests Around the State

The following information is from Ellen Voss. Ellen is with the WVU Forestry Extension. Every summer and fall they organize field tours to visit private forests around the state. The purpose of the tours is to educate people about forest stewardship. They are getting this year’s tours together and are trying to reach out to people like Master Naturalists and Master Gardeners.

Ellen Voss
Outreach & Education Coordinator
WV Forest Stewardship Program
P.O. Box 6125, Morgantown, WV 26506
(304) 293-5741

Walks in the Woods 2010

These informal tours will allow participants to learn about forest stewardship by seeing how other landowners have managed their forests. All the events are free and open to anyone who is interested in learning more about forests. Refreshments will be served. For more information or to register for any of the tours, contact Ellen Voss at 304-293-5741 or email

Taylor County Tour: Thursday, July 8 at 6 pm
WV Forest Stewardship Program
Forest Stewardship property tour near McGee in Taylor County, WV. Light refreshments served beforehand at 5:45 pm.

Nathan Kincaid was the 2007 Tree Farmer of the Year. He will lead us on a tour of his 436-acre property, where he's had a Forest Stewardship plan since 2002. When he purchased the property, it had been heavily logged and Nathan’s goal was to rehabilitate it. He first removed cull trees and grapevines as well as tree-of-heaven, a highly invasive tree species. He's now working on reforesting his property with oak, walnut, and cherry, using a very efficient tree planting technique that he designed himself. Nathan has also constructed some roads. We'll see many good examples of replanting and forest regeneration.

For more information or to register, contact Ellen Voss at 304-293-5741 or email

Pendleton County Tour: August 21 at 10 am
Forest Stewardship property tour near Franklin in Pendleton County, WV on Saturday, August 21 at 10 am. A light lunch will be served after the tour.

Charles Agle will lead us on a tour of his 355-acre property, which is under a conservation easement and which has a sustainable forest management plan. Charles has planted wildlife food plots with native bluegrass and has done a mast tree release. He has worked to reintroduce American chestnut on his property by planting the blight-resistant variety grown by the state tree nursery. Agroforestry is also one his interests and he is beginning to raise shitake mushrooms. Charles is passionate about finding ways to make forest land profitable while continuing to protect and enhance it.

For more information or to register, contact Ellen Voss at 304-293-5741 or

Hardy County Tour: September 11 at 10 am
Forest Stewardship property tour near Moorefield in Hardy County, WV on Saturday, September 11 at 10 am. A light lunch will be served after the tour.

Lee (Buck) Barb will lead us on a tour of his maple syrup operation, where he taps 4,000 trees with a vacuum system to maintain consistent sap production. Buck uses the reverse osmosis process instead of boiling the sap down, which reduces his fuel costs by over 70 percent. Buck is very knowledgeable about the history and lore of maple syrup production in this area as well as the newest technologies that can help producers maintain a viable maple syrup operation.

For more information or to register, contact Ellen Voss at 304-293-5741 or

Marion County Tour: October 2 at 10 am
Forest Stewardship property tour near Fairmont in Marion County, WV on Saturday, October 2 at 10 am. A light lunch will be served at 12:30 pm. Afternoon tour at 1:30 pm.

State Landowner Assistance Forester Juergen Wildman will lead workshop participants on tours of his own property and an adjacent property. Juergen has planted many hardwoods and conifers on his land, and will demonstrate planting techniques using two types of tree shelters. He has also experimented with various techniques to eradicate highly invasive plants such as oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose, and will share his trials and tribulations so we can learn from his experiences. Juergen will cover many other topics including his ginseng crops, the correct way to thin red maples, and the effects of heavy deer grazing on forest regeneration.

Jim & Dot Ice's property, which we'll visit in the afternoon, is the oldest Tree Farm property in West Virginia: it was signed up in 1956 and nominated for national Tree Farm of the Year. We'll see an area that has been high-graded in the past and the forest stand that has resulted, which is dominated by beech, maple, gum, and other low-value trees. We'll see examples of what makes a good road system through a forested property, and visit an interesting old family cemetery on the Ice’s property.

For more information or to register, contact Ellen Voss at 304-293-5741 or

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sixth Annual Purple Martin Festival

10am - 4pm June 26. There will be talks on purple martins. The two houses and gourd rack will be lowered and nest changing to help prevent parasites. You can see the baby birds in different stages of development. Birds will be banded to follow their migration. Last year the park fledged 152 babies. Food is available. Admission is free and the park will give away door prizes. Take I-79 to Exit 1 Mt Morris, Pa., to Buckeye Road to Creek Road on right 1/2 mile to Mason-Dixon Park, Pa. Info: 304-879-5500 or 724-627-7632 or, or

Sierra Club hosts ice cream social at Cooper's Rock

The Sierra Club will have its annual ice cream social at 6:30pm today at Cooper's Rock State Forest in Shelter 1. This is a family friendly social gathering where the club shares food and stories, and makes hand-cranked ice cream to eat at the overlook. Bring some food to share with the group. Plates, cuts and utensils will be provided.
Evan Hansen of Downstream Strategies will speak about where coal combustion waste is being dumped in the area and how this places water at risk of contamination. The group will then generate some comment letters to the EPA about its proposed coal ash regulation guidelines. Info: 304-594-3322

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I asked George Longenecker about the upcoming workday at the WV Botanic Garden:

June 19th work day: I would like to do some pruning along the trail around the reservoir basin. There are many places that things are obstructing the trail. Most can be done with hand saws and loppers. There may also be some planting to do if we have a large enough group.

So come out and earn some volunteer hours. Workdays are held the third Saturday of the month and starting at 9:00 and ending around noon. Wear suitable clothing and shoes. Don't forget your gloves. Tools are provided, but if you have your own tools, bring them along. Also a good idea to bring water. I won't lie to you, you do work. But I guarantee coming back to the Garden and seeing what you accomplished will give you a sense of pride. Plus you have a good time.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Trail Clearing @ Cranesville Swamp June 11

In preparation for the Nature Conservancy's 50th anniversary celebration at Cranesville Swamp on June 26th come have some fun and earn some volunteer hours helping to clear trails.

When: June 11 from noon to 4:00
Where: Cranesville Swamp

For more information and to sign up contact: Mike Powell, land steward, or

For directins to Cranesville Swamp:

Monday, May 31, 2010

OLLI Upcoming Summer Schedule

Adolia Emerson writes:
I received the OLLI schedule today and there are several classes that would work with MN. Fungus among us with Bob Burrell, WV Birds of Prey with Katie Fallon and a few more. check it out at

Some of the titles that sound applicable to Master Naturalists include:

Gardening for B’s: Butterflies, Birds, and Bees
There’s a Fungus Among Us
West Virginia Birds of Prey
Dragons and Damsels in the Mountain State
Introduction to Geocaching
Appalachian Home Remedies
Overpopulation, Mass Extinction, and Global Warming
Living Greener and Cheaper
From Sun to Sequestration: Our Energy Past and Energy Future
The Dunkard Creek Fish Kill and the Future of Our Streams and Drinking Water
West Virginia Birds of Prey

OLLI's membership it open to anyone ages 50 and above to continue learning through classes, lectures and trips. Clicking on the link above will take you to their website where you can find more information about OLLI, their schedule and a membership form.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Coopers Rock group seeks board members

The Coopers Rock Foundation is seeking individuals who would like to serve on its board of directors. The mission of the foundation is to protect and preserve Coopers Rock State Forest and Snake Hill Wildlife Management area.
This is an exciting time of change at Coopers Rock State Forest, with a new superintendent who is interested in working closely with the foundation. If interested, contact Alan Collins at 304-685-0906 or A potluck dinner is planned for Thursday at the overlook to welcome new and existing board members.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Jim Fregonara, WVDNR Wildlife Resources Section, Wildlife Diversity, sent out information to the County Coordinators about the first statewide Master Naturalist Conference to be held the weekend of June 11-13 in Elkins.

The West Virginia Master Naturalists program is about to have its FIRST statewide MN conference! The conference is open to all MN participants and is FREE of charge! ( accepting meals and lodging which are reasonably priced)
"This is the first, and hopefully annual, WV Master Naturalists gathering of all members throughout the state. Members can earn unique elective credit hours while meeting other students from throughout the state and have a great time."
"We’ve worked out an agreement with Davis & Elkins College. Fees are $45 for a single per night or $50 for a double, plus tax to stay at the Byrd Conference Center which includes a continental breakfast. Meals are reasonably price in the cafeteria and box lunches can be provided for the field trips. All meals, except for the continental breakfast at Byrd Conference Center, will be served in the campus cafeteria. You must make your own lodging reservations (304-637-1600). Tell the clerk you are with the WV Master Naturalists. You MUST register by May 28."

West Virginia Master Naturalist Weekend Conference

When: Friday, June 11 through Sunday, June 13, 2010
Where: Davis & Elkins College, Elkins, WV

No registration fee! Free electives!

Two evening socials (Friday and Saturday (with the Falling Branch String Band))

Weekend Schedule at a glance:
(see attached schedule and course descriptions for more information)

Fri: Evening Astronomy lecture and planetarium show

Saturday: Choice of four all day field classes:
1 Stream Animal Ecology
2 GIS and GPS
3 Appalachian Geologic Natural History
4 WV Wetlands

Sunday: Statewide Master Naturalist Meeting
(agenda to be determined during the weekend)

Master Naturalist Conference WVDNR & Davis and Elkins College Course Descriptions

WV Master Naturalist Weekend Conference Registration

Monday, May 17, 2010

Master Naturalist Update

Greetings all!

This week is a busy one. Thursday we meet at the WVU Extension office as usual. Emily Grafton will be showing us how to improve our places for wildlife.

Then Saturday May 22 we go the the Cranesville swamp under the guidance of Lejay Grafious. This excursion will combine birds, trees and wetlands. We will meet at 9:00 am at the parking area to the south side of Exit 23 off I 68 (Bruceton Mills), Lejay will lead us to the Swamp. Carpoolif you can and we can double up once we meet. Parking space is not abundant at Cranesville. We will go rain or shine so come prepared for the weather and bring a lunch and drink. Bring binoculars if you have them, your hand lens and camera if desired. I will have some handbooks for our use.

This will be a fun day in a unique place!


Friday, May 14, 2010

WVBG pruning workshop- sign up now!

Hi folks,

This is a reminder that the pruning workshop led by WV Botanic Garden Executive Director and Landscape Architect extraordinaire George Longenecker will take place next Saturday, May 22. The workshop will take place at a private residence in the Suncrest area from 9am till noon. Learn how to prune your plants and shrubs for maximum health and appearance. Use of pruning tools and methods will be covered. Cost is $8 for WVBG members and $10 for non members to be paid at the workshop. To register, contact Erin Himmel at or 304-594-0153 ASAP.

Take the Funky Nests Challenge!

Melisa Brodsky of the Marion County Master Naturalists
sent the following information:

Celebrate Urban Birds

May 14, 2010

Photo by Boyd Jensen, California

Dear Birding Friend,

The "Funky Nests in Funky Places" environmental challenge is back! We received more than 600 entries to this Celebrate Urban Birds contest last year showing nests in hanging flower baskets, an old boot, a teacup, a coffee can--even on top of a clothespin, where a hummingbird built its tiny nest. See the 2009 entries.

If you're not familiar with Celebrate Urban Birds, it's a citizen-science project from the Cornell Lab of Ornthology that collects information about birds in cities and how they make use of available "green spaces." It also gets more people interested in birds and nature through community events centered around the arts, gardening, and science.

For the 2010 Funky Nests in Funky Places challenge, you may take photos, do a painting, write a story, or shoot a video showing a bird’s nest built in some out-of-the-way or out-of-this-world place.

Photo by Jacquie Tinker, New York

We've had such fun with this challenge! The theme really struck a chord with people last year. You wouldn't believe how many showed us bird nests in barbecue grills, bathrooms, garden tools, and signs. We even had Tree Swallows nesting in a cannon!

Prizes you could win this year include Kaytee bird feeders and seed, sound CDs, books, posters, nest boxes, and more. If you're one of the first 50 entrants, you'll receive a copy of the "Doves and Pigeons" poster by Julie Zickefoose. Selected images and videos will be posted on the Celebrate Urban Birds website. We'll also be creating a 2011 calendar using some of the best entries.

Email your entry to

1. Write "Funky Nests_Your First and Last Name_ Your City and State" in the subject line.
2. In the email, you MUST include your name, mailing address, and location where photos were taken.
3. Tell us why you submitted your entry to the Funky Nests in Funky Places contest.
4. Choose your best/favorite entry and send just that one, please!
5. Read the terms of agreement
6. Be careful around nesting birds. Read more about how to find nests and what to do once you know where birds are nesting.
7. If you agree to the terms above, send us your entry before July 1, 2010.

Visit the Celebrate Urban Birds website for more information. Hey, show us your funky nest!


Karen Purcell, project leader
Celebrate Urban Birds

The 2010 Funky Nests in Funky Places challenge is sponsored in part by Kaytee.


The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s web site at

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd, Ithaca NY 14850
Call toll-free (800) 843-BIRD (2473)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Southern Boreal Birding Festival at Canaan Valley Resort State Park

The Southern Boreal Birding Festival at Canaan Valley Resort State Park will be held June 4th - 6th. Canaan Valley and its surroundings is the ideal habitat for many species of birds found further north in the North American continent. Some birds to be seen are the Blackburnian Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, Alder Flycatcher & Bobolink to name a few. Last year we found Brewster’s Warbler, a hybrid of Blue- Winged and Golden-Winged Warblers. It’s a very rare bird that most of our participants have not seen.
For more information including the event flyer, registration form and bird list, click on the link to their website:

The first 50 people to register for the event will receive a free hat!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nature Leadership Training School Opportunity in Terra Alta WV

Hi Everyone! Check out this incredible opportunity for Master Naturalist students, courtesy of Oglebay Institute. This week-long training is FREE. There are 10 slots for MN folks so act quickly! Even though the application is geared towards teachers, MN students can apply, just leave the teacher experience portions blank. Please direct questions directly to the school’s directors Zachary Loughman ( or Karen Kettler (

Leadership Training School Highlights

Thanks to generous support from foundations, donors, and friends, Oglebay Institute’s Nature Leadership Training School is a fully funded project aimed at increasing the knowledge of teachers and West Virginia master naturalist volunteers throughout the region and creating a strong corps of volunteers to assist in the sampling of invertebrates and increase the quality of natural history education in West Virginia. This residential environmental education experience will take place at Oglebay Institutes field station in Terra Alta, West Virginia Sunday June 20th through Friday June 25th, 2010. All participants will have lodging and homemade food provided to them. Highlights of Nature Leadership Training School include:

· Participants of the Nature Leadership Training School will receive training in alpha taxonomy, classification, natural history, ecology, and zoology from experts in the field. Institutions currently committed include West Liberty University, Marshall University, and the Invertebrate Range of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh

· Collecting methods specific to arthropods including insects (moths, beetles, and crane flies specifically), crayfishes, and arachnids will be discussed and deployed in the field. Training in the Nature Leadership Training School will enable participants to locate, collect, identify, and deposit understudied taxa into collections which desperately need information on Appalachian biodiversity.

· After training by experts in the first two days, participants will partake in a bioblitz inventory of either a state park or national forest land for understudied arthropods. Specimens collected during this effort will be deposited in the Carnegie Museums Invertebrate range. Arthropod biologists will also participate in the bioblitz alongside teachers and master naturalist volunteers.

· Following the Bioblitz, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources Biologists will be present to notify participants of significant findings. All records will be added to the current West Virginia Department of Natural resources database for rare and endangered wildlife.

· Teachers will be trained in proper field id and specimen preparation for key taxa including crayfishes, beetles, and moths, and given curriculum to augment collecting trips with their students for these taxa.

· Teachers can receive 3 FREE graduate credit hours through West Virginia University by taking their training into the classroom and collect invertebrates with their students following guidelines presented in the course. THESE CREDITS WILL BE PAID FOR THROUGH FUNDING RECEIVED TO IMPLEMENT Nature Leadership Training School.

· All specimens collected during the week or during independent collecting trips following Nature Leadership Training School will have the option of being deposited in either the Invertebrate Range at Carnegie Museum of Natural History or the West Liberty University Astacology Collection. Collector’s names will accommodate specimens in these collections for hundreds of years into the future.

Please address all questions and return the completed application as soon as possible. We will award 30 scholarships (20 to secondary education science teachers and 10 master naturalist volunteers) based on merit and timeliness. Please complete a separate form for each applicant. You will be notified in writing regarding any award (emails will be sent on June 7th. ) For more information please email the school directors Zachary Loughman ( or Karen Kettler (, who will gladly answer any questions you may have.

NLTS Application

Penny Miller, Zoo Director
Oglebay's Good Zoo
465 Lodge Drive
Wheeling, WV 26003
304-243-4027 phone
304-243-4110 fax website

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Garlic Mustard Patrol

Suzanne Reynolds sent the following information for volunteers needed at the Arboretum:

Garlic Mustard removal at Arboretum:
- 1pm Monday, May 3
- 1pm Tuesday, May 4

Bring garden/work gloves if you've got them.

Dale (from our MN group) and I will be meeting Jon Weems at the main parking lot to continue to the effort to remove the invasive Mustard Garlic before it goes to seed.

Tree Planting a Success!

THANK YOU so much to:
Marion County MN volunteers Bruce, John, Melissa, Paul, and Randy
Mon county MN volunteers Barbara and 12 yr old daughter Lexie
Parks and Rec representative Calvin
one fellow out fishing at Guyses Run- Joey
who all picked up shovels and topsoil and planted 100 trees in 6 hours time!

It was a beautiful sunny, warm day for planting!

Among the trees planted were Dogwood, Choke Cherry, Red Oak and Sugar Maple- great trees for beautification, wildlife habitat and resource.

Trees were planted on Parks And Rec public property along the new Gateway Connector, throughout the Wave Tech Park and Guyses Run Fishing Park- all in Marion County.

Follow up care will be provided by Parks and Rec staff and include installation of protection tubes as well as continued watering and mulch applications. Progress reports will be submitted to the Treeways Project by Marion County Master Naturalists.

A great Big THANK YOU to Freed's Greenhouse for donating the potting soil and Tree-Tone Natural fertilizer as well as some mulch to ensure the trees get off to a great start! Honeybee Landscaping also pitched in with all the tools and planting equipment as well as some Holly-Tone natural fertilizer for the Dogwood trees.

Thanks again to a group effort, a great job done by all that will benefit our wildlife for years to come!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Hello All,

We are in need of volunteers to help with planting trees as part of the Mountain Treeways Program on Saturday, May 1st. ( tell me what time you are available)

The more volunteers we have, the less time we will spend planting...looking for 2 hour ( or more) commitments from volunteers for this project, please.

We've teamed up with Marion County Parks and Recreation for this wonderful program that puts trees in public places to beautify and provide habitat and food sources for Wildlife.

The trees are small- sticks actually, are not heavy and don't require much in the way of digging and such. All equipment and materials are provided.

Volunteer hours can be logged and counted for this project!

Please contact me as soon as possible for the opportunity to help us plant the trees!



Melissa Brodsky, volunteer Coordinator
Marion County Master Naturalists
Rt. 4 Box 569B, Tunnel Hollow Rd.
Fairmont, WV 26554
(304)-366-1420 office/fax
(304) 282-2260 cell

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Garlic Mustard

G.A. Cooper @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Jon Weems is looking for volunteers to pull garlic mustard at the Core Arboretum. Contact Jon at to set up a time to work.

Coopers Rock trailwork under way this weekend

Volunteers to clean along Roadside Trail
This weekend, The Coopers Rock Foundation will host two days of volunteer trailwork at Coopers Rock State Forest, followed by a free workshop on building the stone trail markers known as cairns.
Volunteers will meet at 9am today at the entrance to the front gate parking lot (the day-use parking lot). From 9am -2pm, volunteers will clean out drainage ditches, waterbars and culverts along the Roadside Trail from the front gate to the overlook.
Tools, work gloves and instruction will be provided. Latecomers can pick up gloves and tools, and check a trailcrew locator map at the Roadside Trail kiosk at the trailhead in the parking lot. Volunteers are welcome to work however long they like.
On Sunday, trailwork hours are 1-4pm. Meet at the entrance to the front gate parking lot. Work will continue along the Roadside Trail.
Those who take part in the trail maintenance can earn up to 8 community service hours.
A short, free workshop on "How to Build Cairns - The Ancient Stone Trail Markers" will be from 4-5pm on a section of Roadside Trail close to the main road. Watch for signs. Participants learn the basic principles behind building these stone trail markers and have the opportunity to build a few of their own. Participation does not count toward community service hours.
Info: Adam Polinski, or 304-296-4977.

Friday, April 23, 2010

TREE PLANTING! Volunteer Opportunity

Hello All,

We are in need of volunteers to help with planting trees as part of the Mountain Treeways Program!

We've teamed up with Marion County Parks and Recreation for this wonderful program that puts trees in public places to beautify and provide habitat and food sources for Wildlife.

We have trees, we have places to plant them- we just need a few volunteers to help plant them.

The trees are small- sticks actually, are not heavy and don't require much in the way of digging and such. All equipment and materials are provided. Volunteer hours can be logged and counted for this project!

Please contact me before Sunday ( April 25) if you are available between April 26th and May 7th. Please tell me what days and times you are available.



Melissa Brodsky, volunteer Coordinator
Marion County Master Naturalists
Rt. 4 Box 569B, Tunnel Hollow Rd.
Fairmont, WV 26554
(304)-366-1420 office/fax
(304) 282-2260 cell

Upcoming Class Sehedule for the Marion County Master Naturalists

Below is the finalized schedule for the April 24-25 Marion County Master Naturalists classes.

Classes will be held at Prickett's Fort, in the lower parking lot building.

Field components will be held at Prickett's Fort also.
(UPDATE- WILDFLOWER WALK may take place at Prickett's Fort OR Melissa's property, depending on weather- RAIN expected)

Saturday, April 24th

10:00 am to 12:00 noon Nature Photography- elective Sue Amos- bring camera's and tripods if you have them

12:00pm to 1:00pm LUNCH- pot luck- bring a dish to share

1:00pm to 5:00pm Aquatics- core class Jim VanGundy- bring waders, loupes and Aquatic life ID/Field Guides if you have them

Sunday, April 25th

12:00pm to 4:00pm Wildflowers and Weeds- core class Katharine Gregg - bring loupes if you have them, Wildflower Field Gd.'s

4:30pm to 5:30pm Wildflower walk at Prickett's Fort OR Melissa's property- depending on weather (naturalized/native Spring wildflowers in bloom)- easy access area and mostly flat - hiking boots or sturdy shoes suggested

Melissa Brodsky, volunteer Coordinator
Marion County Master Naturalists
Rt. 4 Box 569B, Tunnel Hollow Rd.
Fairmont, WV 26554
(304)-366-1420 office/fax
(304) 282-2260 cell

Friday, April 16, 2010

Botanic Garden will hold volunteer work day

The West Virginia Botanic Garden is holding a volunteer work day from 9m - noon Saturday.
Volunteers are needed to pull branches off the trails and supply the crews using chainsaws. Debris will be removed from trails north of Tibbs Run, as well as cut from alongside the trails.
The garden's first educational walk this years starts at 2pm Sunday from the lower parking lot. Five WVU School of Pharmacy Service Learning Students will talk about useful plants and activities to help create a healthier lifestyle.
The gate to the lower parking lot is open from 1-4pm Sundays.

Impact EARTH

April 17, 2010 Impact EARTH
Participate in the area's WV Make It Shine program also known as our spring 'trash bash' by picking up litter along the rail-trails from 10am to 2pm. Free bags and gloves are available from BOPARC at the Marilla Center. Find out more at or call 304-296-8356.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Latest news from the WVBG

WVBG E-News 4/13/2010

Things happening this weekend:
Saturday morning April 17th 9–12 is our monthly volunteer day. Last month there were 24 that came out to help clear trails. There was great progress, but there is still more to do. The trails south of Tibbs Run are still greatly obscured and often impassable. We hope to remedy this on Saturday. Many gloved hands pulling branches off the trails will be needed to keep up with the people cutting with chainsaws. Getting there may require fording Tibbs Run, but the water level should be much lower than a month ago with all the dry weather we have been having. Also some of the trails north of Tibbs Run opened last month still have lots of debris (broken trees, downed branches, etc.) along the sides that needs to be cut and piled away from the trails. If we can put together several crews like last month we should be able to make good progress. Please remember to fill out the sign-in sheet if you come.

Sunday afternoon April 18th is our first Educational Walk - Healthy Folks: Useful Plants and Activities. It will be led by five WVU School of Pharmacy Service Learning Students. They have prepared a brochure you will enjoy using to help create a healthier lifestyle. The walk will start from the lower parking lot at 2 p.m.

In case you have not noticed, the gate to the lower parking lot is open again on Sunday afternoons 1 – 4 pm now that we have good weather again.

Mark your Calendar:
Saturday, May 8th 1-4 p.m. – Green Gathering at the Garden – a fun filled afternoon at the garden for people of all ages focusing on sustainable living. For more information check the newsletter that should have come to you recently that also may be seen on the WVBG website .

Get a free one year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens by renewing or becoming a member of the Friends of the Botanic Garden by June 15th, 2010. See the newsletter for details.

We value our volunteers:
This past Sunday we held our first volunteer orientation. 40 people gathered at the Imperial East Sales Office for an introduction to the various volunteer activities that are available and then went on a brief tour of the botanic garden. More events for volunteers are being planned. If you would like to get involved please contact Erin Himmel at .

George W. Longenecker, Executive Director
West Virginia Botanic Garden, Inc.
714 Venture Drive, PMB # 121
Morgantown, WV 26508-7306
Tel. 304-376-2717

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Creek clean up comes to Sabraton

West Virginia Make It Shine Clean-Up is coming to Deckers Creek from 1-4pm on Sunday at the Deckers Creek Rail-Trail in Sabraton.
Volunteers are needed and can meet at the Friends of Deckers Creek office, behind Rent-A-Center in Sabraton.
Supplies, snacks and beverages will be provided. Dress for the weather and wear closed toe shoes.

Volunteers sought for June 19 River Sweep 2010

Volunteers are needed for River Sweep 2010, scheduled for June 19 along the shoreline of the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, along with other tributaries.
River Sweep is a riverbank cleanup that extends the entire length of the Ohio River and beyond.
Over 3,000 miles of shoreline will be combed for trash and debris. This is the largest environmental event of its kind and encompasses six states.
Persons wanting to volunteer can call 1-800-359-3977 or visit for site locations and county coordinators in their area.
Each volunteer will receive a free T-shirt.