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.