Monday, April 25, 2011

Garden to celebrate boardwalk opening

The West Virginia Botanic Garden, 1061 Tyrone Road, Morgantown, will celebrate the grand opening of a new wetland boardwalk at 2pm May 1. The public is invited.
The boardwalk is part of a universally accessible trail beginning from the garden's lower parking lot and was created with the joint efforts of numerous community members and organizations.
At 2:30pm, Jim and Ann Anderson will begin their wetland and amphibian walk at the boardwalk and venture into other wetland areas of the garden in search of frogs, toads and salamanders. Visitors will also be able to purchase West Virginia Botanic Garden merchandise at the grand opening; cash and checks are accepted.
Info:, George Longenecker, executive director, or 304-376-2717.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wondering if you have met the requirements?

I've been asked by a few people where to turn in their class hours and volunteer hours to see if they have completed the requirements for Master Naturalist. You should send your information to Bev Riffon Bev will check to see if your records match the attendance sheets and if you have the volunteer hours. Once verified she will then give the info to Ellen to request the certificate.

Sierra Club planning hike at Coopers Rock

The West Virginia Sierra Club will lead a public hike starting at 9am April 30, at Coopers Rock State Forest. The total elevation change is about 2,990 feet and distance is 12.1 miles. The hiking time is 8-9 hours. This is not a good trip to start the season unconditioned. Prepare with a few moderate hiking trips with mileage and elevation challenges. Info: Ann Devine-King, or 304-594-2636, or and

Monday, April 18, 2011

Aftershocks vs Earthquakes

What Are Aftershocks, Foreshocks and Earthquake Clusters?

Graph of aftershock probabilities
The calculations in this system are based on known behaviors of aftershocks. Scientists have shown that the rules governing aftershock behavior also apply to “aftershocks” that are larger than their main shock - i.e., the possibility that the first event was a foreshock. These rules include:

* Aftershock Facts: In a cluster, the earthquake with the largest magnitude is called the main shock; anything before it is a foreshock and anything after it is an aftershock. A main shock will be redefined as a foreshock if a subsequent event has a larger magnitude. The rate of main shocks after foreshocks follows the same patterns as aftershocks after main shocks. Aftershock sequences follow predictable patterns as a group, although the individual earthquakes are random and unpredictable. This pattern tells us that aftershocks decay with increasing time, increasing distance, and increasing magnitude. It is this average pattern that this system uses to make real-time predictions about the probability of ground shaking.
* Distance: Aftershocks usually occur geographically near the main shock. The stress on the main shock's fault changes drastically during the main shock and that fault produces most of the aftershocks. Sometimes the change in stress caused by the main shock is great enough to trigger aftershocks on other, nearby faults, and for a very large main shock sometimes even farther away. As a rule of thumb, we call earthquakes aftershocks if they are at a distance from the main shock’s fault no greater than the length of that fault. The automatic system keeps track of where aftershocks have occurred, and when enough aftershocks have been recorded to pinpoint the more and less active locations, the system adjusts the probabilities on the map to reflect those local variations.
* Time: An earthquake large enough to cause damage will probably be followed by several felt aftershocks within the first hour. The rate of aftershocks decreases quickly - the decrease is proportional to the inverse of time since the main shock. This means the second day has about 1/2 the number of aftershocks of the first day and the tenth has about 1/10 the number of the first day. These patterns describe only the overall behavior of aftershocks; the actual times, numbers and locations of the aftershocks are random. We call an earthquake an aftershock as long as the rate at which earthquakes occur in that region is greater than the rate before the main shock. How long this lasts depends on the size of the main shock (bigger earthquakes have more aftershocks) and how active the region was before the main shock (if the region was seismically quiet before the main shock, the aftershocks continue above the previous rate for a longer time). Thus, an aftershock can occur weeks or decades after a main shock.
* Magnitude: Bigger earthquakes have more and larger aftershocks. The bigger the main shock the bigger the largest aftershock will be, on average. The difference in magnitude between the main shock and largest aftershock ranges from 0.1 to 3 or more, but averages 1.2 (a M5.5 aftershock to a M6.7 main shock for example). There are more small aftershocks than large ones. Aftershocks of all magnitudes decrease at the same rate, but because the large aftershocks are already less frequent, the decay can be noticed more quickly. Large aftershocks can occur months or even years after the main shock.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


The class that many of you need to complete your Master Naturalist required hours will be held this Thursday. Bring a hand lens with you. If you don't have a hand lens, Ellen will have some available for purchase at $6.00.

Garlic Mustard at the WVU Core Arboretum

It's that time of year, time to get after garlic mustard. This is a great "volunteer opportunity". Master naturalists make the best volunteers.

Positive reinforcement! Recently Rodney Bartgis, a superb botanist and the state director of The Nature Conservancy, walked through the arb with his wife, stopped for an extended conversation, and complimented me on how little garlic mustard he saw. It's evident on the flood plain, but there's not enough to be conspicuous on the hillside until it flowers. Thanks to you!

I plan to get after it in a big way starting Monday, April 25, and continuing for the next three weeks. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know when you could help and we'll set up some work parties. Also, please pass this email or the info in it along to others you think would be interested. We don't need a large group that would be hard to manage, but half a dozen people each committed to working a three-week total of at least six hours would be ideal. Flexible hours are fine, though of course it's more fun to be out there with good company.

Thanks very much,

Jon Weems
Arboretum Specialist
WVU Department of Biology
Morgantown, WV 26506-6057

304-293-5201 ext. 31547

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bird Walks

Bird walks headed by DNR biologists Jim Evans and Susan Olcott, from 8-10am, Apr 16, Apr 23 and Apr 30 at Pricketts Fort State Park. Depart from the Visitor Center parking lot. Info: 304-363-3030

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Work Day at the WV Botanic Garden

The third Saturday of every month is a work day at the West Virginia Botanic Garden. Meet in the lower parking lot at 9am and be prepared to be busy for the next three hours. I recommend bringing heavy work gloves and wearing sturdy shoes. Jobs might entail weeding flower beds, clearing trails, pulling invasive plants, putting up signs. There will always be something for everyone to do. This is a great way to earn volunteer hours. See you this Saturday!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tygart Lake State Park Nature Walks

Marion County Master Naturalist Graduates Dorothy Hood and Gary Sniezgoda are doing their 4th year of (Nature) walks for the Tygart Lake State Park.

This year the walks will be on April 16, July 16, and September 10.

They meet at the recreation building at 10 AM and hike the Lake Trail. They have teamed up with the Lifelong Learners of Pierpont College and information is on the Lifelong Learners and Tygart Lake State Park web site.
Gary writes that he hopes to see anyone who would like to take a walk on the wild side.
Please contact Gary for further information at

Saturday, April 9, 2011

WV Master Naturalist website launched

Hello all,

This is to announce the launching of the website for the Master Naturalist Advisory Committee. As you'll recall, we identified this as a priority at our meeting in Elkins last September. The problem has been that it has been difficult to impossible to keep the "official" WV Master Naturalist website that is hosted on the WV DNR server updated with current information. The establishment of our own website gives us the ability to communicate information in real time among the various MN chapters and also to use the web to communicate current information about the West Virginia Master Naturalist program to the interested public.

The WVMNAC website is up and running now and the url is: < >

Please go to the site as soon as you can and look it over carefully. It is a work in progress, so we'll appreciate any suggestions for improvement that you may have. We'll also greatly appreciate you pointing out any errors or omissions. We also encourage you to call the site to the attention of the folks in your chapters as well as anyone else that you think might be interested.

Let us know what you think.

Jim Van Gundy

P.S. Incidentally, Walt Kordek has committed to getting the DNR website updated and simplified. Once updated though, it will be a "static" page that will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. Presumably it will also link to our pages. If you have thoughts about the content of that website, you might share them with Jim Fregonara.

Trailwork begins at state park

Coopers Rock group to host maintenance
The 2011 Coopers Rock Foundation (CRF) trailwork season kicks off this weekend with 10 hours of trail maintenance in two days and a benefit concert tonight.
Volunteers will work on the trails from 10am - 4pm today and 1-5pm Sunday. Anyone interested in the park is invited to come and help.
Workers are to meet at the entrance to the front gate parking lot - the day use parking lot. Tools and work gloves will be provided, but participants who have their own rakes and gloves should bring them. Boots are recommended. No sandals are allowed.
Latecomers should go to the kiosk in the parking lot for details on how to find the work crews, along with gloves and tools.
A CRF benefit concert will start at 8 tonight at Rhythm N' Brews, near the Triple S Harley-Davidson dealership. Cost is $5 at the door. Performers include Morgantown's The Emperors and long-time local band Nexus. Info: Rhythm N' Brews at 304-284-9988 or
Spring marks the beginning of the foundations's third decade of trail maintenance and construction. It began the program after the defeat of a proposed tram across the Cheat Canyon in 1990.
Over the years, CRF has performed maintenance and improvements on many trails, including the Rhododendron Trail, Virgin Hemlocks Trail, Intermediate Loop and several others.
One highlight of CRF's trailwork program has been the construction of Roadside Trail from 2004-'07.
Another tradition established two decades ago and still going strong is the annual Coopers Rock Celebration of the Outdoors, a festival of workshops and activities relating to Coopers Rock. It's the area's longest-running annual environmental education event.
This year's celebration is June 11. The workshops are listed at

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

West Virginia Sustainable Fair 2011

Russ McClain, our MNAC Representative from Davis & Elkins College has asked that I forward this to the Master Naturalist Advisory Committee members with a request (if you're willing) to make the upcoming Sustainability Fair as widely known as possible. You'll recall that Davis & Elkins College is one of our sponsoring partners, and Russ is the Director of its Center for Sustainability Studies.

Please feel free to forward this information to anyone whom you think might be interested.

Jim Van Gundy

West Virginia Sustainable Fair 2011

Saturday - April 16, 2011 ~ Davis & Elkins College
Celebrating over a decade of sustainable initiatives and fairs!

●10:00 - 11:30 AM: “Rain Barrel Make & Take” Workshop with Kathy Hopkins and Bruce Wohleber. Location: Hermanson Plaza.

●11:00 AM – 3:00 PM: Electronics Recycling (E-Cycling) Collection, sponsored by The Center for Sustainability Studies of Davis & Elkins College and the Randolph County Solid Waste Authority. Location: Hermanson Plaza Parking Lot.

For more information contact The Center for Sustainability Studies (304) 637-1309.

“A Sustainable Affair”

► Fair Focus: ● Renewable Energy, ● Green Building / Architecture,

● Food & Agriculture, ●Artisans & Green Businesses

Events at Halliehurst Mansion

►4:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Exhibits/Vendors, Wine & Beer Tasting, Music
●Lambert’s Winery
●Power In My Back Yard (PIMBY)
●Mountain View Solar & Wind
●LaPaix Herb Farm, Alum Bridge
●WV Herb Association
●Smoke Camp Crafts
●Mainline Books, Elkins
●Zendick Arts (Jewelry)
●North Central Neckorations (Jewelry)
●The Mills Group, LLC (alternative energy solutions)
●Hypno Coffee, Canaan Valley
●Live Plants, D&E Chi Beta Phi Science Honorary Students
●Organic Foods
●Local Brewery
●Your Green Space – bring your samples, brochures, hand-outs, etc. to share!

►6:00 PM – 8:30 PM: A “Sustainable Feast” Benefit Dinner
Our signature annual “Sustainable Feast” benefit dinner features locally grown organic food prepared by local gourmet chefs preparing their signature seasonal dishes!
A delight for the senses! Cost: $20
For advanced reservations: Contact The Center for Sustainability Studies (304) 637-1309. Tickets will also be available at the door.

►6:00 PM – 8:30 PM: Dinner “Round Table” discussions with:
●Mike McKechnie & John Christensen of Mountain View Solar & Wind
●Myra Bonhage-Hale, Steward of LaPaix Herb Farm
●Matt Sherald of Power In My Back Yard (PIMBY)
●Ryan Hess & Michael Mills of The Mills Group, LLC

►Benefit Concert: Saturday evening 9:00 PM – 12 Midnight with, “The Fox Hunt”. Join us at the Ice House campus pub! Cost is $7. Tickets available in advance through The Center for Sustainable Studies (304) 637-1309 or at the door.
The Fox Hunt are a West Virginia based multi-instrumentalist string-band that play traditional fiddle music and original Americana music through a single condenser microphone. With a deviant cast of characters and some truly exceptional talents, The Fox Hunt offer a unique approach to one of the most sustainable forms of music, and add to it a style all of their own. Touring more than 100 shows a year, The Fox Hunt have built an ever-growing allegiance of fans across the US and beyond!

● Hosted by Davis & Elkins College
●Co-Sponsors: Sustainable Living for West Virginia non-profit organization &
The Center for Sustainability Studies of Davis & Elkins College.

● To become a supporter, contact Denise Poole, Co-Director at: or Russ McClain, Co-Director at:

● Sustainable Living for WV website, All updates for the fair, and links to other sustainable efforts, news and more can be found there.

Sustainable Living for WV
P.O. Box 2206, Huntington WV 25722
A non-profit organization registered with the WV Secretary of State office

The Center For Sustainability Studies
Davis & Elkins College – 100 Campus Drive, Elkins WV 26241

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend

New River Gorge National River

Release date: Immediate
Contact(s): David Caldwell
Phone number: (304) 466-0417 x18
Date: 4/1/11


Spring in West Virginia highlights one of the earth’s greatest natural treasures, the botanically diverse southern Appalachian forests.

In the New River Gorge this season begins with the first solitary bloom of coltsfoot, bloodroot, or trout lily by the riverside in early March. April brings us the forest, carpeted with wake robin and great trillium, Dutchman’s breeches and Virginia bluebell. The finale is the showy display of Catawba rhododendron, flame azalea, Fraser magnolia, and tulip poplar into the last days of May. With over 72,000 acres of protected habitat, New River Gorge National River is a haven for a wide variety of both plants and animals.

For the past eight years Appalachian spring in New River Gorge National River has been celebrated with New River Gorge Wildflower Weekend programs the last weekend in April. Babcock, Hawks Nest, and Pipestem State Parks along with Tamarack and The Clay Center, will partner with New River Gorge National River to present a full schedule of “Wildflower Weekend” programs in the area. This weekend event commemorates the wonders of the season and the area’s natural diversity through public programs, a nice variety of talks and guided hikes. There are no charges to attend these programs, but advanced reservations are required for the “Hike Into Spring” hike at Grandview. For reservations call Sandstone Visitor Center 304-466-0417 or Canyon Rim Visitor Center 304-574-2115. For more information check

The “Hike Into Spring!,” our keystone event, is a ranger-led hike down the Little Laurel Trail along the old Royal Mine Road, from the rim of the gorge at Grandview. The 1,400 foot elevation change offers an abundance of early and late blooming species in one walk. Sixty to seventy different species of wildflowers are usually spotted on this hike. This year’s hike will be on Saturday, April 23. A bus will provide hikers a ride back to Grandview at no charge.

The varied forest types, elevations and moisture levels found in the New River Gorge combine to provide a constant parade of blooming spring wildflowers from March through May. Riverbank areas such as the Sandstone Falls and River Road near Hinton and Glade Creek Road near Prince are blooming now with coltsfoot, cut leaf toothwort, the prominent white blooms of bloodroot, and the mottled leaves and yellow petals of trout lily. These species will also be seen on our “Hike Into Spring” at Grandview.

April 5 through 30, 2011
Youth Arts in the Parks
8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily, art exhibit in the vestibule across from the David L. Dickerson Fine Arts Gallery, Tamarack in Beckley, WV. Independence Middle School students celebrate regional ecology through art in this special exhibit, works inspired by the nature of our public parks—especially wildflowers. Additional sampling of these artistic works will be on display at the participating national and state parks.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Clay Center’s Lunchtime Lecture:
Glories of Appalachian Spring!
12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., Clay Center in Charleston, WV. Can you feel the sap risin’? Spring is here, so see how forests and rivers come alive with wildlife, trees and more wildflowers that you can count. Join a ranger for this closer look at the seasonal beauties and wonders of our region’s unbroken Appalachian forest.

Friday, April 22, 2011
Garlic Mustard Pull
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., McKeever Lodge, Pipestem Resort State Park in Pipestem, WV. Celebrate Earth Day and help manage the natural beauty of this site at this garlic mustard pull. Walk parts of the River and County Line trails to Indian Branch Falls during this working hike, and remove this non-native, invasive species. Bring work gloves.

Glories of Appalachian Spring!
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Auditorium, Tamarack in Beckley, WV. Can you feel the sap risin’? Spring is here, so see how forests and rivers come alive with wildlife, trees and more wildflowers than you can count. Join a ranger for a closer look at this region’s wonders of spring.

Blooms of Big Branch
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Big Branch trailhead, New River Gorge National River off River Rd. near Hinton, WV. Join rangers on a two-mile round trip hike up Big Branch. This somewhat strenuous creek-side forest trail is a wildflower hot-spot, plus includes several waterfalls. Be prepared for stream crossings.

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Hike Into Spring!
9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Grandview—Shelter #4, New River Gorge National River in Grandview, WV. Join rangers and naturalists on a leisurely 2.5 -mile hike from Grandview down to the New River, finding wildflowers along the way. Be prepared for some steep terrain as we travel down the Little Laurel Trail, an old dirt road. A free return shuttle will be provided. Reservations requested by April 20; call 304-466-0417.

Art in the Parks: Jr. Ranger Day Fun
1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Grandview - Cliffside Amphitheatre, New River Gorge
National River in Grandview, WV. Wildflowers won’t be the only splash of color this weekend. Kids can paint their own flower pots and plant wildflower seeds in them, plus pound yard plants into cool designs.

Sunday, April 24, 2011
Spring Birding at Babcock
9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Glade Creek Grist Mill, Babcock State Park in Clifftop, WV. Stroll the diverse habitats of Babcock in search of the region’s more secretive beauties—birds.

Native Wonders
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Canyon Rim Visitor Center, New River Gorge National River in Lansing, WV. See a display on wildflowers of the season, plus hear tales of past and present flora uses.

Blooms and Beauties Hike
3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Rail Trail trailhead, Hawks Nest State Park in Ansted, WV. Explore the many wonders of the New River Gorge on this walk along the Hawks Nest Rail Trail. See both flora and fauna on this easy hike along an old railroad line. Be ready for good photo opportunities too.