Monday, October 31, 2011

Nearly 500 songbirds die at W.Va. wind farm

ELKINS - The deaths of nearly 500 songbirds during the fall migration season are being blamed on lights left on at a power substation at the AES Laurel Mountain wind farm.
The American Bird Conservancy said the birds died from colliding with the substation and exhaustion after the birds became disoriented after getting caught in the lights' glare on a foggy night. The birds that died Oct 2-3 included blackpoll warblers, Connecticut warblers, yellow-billed cuckoos, sora and Virginia rail.
Night-migrating songbirds flying without a horizon to follow can get "trapped" by steady burning lights.
Division of Natural Resources officials said that AES is drafting a final report on the the incident, which will be submitted to the DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildfile Service.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Coopers Rock Foundation is seeking volunteers for trail work

The Coopers Rock Foundation will host its Annual Coopers Rock Halloween Candy Trailwork Weekend on the weekend following Halloween, November 5th and 6th. All volunteers will be able to snack on Halloween candy for free while they are working. Trailwork hours will be from 9-5 Saturday, and Sunday 1-5. All volunteers are welcome, and may work for however long they wish.

Work will be primarily focused on trail drainage maintenance. We will maintain, improve, and build new drainage features such as dips, waterbars, culverts, and drainage ditches on selected trails. We will be using shovels, mattocks, rakes, wheelbarrows and other tools. Trails targeted for work include Roadside Trail, Reservoir Ski Trail (between Intermediate Loop and Reservoir Loop), and Rhododendron Trail. This type of drainage maintenance helps keep trails dry year-round for all kinds of uses.

The meeting place for volunteers upon arrival at Coopers Rock at the start of each day will be the entrance to the Day Use Parking Lot, near the Front Gate. This is the first parking lot on the right along the main road toward the Overlook. Latecomers are welcome, and should go to the information kiosk at the back of this parking lot, near the restrooms, to find a map and description of where to find trail maintenance work sites.

Volunteers will be provided with work gloves, tools, instruction and supervision, along with Halloween candy. Volunteers are requested to dress for the weather and wear clothes that can get dirty. No sandals, for safety reasons.

This is a great time to earn Community Service hours, for anyone who needs them.

Questions? Contact Adam Polinski, at, or 296-4977.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2010-2011 WVDNR Cooperative Grant Program: request for proposals

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Wildlife Diversity Unit, is requesting proposals for the Cooperative Research and Education/Management Grant Program for the 2011-2012 grant cycle. This program provides a funding opportunity for individuals, organizations or institutions to participate in the ongoing process of data collection, conservation, management and natural resource education. Research grants are awarded for projects involving the scientific study of non-game animal and select plant species. Education/Management grants are awarded in the areas of education, community-oriented conservation, species protection and habitat management.

As is the case every year, the Program requires that a valid and documented non-federal funding match be provided by the applicant. Matching funds may be provided as cash or as in-kind services, and documentation of these funds will be required prior to authorizing invoice payments.

Our updated Grants Guidance document is included as an attachment. Also attached are the Application Booklet, which outlines the proposal process and requirements in greater detail, and the Proposal Budget Spreadsheet, which should be used to detail funding requirements and expenditures. The Proposal Budget Spreadsheet needs to be included in your application package. Copies of all application materials should be submitted in both paper and digital formats.

Please note that the application deadline for this grant cycle is Friday, December 16, 2011.

Please contact me if you have any questions about the application process or the relevance of specific projects to this program. Also, feel free to forward this information to any students, researchers, cooperators, or organizations that you think may be interested. Good luck, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Michael Welch, Zoologist
WV Division of Natural Resources
Wildlife Diversity Unit
PO Box 67
Elkins, WV 26241
voice 304.637.0245
fax 304.637.0250

Saturday, October 15, 2011

West Viriginia University Natural History Museum

Please Join Us:

Open House/Benefit for the New……
West Virginia University Natural History Museum

October 21st, 2011 6:00-8:00 PM

Light Refreshments and a Tour of Specimens Unveiling will occur at 6:30 PM

For further Information

Click here to view flyer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Star gazing

WVU's Tomchin Planetarium and Observatory hosts "Ultimate Universe" at 7pm and "It's About Time" at 8pm Friday (Oct 14). The planetarium is in room 425 of Hodges Hall on Beechurst Avenue. Admission is free, but reservations are required and can be made at 304-293-3422, Ext 1443 or at

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Amphibian and Reptile class canceled Oct 13

Due to a strep infection our speaker for tomorrow night's Amphibian and Reptile class
can not come. We will postpone this session until some time in November. Please let others know of this - for those who do not regularly check email.

975 Tyrone Road
Morgantown wv 26508-2971
304 296 1887

WVBG Workday Oct 15

Hi folks,

There will be a workday at the WV Botanic Garden this Saturday, October 15 from 9:00 until about noon. The main activity will be attaching decking and rail posts to our new section of wetland boardwalk. We may also be making some last minute preparations for the Fall Children's Festival, which will take place on Sunday afternoon.

I hope you can make it out to the workday, the festival, or both!


Erin Smaldone
Volunteer Coordinator & Education Director
West Virginia Botanic Garden

Come Grow With Us!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mountaineer Audubon birding field trip on Oct. 15 to Decker's Creek Rail Trail

On Saturday, Oct. 15, Mountaineer Audubon is sponsoring a birding field trip to the Decker's Creek Rail Trail in Preston County. All are welcome, and there is no charge. Bring binoculars if you have them.

Morgantown-area residents will meet at Mountaineer Mall on Greenbag Road in the parking lot near the Goodwill store, which is across the mall road from the water tower, at 7:30 am to form carpools.

For some, especially Preston County birders, it may be more convenient to meet us at the Burke Road crossing of the trail at 8:00 am. Burke Road is the road (street sign missing) across from Sunny Hill Road along Route 7 about 0.3 mile south of the All-Star Express gas station between Masontown and Reedsville. The trail crossing is about a mile in on Burke Road.

We hope to find migrating sparrows, lingering warblers, and maybe some flyover raptors.

The trail is level and easy walking. Expect about 3 miles total. The walk should last 2-2.5 hours. Feel free to contact me at (304)225-0999 or at if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing you on the 15th.

Terry Bronson
Morgantown, WV

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Institute taking grant applications

The WVU-based West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) will award $92,000 in grant money to faculty members at West Virginia Institutions of higher education who submit winning proposals that address a range of water-related research priorities. The program is sponsored by the US Geological Survey. WVWRI Director Paul Ziemkiewicz said the center is requesting proposals from faculty researchers interested in executing work related to:
Shale gas - energy production impacts on water resource and water quality/quantity concern for gas well hydrofracturing
Coal mining - valley fills and uses for mine water discharge
Aquatic ecosystem - flooding, aquatic ecosystem integrity, water metrics, water quality, environmental/in-stream flows and web content management system
Urban development - industrial processes and urban sprawl, land use modifications, and inadequate infrastructure
Agriculture - agricultural impacts
Ziemkieqicz said that multi-year projects are encouraged. Under this program in previous years, WVWRI has been able to support between two and four research projects each in the range of about $15,000-$25,000. Ziemkiewicz said he expects $92,000 to be available for new and continuing projects in 2012.
The closing date for submitting proposals under the program is Nov 9. Info:

Fall trout stocking set next 2 weeks

About 35,000 pounds of trout will be stocked in 25 streams and nine lakes during the next two weeks. Brood trout will make up about 20 percent of the total poundage. Anglers can call 304-558-3399 or visit to find out which streams and lakes have been stocked each day.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mountaineer Audubon Program: Golden Eagles & Wind Mills

Oct 11, 2011 - Todd Katzner, Ph D; Research Assistant Professor Topic: "West Virginia's Golden Eagles and Wind Energy: new threats along historical migration routes. Seminar will be a 210 High St, Morgantown.

Fall Mushroom Walk, Oct 9, WVBG

WVU Professor of Mycology Dr Dan Panaccione will lead us in search of forest fungi. Dan will tell us how to identify the native mushrooms at the garden by their unique characteristics. Come enjoy and learn about the bright colored (and less bright colored) mushrooms and the old growth forest! All ages are welcome. Wear hiking footwear, preferably waterproof, and bring magnifying glasses if you have them. Meet in the West Virginia Botanic Garden lower parking lot at 2:00.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

WV Botanic Garden hosts Fall Children's Festival

After the response of participants in the 2009 and 2010 Fall Children's Festivals and with support from the Kiwanis Foundation, the West Virginia Botanic Garden is again sponsoring a Fall Children's Festival from 1-4pm Oct 16 at its 1061 Tyrone Road location. There is no admission fee.
The featured event will be the construction of fairy houses in the Fairy Garden. The garden has four new fairy houses, but the woodland sprites need many more. For a small donation, pictures will be taken of each child with his or her fairy house, courtesy of Autumn McDaniel.
In a new activity this year, a child can plant a bulb in a pot to grow at home. The pots, bulbs, potting soil and directions will be provided. Also, the Children's Discovery Museum of West Virginia will have selected activities and a display of work. Other activities will include pumpkin painting, pine cone bird feeders, nature bingo, leaf crafts and more. Order forms for spring blooming bulbs will be available, as well as the sale of WVBG souvenirs. Bring cash or check, as the WVBG does no accept credit or debit cards. Bulbs may also be purchased online at
Seasonal refreshments including homemade pumpkin cookies, fruit breads, apple cider and do-it-yourself trail mix. Many other selections will be available. Parking is somewhat limited, so carpooling is recommended. Fo more information, contact Ellen at or 304-282-5913.

Deckers Creek Adventure Day set for Sunday

Friends of Deckers Creek and WVU's College of Physical Science and Sports Medicine will host the fifth annual Deckers Creek Adventure Day from 1-5pm Sunday, Oct 9, at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park. This event will feature a fun, family-friendly, but challenging, three-hour adventure race, designed by Nathan Kile of the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences. Racers in teams of three decked out in costumes and uniforms will compete in numerous events such as canoeing on the Monongahela River, biking on the Caperton Trail, and foot racing, rappelling and orienteering on the Deckers Creek Trail and in the WVU Core Arboretum.
Teams will also have to work together to complete mystery challenges that test the mind and body. Racers have three hours to complete as many tasks as possible to earn points - the most points win. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishing teams in several categories including male, female, coed, youth/family and business/organization with the Grand Champions winning a three-person rafting trip on the Gauley River sponsored by ACE Adventure Resort.
"Last year we had 26 teams competing in the Adventure Race and some really creative costumes. A good time wa had by all despite the cold and dreary weather. We are really looking forward to a fun and exciting race this year and are expecting some beautiful fall weather!" said Sarah Veselka, Friends of Deckers Creek's executive director. Veselka added that "the best place for spectators to watch the race is at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park, but action can be seen up and down the rail-trails in that area of Morgantown."
During the race, FODC will host a free community festival. Community members are invited to join FOCD from 1-5pm at Hazel Ruby McQuain Park to learn more about current issues in the watershed and FODC projects. Also, the FODC Youth Advisory Board will lead hands-on environmental education activities for youth and adults such as acid mine drainage tie dyes. This will also be the first opportunity to catch a peek and purchase the new 2011 FODC T-shirt made of organic cotton and recycled plastic with a photo of the Deckers Creek gorge by local photographer Dave Smaldone.
During the festival and after the race, there will be live music on the amphitheater stage by local family band the Bad Bass-es. Jenny and Nathan Wilson, son Evan Lintz, and special guests will get the crowd moving with originals and covers. Following the race, awards and prizes will be given out for the top Adventure Race finishers and for best costumes. Race teams can register up until 5pm Friday. More information and registration forms can be found at
The Deckers Creek Adventure Day is open to the public, and all proceeds will benefit Friends of Deckers Creek, a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the natural qualities of the Deckers Creek watershed. Anyone who is interested in racing or volunteering for the event should contact FODC at 304-292-3970. More information for the event can found at

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Woods walk to be on Raspa property

The West Virginia Forest Stewardship Program is offering a Walk in the Woods near Morgantown starting at 10am Saturday (Oct 8). Ralph Raspa will lead a tour of his property, four miles from Morgantown on W.Va. 73. This beautiful 50-acre woodland overlooks the Monongahela River. The group will enjoy panoramic views at the top and explore that trails that descend the hill to the river. Forest access roads and maintenance challenges are just a couple of the topics that will be discussed along the way. The tour is for forest landowners or anyone else who enjoys being in the wood. Be prepared for uphill walking: appropriate footwear is recommended. A light lunch will be served at 12:30pm.
To register for the tour or for into: Ellen Voss, 304-293-5741 or Visit for a list of additional forest events.

Play about creek debuts today (Oct 2)

"Dead Fish Rising," a play about the death of Dunkard Creek, is set for 4pm today and Oct 9 in front of the creek at Rising Creek Bakery in Mount Morris, PA. Dunkard Creek flows across the Mason-Dixon line north from the confluence of its Pennsylvania and West Virginia forks. A mass fish kill occurred in the creek in 2009 because of coal mine discharge. This discharge caused excessive saltiness of the water during dry, hot weather. This saltiness led to an unprecedented bloom of golden algae and extreme pollution of the creek. Because of this, as many as 161 species and up to 22,000 animals died along more then 40 miles of Dunkard Creek from the West Virginia fork to the Monongahela River.
"Dead Fish Rising" is a community production that is the result of collaboration between residents of West Virginia and of Pennsylvania. The cast includes 10 children and 15 adults. In this educational play, the cast will act, sing and dance in an original production that interprets what happened to Dunkard Creek and how it happened.
Tickets are $5 for children, $10 for adults and $20 for conservationists. Tickets for a drawing cost $5. Tickets can be bought at Rising Creek Bakery in Mount Morris or online at with Pay Pal. A rain date is set for 4pm Oct 16.