Saturday, February 23, 2013

Late February/Early March happenings with Mon Group of Sierra Club

Many wonderful opportunities for participation to liven up our lives.

***Morgantown Power Hour: 
Wednesday, February 27, 6 PM at the Morgantown Library
373 Spruce Street, Room A. Sponsored by Energy Efficient West Virginia
Learn how you can advocate for common-sense solutions like energy efficiency that will save you money and avoid more rate hikes by avoiding the unnecessary cost of buying yet another old coal power plant.
     MonPower, your electric monopoly, is planning to purchase an expensive 40-year old coal plant, while refusing to invest instead in energy efficiency programs to meet our power needs, even though energy efficiency is a far cheaper way to meet energy needs when compared to buying an antiquated coal plant for $1.1 BILLION DOLLARS. 
     It's just common sense that we should increase our energy efficiency first, instead of letting MonPower stick the tab of an old, multi-billion dollar coal plant onto our power bills. There are two bills in the legislature this session that would result in the better and less expensive investment in energy efficiency - learn how you can help support these pieces of legislation, which will make your bill go DOWN, not UP like your power company is hoping for.  
For more or 304-346-5891

***Wednesday, February 27 Owl Prowl! FODC, Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia and WV Botanic Gardens hosting.At WV Botanic Gardens 5pm. To RSVP, please email Doug Gilbert at  Our first Owl Prowl on Feb 21 is now full, so we scheduled this second one.

***Thursday, February 28 5-8 PM
Morgantown Green Drinks
Hosted by Downstream Strategies at their offices on High Street

***Upcoming Trainings for Mapping Shale Gas Drilling 
Technology Allows Public to See and Assess Drilling Activity via

Mountain Watershed Association (MWA) and the FracTracker Alliance are offering free, hands-on training sessions for citizens who would like to utilize the new mapping capacities available through, a web-based tool for tracking and visualizing data related to shale gas extraction operations.

Unconventional natural gas extraction has increased in this region over the last few years. The associated environmental and public health concerns have created a desire to track where drilling is occurring near vulnerable populations and areas. These trainings will show people how to find where drilling operations are located and learn more about them. The tool is already being used by citizen water monitoring volunteers and community advocates with the MWA's Marcellus Citizen Stewardship Project.

The 2013 dates and county locations for trainings are listed below:
* February 26th - Gallery A, Doubletree Hilton at 340 Racetrack Road, Washington, Pa. 
o BYOL - Bring Your Own Laptop (laptops provided at following trainings)
* March 26th - Butler County 

For more information and to register for an upcoming training, please contact Melissa Troutman:, 724-455-4200 Ext 6.

***Saturday, March 9 - 9 am - 5 pm
WVU Sierra Student Coalition's Eco-Summit at WVU Mountainlair -open to all
We have scheduled presentations, workshops, and field trips on issues ranging from sustainable agriculture practices to the effects of fossil fuel extraction. Some of our keynote speakers include: Kate Rooth with Appalachian Voices, Dr. Michael Hendryx on health effects of coal processing, the Wetzel County Action Group on shale drilling in their county, Elise Keaton with Keepers of the Mountains, and Jon Berger with the Real Food Challenge. The two field trips we have scheduled are going to be guided by the Coopers Rock Foundation and Friends of Deckers Creek. For more information about specific times of programs, please email
More info:
Or email

***March 10-17 Mountain Justice Spring Break
Annual spring break outings aimed at educating and training environmental activists will focus this year on the downsides of coal mining in Virginia and gas drilling in West Virginia.
Mountain State Justice Spring Break targets college students who want to learn about extractive industries. But it's open to any concerned citizen. It explores why Appalachia is a rich land with poor people.
The first event is March 1-10 in the historic mining town of Appalachia, Va., in a region heavily affected by mountaintop removal coal mining.
The West Virginia spring break follows March 10-17 near West Union in Doddridge County, an area surrounded by gas-drilling operations.
Both events offer education, community service, lectures, hiking, music and the chance to engage in direct action. For more information:

***Gas Well Workshop - The first workshop session is March 10 - 14.

In March 2013, the West Virginia Sierra Club, in partnership with citizen experts George Monk and Molly Schaffnit, will conduct an online Gas Well Workshop for people in West Virginia who are interested in looking at gas wells in their area for regulatory compliance and environmental issues. The workshop is for anyone interested in or concerned about new, or old, gas wells in West Virginia.
Enroll in the workshop and you can become a "citizen gas well watcher!"

The Workshop will have three weekly sessions with videos, documents, an exercise, and conference calls.

The Way the Workshop Works

Each class session is scheduled for a week in March. Participants will watch videos, read materials, and complete a session exercise early in the week at their own pace. Then there are two dates/times later in the week to join in a conference call for questions and discussion based on that session.

After completion of the workshop sessions there will be a field trip to an actual well. There workshop participants can see how the online training translates into on-the-ground observation.

Additional resources are available for each session for those who want to learn more. These include links to regulations, Office of Oil and Gas documents, and so on.

"The Workshop videos, documents and additional resources are what we wished we had available when we first started looking at gas wells," said George Monk, workshop leader. 

Yet this is not an "academic" workshop. It's practical, and the goal is to equip citizens with the basic skill and information to observe gas wells. We expect graduates to look at wells, and to report what they find.

To register for the workshop, contact Jim Sconyers at or 304-698-9628. 

***Thursday, March 14 9am-3 pm
WV Environmental Council's annual E-Day! At the Capitol
Capitol Building, Charleston
More info:

***Thursday, March 14th, 6-7:30 pm "Creating a Wildlife-Friendly Backyard." Green Night at the Morgantown Public Library 

***Saturday March 16  9 am- 1 pm (or sooner if we finish earlier) Volunteers Needed for Envelope Stuffing for Sierra Club's Fundraising Appeal
We can use 6-10 people and this is generally a nice social time as we work together. We welcome anyone who is willing to help. Bring snacks to share if you like.
Held at the home of Jim Kotcon and Candice Elliott in Cheat Lake. Check with Candice at 594-3322 for directions.

***Thursday, March 21st, Master Naturalist classes start for 2013. The Master Naturalist Program, run by the WV DNR, consists of lectures and field trips led by botanists and other nature interpreters. The core mission of the program is to train volunteers to assist government agencies, schools and NGOs with research, outdoor recreation development and environmental education and protection. Info at Email to join.

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