Monday, December 30, 2013

Recyle live Christmas trees January 1 to 8

The Monongalia County Solid Waste Authority, US Army Corps of Engineers, and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources will be accepting live-cut trees January 1 to 8. The trees will be used to help the environment and fish habitat at Cheat and Tygart Lakes. For more information:


Local bird enthusiasts will take to the back roads and back woods during the 32nd annual Elkins Area Christmas Bird Count on Thursday, January 2ND 2014. This event gives birders a chance to get together and have a good time while gathering information on bird diversity and abundance in the area. Participants will meet at 8:00am at the Division of Natural Resources Operations Center on Ward Road in Elkins. Both novice and experienced bird watchers are invited to take part.

The Elkins area count is just one of hundreds of Christmas Bird Counts that occur around the country this time of year. The aim is to tally all birds observed within a 7.5 mile radius of a given point. Over time these annual counts can reveal trends in populations of various avian species.

On the morning of January 2ND, birders will be grouped into teams of 2-3 observers, and assigned specific routes to survey. If you live in or near Elkins, you can participate by just tallying the birds in your yard by species and reporting that information.

Anyone interested in participating in this year's Christmas Bird Count should contact Rich Bailey of the WVDNR at or (304) 637-0245.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

More info on Coopers Rock New Year's Day Hike

From our social director Gregory Waggett:

Hi all! Hope you all had wonderful Christmas.
I'm sorry for not sending out an advance notification and putting off sending this invitation for so long. As we briefly discussed at our Orienteering class in November, we're going to Cooper's Rock for our second annual New Year's Day hike. For now, the NYD forecast is sunny and 38 degrees.
The state park is closed to traffic, but there's a parking area near the locked entrance gate. We'll meet at that parking lot at 10am New Year's morning. From the parking lot to the pavilion is 2 1/2 miles. We'll have a fire and snacks, and a toast to the New Year before heading back out. As always, carrying water for yourselves is advisable.
Please let us know by reply email if you plan on joining us so we'll know how many people to expect. Guests are welcome and so are their $2 or $3 donations to cover snacks and other supplies   :).  However, if we don't know they're coming, we can't plan accordingly.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

W.Va. joins other states with 'First Day' hikes

SOUTH CHARLESTON - Four West Virginia state parks have scheduled New Year's Day hikes to encourage people to get outdoors.  Participating in 2014 are Kanawha State Forest, Blackwater Falls State Park, Cacapon Resort State Park and Pipestem Resort State Park.  Last year, more than 22,00 people hiked more than 43,910 miles in state parks across the country.  Massachusetts began offering First Day Hikes in its parks more than 20 years ago, and the National Association of State Park Directors has issued a challenge to other states.  Officials said 50 state parks across the country are set to participate.

This year the Monongahela Master Naturalists will be holding their second annual first day hike at Coopers Rock State Forest.  Our social director Greg Waggett will be posting additional details in the very near future.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Trip to Nicaragua in April 2014

Dr Sheldon Owen is leading a trip to Nicaragua Apr 5-15 with an optional six day extension to bird the Caribbean Lowlands.  EcoQuest Travel has been leading trips to Nicaragua for thirteen years and is proud to partner with West Virginia's Master Naturalist Program on this special ecotourism adventure. 
For more information see the flyer or contact Sheldon (

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mountaineer Chapter of National Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Dec 14

The 15 mile diameter count circle will be divided into areas with a leader assigned to each.  The team leader will coordinate the bird count within each area with the team members.  The site map, team leaders, team members, start times, meeting location and the end of the day count dinner information can be  found on the website.  call 304-379-7505.

Friday, December 6, 2013

More training sites/dates for Trout Unlimited volunteers

They also have dates established for Morgantown and Fayetteville in January.
Go to for more information.

Emily Browning
Instructor of Biology
New River Community and Technical College
Nicholas Campus

Trout Unlimited seeking volunteers

Jim Fregonara of the WVDNR has requested that the following volunteer opportunity be announced:

Trout Unlimited to start new water quality program

First training session will be held at the Wood Technology Center, 10, 11th St., Elkins

Call or email to register on or before Wed 11th Dec.
An agenda will be emailed to registered participants.
Cost free.
Lunch provided.  

The program is being developed throughout the state to have volunteers that are able to identify potential issues resulting from shale gas drilling. The volunteers will be trained on collecting data on pH, conductivity, turbidity and stream cross-sectional area. They will also be trained on how to identify visual indicators of potential issues. Over the next few months I will be holding six different trainings throughout the state for any interested volunteers. Once trained the volunteers are asked to monitor on a biweekly basis so it is a bit of a commitment but the actual monitoring only takes about 15 minutes. Monitoring sites are going to be chosen based on volunteer interest, native trout populations, and the potential for shale gas development in the surrounding area. Our first training is going to be held in Elkins at the West Virginia Wood Technology Center on Saturday December 14th from 9am – 2:30pm. Let me know if you have any other specific questions. I will be happy to answer them for you!



Jaimie Holmes
WV-VA Water Quality Monitoring Coordinator
Trout Unlimited
(304)-614-6699 cell
(304)-463-4011 work

Trout Unlimited to start new water quality program
November 8, 2013
The Inter-Mountain
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Trout Unlimited and its West Virginia Council are partnering with the West Virginia Rivers Coalition (WVRC) to initiate a new volunteer water quality monitoring program.
The program will focus on training volunteers to monitor coldwater resources in West Virginia and Virginia that have the potential to be impacted by the increasing shale gas development.
The goals of the project are twofold. First, to educate volunteers about the potential impacts to fish and wildlife resources in the shale gas region of West Virginia and Virginia and train volunteers to effectively monitor the water quality in these areas. And second, to work with these trained volunteers to conduct water quality monitoring in all priority watersheds that have been identified by WVRC and TU's science team as critical for protecting ecologically significant lands and waters.

To register for the Dec. 14 training or for more information, call Jaimie Holmes at 304 614 6699 or email