Thursday, April 27, 2017

eBird Global Big Day May 13

Mark your calendars to participate in eBird's annual Global Big Day on Saturday, May 13. All you need to do is submit your bird sightings to eBird for that day and they are automatically included in the planet's total.
More info at:

Last year West Virginia birders found 158 species. The complete list is at

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Justice cancels state park fee

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice said late Tuesday he is ordering a cancellation of scheduled users fees at seven West Virginia state parks.
The Division of Natural Resources announced Monday it would charge visitors a $2 per car fee starting  Memorial Day. A $12 annual pass would have also been available for purchase.
In a statement released at a few minutes before midnight Tuesday, Justice said the program was put into place without his okay.
“West Virginians are struggling and at this time there is no way I can go along with charging a fee to enjoy our state parks,” Justice said. “The move was announced without my approval. It’s a bad idea and I’m going to fix it.”
Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen McDaniel said Monday on MetroNews “Talkline” the fees were part of a pilot program that would have generated $1.6 million for the park system budget.

Canaan Valley Birding Festival June 1 - 4

Thursday, June 1, 2017
8:00am - Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 8:00pm
Join us to see more than 100 species and forms of birds throughout Canaan Valley. All levels of birders and nature lovers are welcome.
Thanks to its diverse, high-elevation boreal habitat, Canaan Valley is the breeding ground for many Neotropical birds. Hardwood and Spruce forests, grasslands, and wetlands welcome a wide variety of species. Species include:
  • Bobolinks
  • Scarlet tanagers
  • Baltimore and Orchard orioles
  • Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Green Warblers
  • And more!
The beautiful scenery is a perfect setting for outdoor activity, whether you partake in the festival or just want to enjoy your surroundings.
For more information, check out our event flyer. (PDF)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

State parks to start charging admission

West Virginia state parks will begin requiring entrance passes of $2 per car at seven parks and forests as part of a pilot project to support the state parks system with maintenance and upkeep costs.  Additionally, there will be a $12 annual pass which will grant yearlong access to all state parks, including the seven which will soon be charging a fee.
Beginning Memorial Day weekend, passes will be required to enter Babcock State Park, Blackwater Falls State Park, Cacapon Resort State Park, Coopers Rock State Forest, Little Beaver State Park, Pipestem Resort State Park and Valley Falls State Park.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tickets available for Cheat Fest

ALBRIGHT - join Friends of the Cheat on May 5-6 to celebrate the 23rd annual Cheat River Festival, at the festival grounds off W.Va. 26, just north of Albright, about 30 miles from Morgantown.
Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. May 5 and at 11:30 a.m. May 6, with a lineup of music both days.
Pre-order your tickets online through May 4 at  Pre-sale tickets cost $5 for May 5 and $15 for May 6.  Kids 12 and younger are admitted for free.
Tickets may also be purchased in Morgantown at Black Bear Burritos (downtown and Evansdale locations), Morgantown Brewing Co., Power Yoga Morgantown and Phoenix Bakery, and in Kingwood at Brew Ha Ha Cafe.
Tickets will be sold at the gate from $10 on May 4, and $20 on May 6.  Camping is not included in entry, but Teeter's Campground and Cheat Canyon Campground are a short walk from the fest site.  Glass Bottles and pets are strictly prohibited.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Garlic Mustart Pulling Opportunities at the WVU Arboretum

It is certainly spring in Morgantown.  Here at WVU Core Arboretum, the spring ephemeral wildflowers are in full bloom!  Growing among our treasured native spring ephemerals, however, are some invasive plant species.  These invasive
species, if not controlled, threaten the future of the native plants that many people come here to appreciate.  Control typically involves removal of plants to keep invasive plant populations at a low, manageable level. 

Control of invasive species is a large, labor-intensive annual task here at the Arboretum, and we accomplish it largely through the efforts of volunteers.  Would you like to help us protect the future of native plants in the Arboretum by removing invasive species?

We are hosting several garlic mustard pulling events this spring, including these next week:  

Monday, April 17, at 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 18, at 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 20, at 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday, April 21, at 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Please let me know ( if you plan to join and when you can help.  If you plan to arrive late, I can let you know where we will be.  All are welcome, so please share this with your friends and any groups to which you belong!  We will meet at the Arboretum parking lot.  Bags and gloves will be supplied.  Please wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty.  Long pants are essential and long sleeves are a good idea.  Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes.  It is not hard work (think weeding), but it does involve lots of walking through the woods and uneven terrain.

We will offer more opportunities in the future; this is just the start for the year!  If you have experience pulling garlic mustard and would like to schedule your own sessions at the Arboretum, let me know, and we can supply bags, gloves, publicity, etc.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a plant in the Brassicaceae family (like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, etc.) that was brought to the US many years ago as a plant used in food and medicine.  Although it is useful to people, the plant unfortunately escaped cultivation and invaded forest ecosystems.  It is capable of growing under the same environmental conditions as our spring ephemeral wildflowers, and it very effectively replaces them over time through direct competition for resources and release of chemicals that are toxic to other plant growth.  Garlic mustard is a biennial, meaning that each plant lives for two years.  The first year it exists aboveground as a basal rosette, a low circular patch of leaves without any real vertical stem.  During this first year of growth it accumulates resources and stores energy in a large root.  In early spring of its second year of growth, the plant quickly grows tall, leafy stems topped with heads of white flowers that produce very many seeds.  These seeds will sprout over the next several years, meaning that one plant causes many years of problems. 

The basal rosettes are pretty hard to locate, but the second-year, flowering plants are easily found once they start to get pretty tall.  These are the plants that we pull.  It is important to get the entire root, or it will just regrow (some people carry an old screwdriver or similar tool to dig around a bit and loosen them before pulling).  It is also important to remove all pulled plants from the premises and to do all pulling before the plants begin dropping seeds.  This means that we have a pretty tight window in which to work:  garlic mustard pulling season.  We try to be very thorough and remove all plants, but plants and roots are always missed and seeds are always being re-introduced, meaning that this is likely to be an annual event for a long time.  The task should diminish in size, however, as we slowly reduce the seed bank present in the soil.  We bag and remove all collected plants, and they are composted in a sacrificial area away from the Arboretum or disposed of in the municipal waste stream. 

Thank you!

Zach Fowler

WVBG Wetland/Amphibian Walk 1pm, April 30

The popular Wetland/Amphibian Walk is set for 1 pm, April 30.  Prepare to get your feet wet and to learn about salamanders, tadpoles, turtles and other wetland amphibians.  Free.  Register online

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Morgantown Area Paddlers Outings

MAP Outing Thursday, April 13Let's meet at 1:00 p.m. at the Van Voorhis Landing kayak/canoe launch.  We will head north and back for 2-3 hours.  Overcast, but no rain in forecast, high 68, and winds light and variable.  Bring all the usual things, sunscreen, cap, drinks, snacks, towel, mobile phone/camera, etc.

MAP Outing Friday, April 14 Let's paddle the Big Sandy from Bruceton Mills to Clifton Mills (or close), 2.5-3 hours depending upon the current.  I'm hoping for spring wildflowers!  Meet at the boat ramp just above the splash dam (across from Padlz kayak/canoe rental) at 10:00 a.m.  Weather looks good - high 72, winds light and variable.  20% chance of rain, so bring rain gear and dry bag/garbage bag along with the usual.  Change of clothes to leave in the car might be wise.  Don't forget sunscreen, cap, drinks and lunch!
Mary Wimmer
Organizer, Morgantown Area Paddlers
361 Laurel St.
Morgantown, WV  26505
Cell phone:  304-685-5270

Monday, April 10, 2017

United Plant Savers Conference in Morgantown

I know nothing about this conference, but it's about the future of ginseng and forest botanicals.  Check out the link for more details.

Cranesville Swamp, Jim Sconyer's Back Yard Hike

April  15, 2017, 10:00 am
Cranesville Swamp, Jim Sconyer's Backyard Hike

Located in north eastern Preston County, the Cranesville Swamp is a unique mountain peatland created by a rare mixture of altitude, temperature, and precipitation.  It is home to a spectacular range of plants, birds, and mammal and it was home to the late, great Jim Sconyers, WV Sierra Club leader and mentor to many.  His remembrance  will be felt on this hike.   We'll walk the boardwalk and look at plants (including carnivorous) , bog, trees, etc. and then complete the walk on woods trail.  Expect a couple of muddy spots.  Rated easy on relatively flat landscape.  Hiking distance is 2 or so miles.  We should be done by noon.  This is a Nature Conservancy site.  Pets are not permitted.  Among your essentials, bring rain gear and  insect repellent.  Long pants tucked into socks are recommended to deter ticks and poison ivy.  After the hike, we can consider lunch at the Water Street Cafe in Friendsville, a 30 minute drive.
To preregister and for directions,  contact outings leader Ann Devine-King, 304-594-2636,

Nearest Town:  Terra Alta, WV
Web info:  Cranesville Sw
Parking is limited and car pooling is recommended.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Van Voorhis Kayak/Canoe Launch re-install - Monday, April 10

On Monday morning, April 10, the Van Voorhis Landing Kayak/Canoe Launch is being put back together for another great season of paddling.  We need some strong people to help out Dave and Adam and others with moving the heavy gangplanks into place and the wheeled entry pieces.

The sections are supposed to be delivered to the site by 10:00 a.m.  I'd like to have everyone ready to go by then, so getting there by 9:45 would be good.  It would also help if you had access to waders, for a few lifters may need to enter the water's edge. 

There are 3 main parts to the re-install:
1.  The EZ Dock Company will be attaching the upper gangplank to the cement pad. 
2.  Then the lower gangplank attaches to the upper one very simply, once positioned (one long bar slips in). 
3.  Finally, the wheeled entry will be put in place (easy), and the railings re-attached (this will likely take the longest time-wise).

I would plan on at least a couple hours, but maybe longer to finish with Part 3.  Most helpers will only be needed for positioning the heavy gangplanks; however, it would be great if two more people could stay and help Adam and Dave put the railings on.

Bring your boats if you have time, for the day promises to be a beauty - high 79, no rain (or snow!), but a bit windy.

Please let me know if you are able to help us out Monday.  Thanks!
Mary Wimmer
Organizer, Morgantown Area Paddlers
361 Laurel St.
Morgantown, WV  26505
Cell phone:  304-685-5270

Volunteer opportunities with the Nature Conservancy of WV (click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mon River Trails Conservancy Trail Opener - April 8

On Saturday, Mon River Trails Conservancy will host a handmade market and spring two-mile walk in honor of Opening Day for Trails.  This national event encourages walkers, runners, cyclists and anybody who want to get outside to explore trails in their communities.
The Conservancy will be set up at the Terra Cafe outside patio from 10am - 3pm Saturday.  Trail maps and information about the rail-trails and the group's upcoming big-vision projects will be available.
Area artists will offer handmade jewelry, artwork and ceramics at the market.  Ten percent of each purchase will benefit the rail-trails.
The Mon River Rail-Trail walk will begin at 10:30am at Terra Cafe.  This is a family-friendly event.