The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

June 5, 2013

Wander through nature in your own back yard

— Local students grade 8 through adult will have the opportunity to work with one of Discover Magazine’s “50 Best Brains In Science” June 24-28 when the New River Birding and Nature Center kicks off the third year of its award-winning Wolf Creek Wanderers Program.

Scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon each day, the program takes place at the 1,000-acre Wolf Creek Park mixed-use development located on Route 16 between Oak Hill and Fayetteville. Those enrolled in the free program will be immersed in a hands-on nature experience that includes but is not limited to the use of technology in the field; square meter science; water quality testing; bird banding; plant, insect, amphibian and invertebrate identification; and wetlands education.

Dr. Bill Hilton Jr., a 30-year college and high school teaching veteran, and the only scientist in the world studying ruby-throated hummingbirds on both their summer and wintering grounds, is the chief instructor for the week.

To reserve a spot, those interested in the program should contact Rachel Davis at 304-574-4339 or by emailing Registration deadline is end of day Wednesday, June 19. Those enrolling (as well as parents of students) will be invited to a free kick-off breakfast at 8 a.m. on June 24 at Cathedral Café in Fayetteville to learn more about the program.

“We encourage students and life-long adult learners to take advantage of this opportunity. The program not only provides great preparation for future advanced science learning, but it does so in a relaxed environment which strives to turn the week of activities into a ‘vacation’ experience,“ Education Fund president Dave Pollard said.

“The Wolf Creek Park wetlands boardwalk is a phenomenal place in our own back yard to experience a wide array of nature-based moments that will create memories and spur a true appreciation of the natural world around us.

“Perhaps best of all, we create an opportunity for the participants to share their experiences with grade school children through a fall presentation delivered at a local school. This program would cost hundreds of dollars per student in most places, but thanks to funding from the non-profit Fayette County Education Fund and the United Way of Southern West Virginia we are able to provide it free of charge and we gladly do so in order to provide much-needed awareness of the environment.”