By Olivia Miller
The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy has recently been awarded a $4,050 grant from the Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area to create an informative 20-page coloring book highlighting the native flora and fauna of the West Virginia highlands.
The highlands of West Virginia encapsulate a unique and diverse range of native flora and fauna that we are interdependent on.
Beavers help create wetland habitats; elderberries and ramps provide food; trees provide shelter for animals and heat raw materials for humans; turkey tail mushrooms break down organic matter and make medicine in the process; bees and butterflies pollinate plants. The list goes on! We aim to encapsulate this circle of life with this project.
We will work with Appalachian cartoonist and illustrator Natalie Kovacs—known as Shapelessflame—to bring the Highlands Creatures Coloring book to life. Kovacs specializes in drawing critters of all kinds, and her illustrations and cartoons are created both traditionally and digitally.
We hope this coloring book will be a launchpad for children (and adults) to explore the highlands of West Virginia, as well as address the collective human impacts on the natural environment and learn ways to lessen these impacts.
The coloring book will be completed later in 2024 and will be available on the Conservancy’s online store. Stay tuned for updates in The Highlands Voice and on our social media.