Mushroom Meander 2022
Hikers in Watoga State Park
Birding 2022
Hikers in Watoga State Park

West Virginia Mountain Odyssey: Outings, Education, and Beyond

Encouraging community engagement, environmental education, and ecological enrichment in the West Virginia Highlands.

The West Virginia Mountain Odyssey Program: Outings, Education and Beyond is an initiative by the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy aimed at connecting people with the natural wonders of the West Virginia Highlands and creating a culture of environmental stewardship within local communities. Through outdoor excursions, educational programs, and community engagement, the Mountain Odyssey Program seeks to inspire a deeper appreciation and understanding of our natural environment and provide opportunities for people to learn about and experience nature.

We invite you to join us for bird walks, guided hikes, paddling trips, snorkeling events, environmental workshops, and to be a part of forest restoration, water quality monitoring, clean-up efforts, and so much more.

Upcoming Events

Birding in Blackwater Falls State Park - May 12

Join us for a Mother’s Day bird walk at Blackwater Falls State Park on Sunday, May 12. We will meet at 10 a.m. at the Allegheny Trail trailhead (aka River Road Trail) by the bridge on Route 32 in Davis, West Virginia. This is a rain or shine event! Please bring your own rain gear, water and snacks/lunch. This walk will be led by local bird expert Casey Rucker.

Bird Walk and Banding Demo + Old Hemlock Farmhouse Tour - July 14

Spend the morning with us at the Old Hemlock property in Preston County for a bird walk, farmhouse museum tour, and optional bird banding demonstration on Sunday, July 14 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Old Hemlock was the home of George Bird and Kathryn Harris Evans. The Old Hemlock property contains virgin hemlock trees and is maintained in its natural state with multi-age woodlands as a nature and wildlife preserve. The property was added to the National Register of Historic places in 2015.

The excursion will include a gentle bird walk (one mile) through mature and young forest habitat, a tour of the historic house, an overview of George and Kay’s life, a short presentation on the scientific management of 232 acres, and visitors may have an option to stay longer to walk the trails, visit the virgin hemlock forest and watch a bird banding demonstration. This tour will be led by LeJay Graffious, administrator of the Old Hemlock Foundation.

We suggest you bring a bagged lunch. Restrooms are available on the property.

Learn more about Old Hemlock Foundation.

Old Growth Forest Hike and Tree Survey in Tucker County - August 17

Hike to the site of the proposed Upper Cheat River timbering project in the Monongahela National Forest near Parsons, West Virginia, and learn about the old growth characteristics of this site from ecologist and local resident John Coleman of Speak For The Trees Too. We will meet at the Horseshoe Recreation and Campground Area Day Use parking lot at 10 a.m.

The hike will involve measuring trees to determine their age. A small grove of trees documented in this area are over 200 years old. The hike will require a 0.5 mile hike up a steep ridge. Total time for hike and survey 3-4 hours. We suggest you bring a bagged lunch!

Old Growth Forest Hike at Audra State Park - November 9

Visit the old growth tract in Audra State Park near Phillipi, West Virginia, on November 9 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The old growth tract here is easily reached and explored. Naturalist and ecologist Doug Wood will lead this hike.

This program is supported by the American Water Charitable Foundation.