New River Birding & Nature Center
“Sharing secrets of science and nature in the New River watershed with West Virginians and their friends”
With a gorgeous view in any season, this gem of a spot drips with migrating birds and overflows with plant and wild life. Since 2008, the New River Birding & Nature Center (NRBNC) serves as an environmental education hub for residents, businesses, and visitors from across and beyond West Virginia. School groups, families, and adults who visit the site benefit from programs and guided field trips, and self-interpretive activities unavailable anywhere else in the region.
Situated in Wolf Creek Park, the NRBNC is an initiative of Fayette County Urban Renewal Authority and has close affiliations with schools (home, public and private), the Boy Scouts of America Summit Bechtel Reserve, New River Gorge National River, the whitewater industry, regional environmental groups, government entities, and others.
Currently the NRBNC is an outdoor classroom featuring a Wetlands Boardwalk and self-interpretive Woodland Trails. At build out, it will include a LEED-certified structure (main building with meeting hall, research labs, classrooms, library, offices, etc.), a teaching-learning outdoor amphitheater, and a network of self-interpretive nature trails that radiate throughout the residential and business areas. Planners are seeking funding to enable groundbreaking for the NRBNC’s primary building and infrastructure.
NRBNC’s Wetlands Boardwalk is handicapped-accessible; upon completion it will meander a half mile through a unique 15-acre beaver-maintained wetland that borders Wolf Creek itself. Boardwalk construction began in 2009 with an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) team, and prefabrication assistance from high school students at Fayette County Career and Technical Institute; they installed the first 265-foot stretch, complete with a teaching platform and proposed water sampling stations. Now approximately 400′ in length and with a gazebo (Bill Thompson Jr Memorial Gazebo) overlooking the first beaver pond, the Wetlands Boardwalk allows access to a habitat seldom experienced and provides a place for first-hand exposure to the importance of wetlands and watersheds.
Dr. Bill Hilton Jr. is retained as consulting director. Hilton is a nationally known, award-winning educator-naturalist and researcher, named one of “50 Best Brains in Science” by Discover magazine (December 2008). Even at its early stages of development, NRBNC has had positive impact through wetlands education. Consulting director Hilton and NRBNC staff have made presentations in Fayette County schools and led instructional field trips on the Nature Center’s Woodland Trails and Wetlands Boardwalk.
Persons residing in and employed at Wolf Creek Park benefit immediately from what the Nature Center has to offer, with opportunities to relax and learn along the trails during lunch or after work. In addition, school groups, families, and adults who visit the site benefit from programs, guided field trips, and self-interpretive activities unavailable anywhere else in the region.
You can help build the Wetlands Boardwalk, increase environmental education opportunities, and create serene access to a remarkable environment for all to enjoy – click here for more information on tax deductible donations to sponsor or dedicate a section of Wetlands Boardwalk
Located near the intersection of Appalachian Drive and SR-16, just off of US-19. Enter Wolf Creek Park via Nick Rahall Greenway; pass Bridge Brew Works, (steel building on left); turn left down the graveled road to the Wetlands Boardwalk and Nature Trails. Once there, you wouldn’t know you’re only half a mile from the highway.
Coordinates: 38.017170 -81.111438
Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/NewRiverBirdingNatureCenter