Photo by Cindy Phillips
The Friends of the 500th, through its Environmental Education Committee, seeks to give students and visitors of all ages a reason to enjoy the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge. We work in close cooperation with Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge to promote environmental stewardship, especially of the Refuge, and recognition of the Refuge as a positive resource to the community. We do this by offering a wide variety of programs, teaching materials, teacher training, and field trip opportunities, including grants to help with the cost of bussing students.
For Kids and Families:
Nature Walks and Talks
Do you enjoy walking in nature? Would you like to know more about what you are seeing? A variety of walks and talks are scheduled to help you learn more and enjoy the camaraderie of others that enjoy nature. It may be an early morning bird walk or an afternoon ‘What’s Blooming?’ ramble. These are scheduled throughout the year with at least one every summer weekend. Most of these are co-sponsored by the Refuge and the Friends of the 500th. Program dates and times vary, depending on the cycle of nature and the availability of the presenters. Check out thefor dates, times and topics.
Storytime is an opportunity for curious preschoolers to explore the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, looking, examining, observing and having fun in and with nature. A book fitting the topic for the month is read. Storytime is held from 10-11:30 a.m. the second Friday of each month from March through December. To see our upcoming schedule, see the Refuge view the Storytime brochure (PDF).or
Master Naturalist Program
Why are wetlands so important? Is it a Red Spruce or a Balsam Fir? Was Canaan Valley once a mountain like the Himalayans? Become a part of the West Virginia Master Naturalist Programtm, developed by the WV Division of Natural Resources, and learn the answers to those and many other questions. You can become Certified WV Master Naturalists by completing 64 hours of instruction in topics such as General Ecology, Wetland, Aquatic and Terrestrial Habitats, Mammals, Insects, Amphibians and Reptiles, Habitat Improvement for Wildlife and Nature Interpretation and Teaching and completing 30 hours of nature related volunteering.
Valley Vibes is a monthly series of informative talks held on the third Saturday of each month at 7 pm. Topics range from biology to natural and cultural history and even photography. Presentations are usually held at the Refuge Visitor Center and are family friendly. Consult the Refugefor upcoming programs.
Let’s Go Outside Backpacks
Check out a backpack full of fun for the whole family from the Refuge Visitor Center. Inside you’ll find binoculars, a bug jar, books, nature activity cards, and even a magnifying “microscope”—all perfect for kids, their families and discovery. Take a trip into nature…even if it’s just in your own backyard.
Interested in birding but not ready to invest in equipment or birding books—or maybe you arrived in Canaan Valley without your favorite binoculars? Stop by the Refuge Visitor Center. We have bags to loan for a day or a week. Inside you’ll find standard binoculars and an informative birding book.
The Visitor Center has a rich series of interactive displays designed to help visitors better understand the different habitats and wildlife found on the Refuge. In addition, there is a Touch Table with new, seasonally relevant topics designed to help children and adults alike learn more about what they can see out in the Refuge. Drop in and make leaf rubbings, pine cone bird-feeders or tracks in the sand. A map to suggested viewing sites is also included.