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Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release: April 30, 2013

Facebook: WV Commerce - State Parks

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 957-9365 hoy.r.murphy@wv.gov


Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, 304-420-4800;

Six Saturdays focus on nature at Blennerhassett Island

             PARKERSBURG, W.Va. – Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park is the setting for a series of nature programs in 2013 focusing on the area’s native plant and wildlife.

            The nature of an island is generally contained except for when materials or people arrive by boat, swim, or through flight. History reflects man and animal presence on the island since the Ice Age. The Ohio River, which surrounds Blennerhassett Island, contributes to the island’s natural history.

            The walks or activities are from 2 to 3:15 p.m. and are hosted by the Parkersburg/Marietta area master naturalists chapter known as the “Nature Nuts.”

            “Birds, insects, flowers, animals and trees have established themselves over the ages by wind, wing, water, and as hitchhikers,” said Emily Grafton, organizer of this Master Naturalist chapter. She is a certified instructor of master naturalist curriculum with interests in habitat development and pollinators, and invasive species’ effect and advancement on West Virginia native species. An avid birder, she also is a key leader at Blackwater Falls State Park’s Mountain BioDiversity Weekend held June 21-23, 2013.

            There is no charge to attend the interpretative activity. There is a charge for transportation to the island on the Island Belle sternwheeler. Tickets for the boat ride are sold at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History located on the corner of 2nd Street and Juliana in Parkersburg, W.Va. The sternwheeler departs for Blennerhassett Island from Point Park, a short walk from the museum.  There is free parking at the museum.

Six Saturdays at Blennerhassett Island, May – October, 2013

May 4: “Wildflowers & Invasive Weeds” – A guided walk

            Learn about the natural history of the wildflowers growing on the island. Identification of and discussion about invasive species present and how they displace our native wildflowers.

June 8: “All About Birds”

            At least 14 species of birds are adapted to life along the river. Learn bird characteristics through scavenger-like clues including the food that birds eat; descriptions of feet, beaks, and overall bird shape is part of the fun.

July 6: “Trees Have Feet Too” and more tree surprises

            A guided discovery walk about the ecological role of trees and the hidden functions of roots, xylem and phloem, bark and leaves to the water cycle and the health of trees. Learn about the large trees on the island.

Aug. 3: “Make at Bird Nest”

            Learn how birds build their nests. We’ll weave a nest of our own using natural items. Learn more about birds in the Ohio River area. Listen and watch for feathered friends.

Sept. 7 “Bugs, Bugs, Bugs” and they are busy, busy, busy!     

            Explore the world of insects and insect homes. Participants will learn to identify the various insects observed along the walk. We’ll collect insects for observation, then release. What’s that? Buzz. Insects!

Oct. 5 “Life in the River” – Fish, mussels, river ecology, etc.

            Discover life beneath the surface of the water. Learn the behavior and ecological role of several species.

            To learn more about Blennerhassett Island, tours, other activities and special events, visit www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com or call 304-420-4800.