WVU Core Arboretum News and Notes

Moth Night 2024 at WVU Core Arboretum, in memory of Sue Olcott
moth night

June 24, 2024                 

National Moth Week is July 20-28, and WVU Core Arboretum is celebrating as we do each summer by inviting everyone to a Moth Night at the Arboretum! 

Thursday, July 25, from 9:00-11:00 pm we will have lights and sheets set up in the Arboretum lawn area to attract moths, and there will be experts on hand to identify the moths that we attract! Last year, we saw over 100 species of moths and numerous other insects. We will also have people from the WVU Insect Zoo at the event with some of their displays and live insects. There is not a formal program for this free event, and all are welcome to stop by any time between 9 and 11 to learn about moths and how to attract and study them. Bring a flashlight. The event will be rescheduled if it is raining.

We are remembering Sue Olcott at this year's event. Sue was a local nature expert who we lost suddenly to cancer this year. Sue was the one who inspired the first Moth Night at the Arboretum, back in 2017. She came to the Arboretum to film a television segment on moths, and an idea was born. Sue was our resident moth expert for the event from then on, and she is in our cover photo. Thanks, Sue, we miss you! 

by Zach Fowler

Nature Connection Series at WVU Core Arboretum
nature connection series

June 1, 2024                

Local and regional experts on a variety of nature-related subjects give public talks at the Arboretum each summer as part of the WVU Core Arboretum Nature Connection Series. Nature Connection Series talks happen on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 at the WVU Core Arboretum Amphitheater, starting in early June and continuing through late August. See either our Calendar of Events  or Nature Connection Series page for speakers and talk titles. These talks are free and open to the public, and no registration is required. All of the talks are outdoors, so please dress for the weather. Talks will be cancelled and rescheduled if the weather is inclement. Come and join the WVU Core Arboretum nature connection crew!

WVU Core Arboretum Nature Connection Series is supported by the WVU Department of Biology, the WVU Core Arboretum Endowment, and donations from the public. All speakers are volunteers. Thank you to all who support the mission of WVU Core Arboretum!    

by Zach Fowler

Help WVU Core Arboretum on Day of Giving
nature connection series

March 15, 2024 

WVU Day of Giving is Wednesday, March 20!

Please help WVU Core Arboretum on Day of Giving this year as we start the Arboretum Lawn Area and Amphitheater Accessibility Fund. It has long been our goal to make the Amphitheater and Lawn Area accessible to more people so that events such as Nature Connection Series, WV Pawpaw Festival, and Spring Flower Festival are more truly open to all. We have worked with WVU students in Vaike Haas’s Landscape Architecture classes to develop proof of concept, but it will be a costly project! That is why we are asking for help. Thanks to a generous gift of $50,000 from Dr. Lee Petsonk and Susan Brown, we are starting the WVU Core Arboretum Lawn Area Accessibility Fund! Gifts to the Arboretum on Day of Giving this year will unlock this gift and initiate a fund that will allow us to begin and, with additional gifts, complete the accessibility project. Dr. Petsonk’s mother suffered from polio and its lasting impacts on her mobility, and his family was always aware of the importance of making community programming accessible to as many people as possible. He and his wife, Susan Brown, are excited for the opportunity to get this important project started, and they challenge both the University and local communities to help! Follow this link to give on Wednesday, March 20: https://dayofgiving.wvu.edu/amb/arboretum. Thank you to Dr. Lee Petsonk, Susan Brown, and all who help the Arboretum work toward its full potential!

WVU Core Arboretum Spring Flower Festival 2024
spring flower festival flyer 2024

February 14, 2024 

Come to WVU Core Arboretum for our sixth annual Spring Flower Festival on Saturday, April 13, from 2-6 pm! This family-friendly, free event is open to everyone and will showcase the beautiful spring ephemeral wildflower display that happens every year in the Arboretum's old-growth forest preserve.

We will have a self-guided wildflower tour, live music, food trucks in the parking lot, and other fun activities. These flowers only last a couple weeks every year, so catch them while they’re out! Learn more about the spring ephemeral wildflowers here

by Zach Fowler

WVU Department of Biology Spring Ephemeral Wildflower Walks start April 7

February 14, 2024 

Spring is almost here, and we are very excited to share our spectacular old-growth forest and its spring ephemeral wildflowers with the public again this year. Mark your calendars for the WVU Department of Biology Spring Ephemeral Wildflower Walks! These free, guided walks will happen on all Sundays in April at 12:00, 12:30, 3:00, and 3:30. Free online registration is required so that we can keep group sizes reasonable. Please use this link to register: https://wvuarboretumflowerwalks2024.eventbrite.com. More information is available in the registration link. More tours may be added to the calendar, depending on volunteer guide availability. Groups wishing to schedule a group tour outside of this schedule should contact Zach Fowler, Arboretum Director, at zfowler@mail.wvu.edu. People are always welcome to visit and see the flowers on their own, too, and there will be information at the kiosk about how to find the flowers and how to identify the flowers that you find. Do not miss the flowers this year! Last year, more than 45 species of plants were seen in bloom over the course of the wildflower walks. (Read more about spring ephemeral wildflowers.)

by Zach Fowler

Mountaineer Audubon Spring Bird Walks start April 16
mountaineer audubon bird walk

February 14, 2024 

Spring will soon be here! Mark your calendars for the Mountaineer Audubon Spring Bird Walks. We are very excited to share our spectacular old-growth forest and its migratory birds with the public again this spring. The Mountaineer Audubon Spring Bird Walks will happen on the last three Tuesdays in April and the first Tuesday in May at 7:30 am each day. These are guided tours; volunteer guides will lead participants to the best birding spots in the Arboretum, and they will identify birds by sight and sound along the way. First time birders are welcome, and, thanks to a generous donation, we have binoculars to share with those who may not have them! These tours are free, and will meet in the Arboretum parking lot. Additional parking is available at the nearby WVU Coliseum. No reservations are needed. Dress appropriately for the weather and for hiking. Groups wishing to schedule a private group tour should contact Zach Fowler, Arboretum Director, at zfowler@mail.wvu.edu. People are always welcome to visit and see the birds on their own, too, and there will be Arboretum bird checklists at the kiosk. Last year, more than 70 species of birds were seen and/or heard over the course of these walks.

by Zach Fowler

Christmas Bird Count for Kids at WVU Core Arboretum
chickadee photo

December 1, 2023                 

Bring your kids to WVU Core Arboretum on Saturday, December 16, 2023, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm to learn about birds, birding, and how to participate in citizen science while spending some time outside on a winter day! We will learn about the Christmas Bird Count--a 124 year old citizen science effort coordinated by the National Audubon Society, then we will do a guided bird walk and count of our own in the Arboretum. Our bird count data will be collected as part of the real Christmas Bird Count! This event is most appropriate for school-age kids, but younger kids are welcome with appropriate supervision. No birding experience is necessary, and first-time birders are encouraged! We have binoculars to share with participants if you do not have your own, thanks to a recent donation to the Arboretum. We will tally our birds and celebrate with hot drinks, snacks, and a book read-aloud after the bird walkers return from their walk. The event will be outside, so please dress for the weather. This event is free and open to everyone, no registration required.

by Zach Fowler

Pawpaw Party at WVU Core Arboretum

September 20, 2023                 

Pawpaw Party time!! WVU Core Arboretum's annual Pawpaw Party will be Thursday, September 21, at 6:00-7:30 or while supplies last!

Come to the WVU Core Arboretum to taste pawpaws! Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is the largest fruit native to West Virginia. Pawpaws have a delicious, tropical flavor that some describe as a combination of banana, mango, and pineapple and a smooth, creamy texture. Pawpaws ripen in fall, and the Arboretum’s trees are just starting to produce enough ripe fruit to gather.

We will have a table set up in the lawn area, and all are welcome to stop by and try a pawpaw. We will also have literature about pawpaws and how to grow the pawpaw seeds that you will be left with after trying the fruit. Pawpaw Parties are free and open to the public, and no registration is required. 

West Virginia Pawpaw Festival at WVU Core Arboretum
pawpaw festival flyer 2023

August 23, 2023                 

Come to WVU Core Arboretum to taste, buy, and learn about pawpaws!

The 2023 WV Pawpaw Festival at WVU Core Arboretum will be Saturday, September 30, from 12:00-5:00 pm. This annual event celebrating an Appalachian autumn fruit is family-friendly, free, and open to the public, no registration needed. The festival will be in the Lawn Area at the Arboretum, and free parking is available in the adjacent WVU Coliseum parking lot. We will have Peterson Pawpaws select varieties of pawpaw fruit available to sample and purchase, samples of pawpaw dishes prepared by a chef, a talk by Neal Peterson of Peterson Pawpaws, the North American Pawpaw Growers Association booth, pawpaw trees and other native plants for sale, live music, food trucks, and more. Don't miss this special event and bring your friends!

The pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is the largest fruit native to West Virginia. Pawpaws have a delicious tropical flavor that some describe as a combination of banana, mango, and pineapple and a smooth, creamy texture. Pawpaws ripen in autumn, and we host several pawpaw events at the Arboretum each year to coincide with pawpaw season. Even though pawpaws are fairly common, many people have never tasted a pawpaw, and we hope to change that!

by Zach Fowler

Bird Banding Public Demonstrations at WVU Core Arboretum
bird banding bunting

May 15, 2023                 

Come to WVU Core Arboretum, along the Rail Trail, to learn about how researchers safely capture birds to study them! This is a monthly, event, so pay attention to our calendar or social media pages to learn about specific dates.

WVU professor Dr. Chris Rota and his students will set up mist nets to capture wild birds for their research, and they are happy to have people watch them do their work and get a close view of some beautiful birds. They will also talk about the important work that they do and answer questions about bird research. There is no formal program, stop in at any time to see what is happening. These events are free and open to the public, and they will be cancelled if there is rain. Please do not bring pets to avoid adding stress to the birds. Bring your friends, and let's hope the birds participate.

Since these events are down along the Rail Trail, it may be easier to park at the Star City Rail Trail parking lot and come South to the Arboretum on the Rail Trail.

by Zach Fowler

Monongalia Sinfonietta Community Orchestra in Concert at WVU Core Arboretum
mon sinfonietta at arboretum

June 6, 2022                 

Monongalia Sinfonietta Community Orchestra is playing a free concert at the Arboretum on Saturday, June 11, at 2 pm. The concert will be in the lower corner of the lawn area, so bring a lawn chair or a blanket. The concert will be moved to the Lutheran Campus Ministry at WVU Chapel if there is rain. Monongalia Sinfonietta Community Orchestra is a group of young at heart amateur classical string musicians who enjoy making music together.

by Zach Fowler

Shakespeare at WVU Core Arboretum Amphitheater
shakespeare 21

August 4, 2021                 

On Saturday August 7th, 2021, at 12pm and 5pm and Sunday August 8th, 2021, at 12pm, WVU Core Arboretum Amphitheater will be hosting a Shakespeare show. Tickets are by donation only and seating is first come first serve. This show highlights the themes of light and dark throughout the works of Shakespeare. This show is mainly recommended for ages thirteen and up.

Director Riley Barriger and Assistant Director Natalie Turkevich have been working on the show since mid-June and are excited to bring the show to the public. They have been working with actors Erica Cottrill, Paxton Marner, and Jordan Kennedy-Rae to put this production up in only one month. 

Director Riley Barriger says “I have been longing to do in-person theatre for over a year now.It’s been very refreshing and rewarding to work in person again. I can’t wait for people to come and experience the show that our wonderful team has put together.

Cottrill, Turkevich, Marner, and Barriger are current students at WVU who are earning various degrees from Theatre, Acting, and English. Kennedy-Rae is currently earning their BFA Acting degree at Ball State University. The various backgrounds of the team create a unique environment and approach to the work. 

Assistant Director Natalie Turkevich describes the show as “A collection of Shakespeare pieces reflecting the major themes of light and dark explored in a new and creative way.” Everyone in the team is excited to present this show the public and can’t wait to see you at the WVU Arboretum..

by Riley Barriger

Solace String Quarentet Concerts at WVU Core Arboretum
solace quarentet

July 12, 2021                 

Come to the WVU Core Arboretum Amphitheater on the third Thursday evening of each month at 6:30 pm for a concert of music from around the world by Solace String Quarentet. Solace String Quarentet is a group of friends who came together during the pandemic to play classical music together. In troubled times, there is solace in music. 

These shows are free and open to the public, and no registration is required. Free parking is available in the Arboretum parking lot and the adjacent WVU Coliseum parking lot. The show will be cancelled if there is rain.

by Zach Fowler

Running and Walking Loop installed at WVU Core Arboretum
running course sign

October 18, 2020

Explore the Arboretum and get some exercise on the WVU Core Arboretum Running and Walking Loop . This 1.75 mile loop has frequent signs to guide visitors along existing Arboretum trails through some of the most beautiful spots in the Arboretum while avoiding the steepest trails (it is still hilly). The loop is a great way for new visitors to see much of the Arboretum without worrying about bringing along a map, too! The loop starts and ends at the WVU Coliseum Parking Lot entrance to the Arboretum, and it is bisected by the Caperton Rail Trail. Follow the gold and blue signs to stay on the loop. The WVU Core Arboretum Running and Walking Loop was made possible by the efforts of the WVU Exercise Physiology Club.

by Zach Fowler

Help us with a citizen science bird study!
bird citizen science

June 1, 2018                 

The urban bird demography project seeks to understand patterns of survival and habitat use of urban birds in and around Morgantown, West Virginia. We do so by placing markers on birds that allow us to distinguish among individuals.  We then re-sight marked birds and record the location where we found the bird. You can help us re-sight marked birds!  Follow the link below to read more about the project and learn how you can help us re-sight marked birds.


by Chris Rota

Chris Rota is an Assistant Professor of Wildlife and Fisheries Resources at WVU

News and Notes Archive

WVU Core Arboretum Calendar of Events 

June 5:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
June 11:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): Hornyheads, madtoms, and darters: Narratives on Central Appalachian fishes by Stuart Welsh, US Geological Survey, Fisheries Research Scientist
June 12:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
June 18:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): Restoring red spruce in Appalachia: Why and how soils are used to assess restoration potential and guide decision making by Jim Thompson, WVU Division of Plant and Soil Sciences, Professor of Soils and Land Use
June 19:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
June 25:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): The landscape and economy of the Monongahela River region at the turn of the centuries (17th and 18th, that is) by Doug Wood, Historian of Connections between Humans and Environment
June 26:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
July 2:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): The magnificent work of Maria Merian: Artist and entomologist by Leroy Fowler, Young Naturalist
July 3:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
July 8:  Bird Banding Public Demonstration (7:30 am - 10:30 am)
July 9:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): Winged wonders of the night: The moth fauna of West Virginia by Tucker Cooley, Entomologist and Moth Expert
July 10:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
July 16:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): Enchanting eccentricity: The American woodcock’s tale by LeJay Graffious, Old Hemlock Foundation, Director and Bird Bander
July 17:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
July 23:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): Landscaping with native plants: Native plants for Northern West Virginia yards by Craig Barrett, WVU Department of Biology, Associate Professor
July 24:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
July 25:  Moth Night 2024 (9:00 pm - 11:00 pm)
July 30:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): Mushrooming in West Virginia by Bill Beatty, Wild and Natural—Nature Education and Consulting, Director
July 31:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
August 6:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): How West Virginia became the Mountain State by Claudette Simard, Fairmont State University, Geologist and Adjunct Professor of Earth Science
August 7:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
August 12:  Bird Banding Public Demonstration (7:30 am - 10:30 am)
August 13:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): How to live an awe inspired, wonder filled life: The art and science of forest bathing by Margi Bush, Certified Forest Therapy Guide, National Board-Certified Health and Well-Being Coach
August 14:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
August 20:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): Ephemeral pools: Critical amphibian breeding sites by John DeMary, Teacher and Naturalist, Expert on Vernal Pools
August 21:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
August 27:  Nature Connection Series (6:00 pm): Earth’s changing climate: Causes, consequences, and challenges by Bill Peterjohn, WVU Department of Biology, Emeritus Professor
August 28:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
September 4:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
September 11:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
September 18:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
September 25:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)

WVU Core Arboretum Trail Map

arboretum map  

If you want to follow signs on a 1.75 mile loop through much of the Arboretum, check out the WVU Core Arboretum Running and Walking Loop . This loop avoids the steepest hills, but it is still hilly.

Trail Map (pdf) | Trail Descriptions

Directions to WVU Core Arboretum

The WVU Core Arboretum is located adjacent to the WVU Coliseum and directly across Monongahela Blvd. from the WVU Creative Arts Center.

google maps core arboretum

Driving directions from points East on I-68

Driving directions from points North on I-79

Driving directions from points South on I-79

WVU Core Arboretum Photos