WVU Core Arboretum News and Notes

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

Events are cancelled at the Arboretum, but trail use is still welcome
Arboretum brochure map

August 1, 2020

Although we have cancelled all of our typical free public programming, our trails are still open for visitors to use at their own risk while following WVU's social distancing and mask wearing protocols. We do not have any indoor facilities to close. Outdoor activity is a great way to stay healthy and happy during stressful times, and we are proud to offer a place where this can happen. Stay healthy, everyone!

by Zach Fowler

WVU Core Arboretum Spring, Summer, and Fall events cancelled for 2020
spring ephemerals

April 2, 2020

We are sorry to announce that we are cancelling all of our Spring, Summer, and Fall outreach events at the Arboretum this year because of COVID-19. This cancellation includes the WVU Department of Biology Spring Wildflower Walks, the Mountaineer Audubon Spring Bird Walks, the Spring Flower Festival, the Nature Connection Series talks, the Pawpaw Parties, and the WV Pawpaw Festival. We are heartbroken to lose these opportunities to freely share the beauty of the Arboretum with the public this year, but we are keeping the loss in perspective. Stay healthy, everyone!

by Zach Fowler

WVU Core Arboretum/WVU Herbarium 2020 Newsletters
February 26, 2020

Click on the images below to access pdf versions of the newsletters.

Core Arboretum Newsletter 2020        Herbarium Newsletter 2020

Christmas Bird Count for Kids at WVU Core Arboretum
chickadee photo

December 4, 2019

Bring your kids to WVU Core Arboretum on Saturday, December 7, from 9:30 am to 12:30 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 120 year old citizen science effort coordinated by the National Audubon Society, then we will do a bird walk and count of our own in the Arboretum. We will also have information available about how to participate in the real Christmas Bird Count the following week. 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 will tally our birds and celebrate with hot drinks and snacks after the bird walkers return from their walks. 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 Parties and Pawpaw Festival at WVU Core Arboretum

September 10, 2019

Come to WVU Core Arboretum to taste pawpaws! 

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 the Arboretum’s trees typically produce enough ripe fruit to gather and share sometime in September. 

To celebrate and share this delicious fruit that grows naturally in WV, WVU Core Arboretum hosts Pawpaw Parties every year. Even though pawpaws are fairly common, many people have never tasted a pawpaw, and we hope to change that! Pawpaw Parties are rather informal, but they have become a much-anticipated annual event at WVU Core Arboretum, and this will be our fifth year doing it! A table will be set up in the lawn area at the Arboretum, and all are welcome to stop by and try a pawpaw. Literature about pawpaws and how to grow the pawpaw seeds that will be left after trying the fruit will also be available. Depending on how long the pawpaw season lasts, we will try to host several Pawpaw Parties. Pay attention to the Calendar of Events section of this webpage and our social media pages for more details. Pawpaw Parties are free and open to the public.

Also, on September 28, we are having the second annual WV Pawpaw Festival at the Arboretum! We are collaborating with Neal Peterson from Peterson Pawpaws and local chefs including Marion Ohlinger from Hill and Hollow to present pawpaws to the public in both fresh and prepared versions. We are also going to have live music and fun activities for all at the Pawpaw Festival. More information about the Pawpaw Festival will be posted soon, as we get plans finalized. The Pawpaw Festival is also free and open to the public, and we hope to see you there!

by Zach Fowler

Moth Night 2019 at WVU Core Arboretum
national moth week

July 13, 2019                 

National Moth Week is July 20-28, and WVU Core Arboretum is celebrating by inviting everyone to a Moth Night at the Arboretum! Friday, July 26, from 9:00-11:00 pm we will have sheets and lights 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 more than 75 species of moths and numerous other 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 cancelled if it is raining.

by Zach Fowler

Nature Connection at WVU Core Arboretum
nature connection series pawpaw

May 29, 2019                 

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. The 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 moved or cancelled if the weather is inclement. Come be a part of the WVU Core Arboretum nature crew!

The 2019 WVU Core Arboretum Nature Connection Series is supported by the WVU Department of Biology, the WVU Core Arboretum Endowment, the Robert C. Cull Outreach Fellowship, and donations from the public. All speakers are volunteers. Thank you to all who support the mission of WVU Core Arboretum!    

by Zach Fowler

WVU Core Arboretum Spring Flower Festival 2019
Virginia bluebells

March 25, 2019 

Come to WVU Core Arboretum for our second annual Spring Flower Festival on Saturday, April 20, 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.

We will have wildflower tours, live music, lawn games, nature activities for kids, food trucks, live music and lots of information about other Arboretum programming. These flowers only last a couple weeks every year, so catch them while they’re out! 

(Learn more about the spring ephemeral wildflowers.)

by Zach Fowler

Free, guided walks begin April 7 at WVU Core Arboretum
spring ephemeral wildflowers

March 11, 2019 

Spring will soon be here! Mark your calendars for the WVU Department of Biology spring ephemeral wildflower walks and the Mountaineer Audubon spring bird walks. These free, guided tours are a spring tradition at WVU Core Arboretum. Last year, in the course of three wildflower walks and four bird walks, over 45 species of plants were seen in bloom and over 70 species of birds were seen and/or heard. The wildflower walks will happen on Sundays in April (April 7, 14, 21, and 28) at 2 pm. The bird walks will be the last two Tuesdays in April and the first two Tuesdays in May (April 23, 30 and May 7, 14) at 7:30 am. All tours will meet in the Arboretum parking lot. Additional free parking is available at the nearby WVU Coliseum. No reservations are needed. Dress appropriately for the weather and for hiking. Additional wildflower tours will be added to the schedule in April, as volunteer tour leaders become available! (Read more about spring ephemeral wildflowers.)

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

WVU Core Arboretum spring ephemeral flower poem

April 28, 2018 

The following letter and poem were recently shared with our director as an email from a visitor from China. Please read them; the poem is excellent, and it really captures the ecology of the spring ephemeral wildflowers! 

fuchen wang letter fuchen wang poem english fuchen wang poem chinese
by Zach Fowler

Graduate student research at WVU Core Arboretum
Meghan JensenAugust 10, 2016

How does wildlife adapt to urban areas? This is one of the major questions for my dissertation research at West Virginia University. The secretive and elusive Cooper’s hawk was once only seen in dense forested areas but is a now a common visitor in our backyards and city parks. This makes this bird an ideal candidate for understanding how species are adapting to urban environments. For my research, I have been taking genetic samples from Cooper’s hawks all across the country to compare those that nest in urban areas to those that nest in more traditional forested areas. The Arboretum has been home to a few different species of birds of prey including red-tailed hawks, barred owls, and Cooper’s hawks. In at least the last two summers, a breeding pair of Cooper’s hawks have chosen the Arboretum as the best place to raise their young, and I was lucky enough to catch these birds to collect genetic samples for my research (the birds were released unharmed back to their nest). Using these samples, I hope to get a better understanding of how the genes of wildlife change as a result of living in close proximity to humans. The Arboretum is home to dozens of species of wildlife, including the Cooper’s hawk, which makes this place an important safe haven in an urban jungle.

by Meghan Jensen

Meghan Jensen is a Ph.D. candidate in the Wildlife and Fisheries Program of the WVU Division of Forestry and Natural Resources.

News and Notes Archive

WVU Core Arboretum Calendar of Events 

May 5:  Spring Bird Walk (7:30 am)
May 6:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
May 12:  Spring Bird Walk (7:30 am)
May 13:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
May 19:  Spring Bird Walk (7:30 am)
May 20:  Work Day Wednesday (4:00 pm - 7:00 pm)
May 27:  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