Although “wildflower” is part of its name, the annual Osbra Eye Memorial Wildflower Walks cover a lot more ground than spring wildflowers.
This year’s program, which starts with registration from 8:30 to 9 a.m. on Saturday at the swimming pool area at Kanawha State Forest,includes hikes on topics ranging from birds and edible plants to insects and aquatic life.
Spring wildflowers remain the day’s starring attraction, and three wildflower hikes are scheduled — one in Shrewsberry Hollow over easy to moderate terrain; another over moderate to difficult trails through White Hollow, and a hike covering both trees and wildflowers along Polly Trail and moderate terrain.
The annual spring program of nature hikes is named in memory of the late Osbra Eye, a superintendent of Kanawha State Forest for 25 years and a self-taught botanist, naturalist and nature photographer.
This year, there will be a total of nine hikes, led by personnel from the state Division of Natural Resources, the Handlan Chapter of Brooks Bird Club, the Mary Ingles Trail Blazers and the West Virginia Native Plant Society. The hikes will take place between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Cost is $5 for adults and $2 for those under 16. A hot dog sale, door prizes and a raffle will be held after the hikes, which are sponsored by the Kanawha State Forest Foundation.
Hikes scheduled for Saturday’s event in addition to the three wildflower walks include:
n Aquatic Life — Participants use nets to catch and identify insects, fish and other water-dwelling forms of wildlife.
n Insects and their Forest Habitats — nets are used to catch and observe insects while exploring their niches in the forest.
n General Ecology — Aquatic life will be netted and observed in Davis Creek, and salamandersw will be sought along Overlook Rock Trail.
n Edible and Useful Plants — Plants that can be eaten or used as medicine will be sought in a slow and easy hike along Shooting Range Road.
n Birds and Forest Ecology — Learn to identify birds by sight and sound at various parts of the forest. Loaner binoculars available.
n Trail History — Explore the history of the West Virginia Scenic Trails Association in a moderate to difficult hike along Wildcat Trail.