Wildflower walks slated for Saturday at Kanawha State Forest

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A group of hikers during the 2015 Osbra Eye Memorial Wildflower Walks at Kanawha State Forest.

Guided hikes covering topics ranging from spring wildflowers and bird identification to edible plants and the history of the land that now makes up Kanawha State Forest will be among 10 themed walks in the woods taking place Saturday during the 2017 Osbra Eye Memorial Wildflower Walks program, sponsored by the Kanawha State Forest Foundation.

All hikes, except for a free 8 p.m. night hike departing from the Spotted Salamander Trail parking lot, are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. from the Kanawha State Forest swimming pool area. Registration for the day hikes begins at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $5 for adults and $2 for those under age 16. A hot dog sale and raffle will follow the hikes.

Hikes will be led by representatives of the state Division of Natural Resources and its Master Naturalist program, the Handlan Chapter of the Brooks Bird Club, the Mary Ingles Trail Blazers and the West Virginia Native Plant Society. Saturday’s hikes include two wildflower walks, one over easy to moderate terrain along Snipe and Shrewsbury Hollow trails and the other on moderate to difficult footing along White Hollow Trail. A combination tree and wildflower identification hike will take place alont Polly Trail over moderate terrain.

Participants in an aquatic life walk will use nets to catch and identify pond- and creek-dwelling insects, fish, and other water-dwelling creatures, while those taking part in a bird walk will cover easy to moderate ground in a variety of forest locations. Loaner binoculars will be available.

A walk covering trees and forest ecology will take place in the group camping area behind the pool, while a walk dealing with edible and useful plants will take place along easy-to-navigate Johnson Hollow Trail.

For those wanting to learn more about insects, nets will be available to catch and identify land-based bugs, with an emphasis on pollinators to understand their role in forest and garden ecology, during a walk in Dunlop Hollow. Learn more about how people lived in the area now encompassed by Kanawha State Forest before the forest was preserved by the state during a walk along newly restored, accessible Spotted Salamander Trail.

Those taking part in the 8 p.m. night hike are urged to bring flashlights or headlamps.

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