Friends of Blackwater receives recognition for promoting the Blackwater River Watershed from the West Virginia Watershed Network.
Statewide, WV. – Local volunteer organization Friends of Blackwater received the Promotion Award for their efforts to make everyone aware of beauty, fascinating natural assets, and history of the Blackwater River watershed. The West Virginia Watershed Network presented the award at the West Virginia Watershed Symposium held at Canaan Valley Resort State Park this year on September 29th -30th.
Friends of Blackwater (FOB) works to protect and promote natural beauty, diverse creatures, unique heritage, and the outdoor recreation economy in the Mid-Atlantic Allegheny Highlands – home to the magnificent, 10,000-acre Blackwater Canyon, which they label “West Virginia’s Scenic Crown Jewel.”
FOB has produced a cascade of events, volunteer days, and social media posts recently, which are all designed to increase pride, enjoyment, and interest in the Blackwater River watershed. The Network cited their series of nature walks with naturalists knowledgeable about birds, amphibians, moths, and plants. The Network also cited the group’s volunteer workdays for removing invasive, non-native vegetation and planting native plants. Finally, the Network cited Friends of Blackwater’s promotion of the story of Carrie
Williams, the teacher at the Coketon Colored School, who objected when the County wanted to reduce the school year at her school to five months when other schools had a nine month school year, and of J.R. Clifford, West Virginia’s first African American attorney, who brought the case to court and won.
FOB has also released posts on social media, including more than 50 Youtube videos covering natural history, industrial history, water monitoring, and waterfalls in the watershed. They have more than 160 posts on Instagram, many of them showing stunning views of Blackwater Falls, curious creatures, and majestic forests. They make residents and visitors proud to be connected with the watershed.
The WV Watershed Symposium (formerly Watershed Celebration Day) is hosted by the WV Watershed Network. The biennial event is held to provide resources for watershed groups’ work, raise consciousness about watershed groups, and recognize the efforts and accomplishments of watershed groups in West Virginia. It provides an opportunity for watershed volunteers to meet, learn from each other, and engage
in statewide collaborative efforts. Awards presented at the event also included: Restoration for a group excelling at fixing issues in their watershed, Vigilance for a group working to ensure environmental water laws are followed, Education for a group that teaches its community about water,watersheds, and aquatic communities, as well as Watershed Hero to one person who goes above and beyond expectations for their own organization and for watershed organizations across the state.