GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Appalachian wildflower events are flourishing in attendance and programming in the New River Gorge region in southern and south-central West Virginia.
Thanks in part to the establishment of America's newest national park, the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, interest in the region's cultural and natural history is increasing, according to park ranger Jodi French-Burr, a spokesperson for the annual event, which now lasts more than a month.
"More than ever, exciting events are going on across the region—all of which celebrate the blooming of wildflowers in West Virginia," French-Burr enthused.
Now in its 15th year, the annual Spring Nature Fling celebration runs from April through mid-May and now includes "more communities, more galleries, more programming, more classes, and more arts," she said.
The celebration includes free guided hikes and talks with rangers and naturalists in the national park and adjacent state parks, where 60 to 70 species of spring-flowering plants have been observed.
Other wildflower-inspired events include nature-inspired art programs and nature workshops.
For more information, visit the park service's Spring Nature Fling information online.
French-Burr advises attendees to check the website for updates, as additional programs may be added. All guided hikes and exhibits are free, while some workshops may have a fee. Some activities require reservations.
Participants should bring water and wear sturdy walking shoes for hikes. An adult must accompany children. Tools like binoculars, a hand lens, a camera, field guides, and smart devices pre-loaded with nature apps are suggested but not required.
Follow and post photos at #SpringNatureFling to join in on this springtime fun!
Fans of wildflowers are encouraged to enjoy Youth Arts in the Parks 2023 Appalachian Spring Wildflower Art Contest exhibit at Tamarack and online beginning April 3 at Youth Art in the Parks.
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