Cub scouts investigate tadpoles while on a group tour at the WVBG.

Photo by Erin Smaldone.

Ever wonder why the West Virginia Botanic Garden (WVBG) located off Tyrone Road is not called the “Morgantown Botanic Garden”? The answer is simple. Even though it is located right here, the value goes far beyond Morgantown. The garden’s value benefits the entire state.

For those of you who have not experienced the Garden, let me enumerate some of why it is so important to our area. The Garden is a great place to get out in nature, and do it safely. There are miles of trails, some of which circle a wet area that was formerly Tibbs Run Reservoir, the water supply for Morgantown. Trails also run through wooded areas that include 17 acres of virgin hemlock. Joggers, hikers, pet walkers, bird watchers, etc. all take part in getting exercise in our Garden. And on any given day, you may bump into a neighbor or someone from Missouri, or New York, or who knows where?

Perhaps the biggest value of the Garden is education. There are educational programs almost every week. For a complete list of programs, go to How about the Summer Nature Camps for children ages four through fourteen? There are also school programs and a Family Walk held on the second Friday of every month. Would you like a private group tour of the Garden? Give the Garden a call.

The biggest children’s event of the year is the Fall Children’s Festival, which this year will be held on Sunday, October 8. For young children it is a fun-filled and free day. Over 80 volunteers will be there to make sure your children have a great Garden experience.

How does all of the above happen? It takes volunteers and money. The volunteer number grows as the Garden grows, but they can  always use another hand. There are garden work days where you can get dirt under your nails helping plant and weed, etc. For  those who can’t do much physical work, the Garden has a spot for you to help as well. You can spend time greeting visitors at the  Welcome Center. Plans are to try and have volunteers there every day of the week, so they will need lots of help. For a complete list of all the types of volunteer help needed, go to the website and look under “Help WVBG Grow.” You can also contact Kay Jones at

You can also help your Garden grow by becoming a member, making a donation, or becoming a sponsor. The Garden’s annual September fund-raiser is looking for sponsors. The value for businesses in our region is the publicity they get for helping sponsor Garden events.

Can you tell that I am a big fan of the potential of the West Virginia Botanic Garden to grow and bring visitors to Morgantown? And educate our kids? And provide a safe place to walk? Why not pay the Garden a visit and see why it has so much value for Morgantown and the state of West Virginia? For more information on any of the above email or call 304-322-2093.

by Dr. Dave Samuel, WVBG board member

Editor’s note: this article is adapted from an article originally written for the Dominion Post Newspaper, April 2017. This version was originally published in our Summer 2017 newsletter.

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