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Joe Manchin III, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release : August 8, 2007

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381
Vickie Hash, Director’s Office (304) 558-2754

40th Anniversary of Nature Wonder Weekend to be Celebrated by “Connecting People with Wild Food” September 21-23 at North Bend State Park

Forty years of the popular Nature Wonder Weekend will be celebrated with the theme “Connecting People with Wild Food” September 21-23 at North Bend State Park near Cairo, West Virginia. Participants will learn the identification and uses of wild plants while honoring the wild foods featured in various state festivals and those who prepare them.

Four decades ago the annual weekend event began and was called one of the most unusual and enjoyable weekends in outdoor West Virginia. This is still true today, and it provides an opportunity to share wild plant lore within the setting of two nights at North Bend State Park cabins and campground, with five conventional meals and wild foods social hours and parties.

Participants will get to meet Sam Thayer of Wisconsin, the young author of The Forager’s Harvest, during the Friday evening program. Thayer was a participant during the 2000 Nature Wonder Weekend, after which he organized a similar event in Wisconsin and published his well-received book.

Other special guests include Dianne Anestis of West Virginia, a Native American program presenter covering all phases of early wild plant usage, including medicinal use; and Dr. John Tomikel of Pennsylvania, a participant in the weekends since the days of the late wild foods personality Euell Gibbons (who attended from 1968-75), and who has written a comprehensive book about the history of the Nature Wonder wild foods weekends.

Other leaders during the weekend include Edelene Wood of the National Wild Foods Association; Emily Fleming, Assistant to the director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources; and Supt. Steve Jones and Asst. Supt. Kathy Metz of North Bend State Park.

Popular activities include a wild foods cooking contest (with two $50 prizes), a wild cake contest (with a $50 prize), a wild drink contest (with a Friendship Cup as the prize), wild food hikes, and workshops related to the identification and cooking of wild foods. Although wild foods are featured throughout the weekend, five conventional meals will be provided by North Bend Lodge Restaurant.

Reservations for cabins and campgrounds are available. For registration and reservation information, call the DNR Director’s Office at 304-558-2754 or Edelene Wood at 304-428-9590. Registration deadline is September 10.


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