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WVDNR nearing completion of new wildlife education center

ALUM CREEK, W.VA. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is getting ready to open a new wildlife education center in Kanawha County.

Construction of the Claudia L. Workman Wildlife Education Center near Alum Creek is on schedule and the $5 million, 9,500-square-foot facility is expected to open to the public later this summer.

“We’re still a few months away from the exhibits coming in, but once it’s all said and done this place will be a top-notch learning facility where we can get people outside and educate them about the outdoors,” said Roger Wolfe, a WVDNR engineer.

Located at the Forks of Coal State Natural Area near Alum Creek, at the confluence of the Big and Little Coal rivers, the center will feature educational space, an amphitheater and exhibits dedicated to the area’s ecology and wildlife species native to West Virginia. In addition to educational displays, the center will feature bird watching areas and hiking trails.

“We’ll have terrariums with small reptiles, a 1,500-gallon tank with native fish and animal displays, including a full-size elk mount,” Wolfe said. “Our plan is to evolve and rotate displays every so often so folks don’t see the same thing every time they come in.”

Wolfe said the center is on schedule to open this summer and will be a good place for families and nature enthusiasts to enjoy the outdoors. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is tentatively being planned with details to be announced at a later date.

The Claudia L. Workman Wildlife Education Center has been years in the making. Once completed, it will fulfill the vision of the center’s namesake, the late Claudia Workman, whose husband Jack donated the 105-acre tract of land to the WVDNR in 2015 so a nature-based education center could be built.