Our Future

Since 1994 it has been a goal of the WVRRC to develop 227 acres on Bunner Ridge (just outside of Fairmont, West Virginia) as the future site of a new environmental education and raptor rehabilitation center. Colonel Jack "Hardrock" Bunner, who had a great vision for how wise use of this property could benefit the surrounding community, bequeathed this property to the Center. This center will house the continued rehabilitation of injured birds of prey, educational exhibits, classrooms, an auditorium, and administrative offices. A trail system would also be developed and maintained for educational and recreational purposes. This trail will set the scene for many discussions on manís relationship to air, water, land, and wildlife. Many aspects of the programming will remain volunteer-based with staff support for coordination, funding, and development.

The education birds the Center is permitted to keep are the highlight of the programming offered. Annie, Thunder, William, Neo, Vader, and Rupert will continue to be very important tools in the educational programming offered. A pond, stream, forest and rock formations will all be seen from the trail which could host self-guided tours and connect a series of outdoor classroom sites for formal or impromptu discussions on soils, forest, water or wildlife. It is hoped that professional development may be offered to educators to aid in the integration of environmental studies into the classroom. A survey conducted at the 2000 West Virginia Science Teacherís Association Conference gave strong indication that a facility such as this would be well utilized. 85% of those surveyed agreed that they would be interested in setting up field trips to the new Center. Someday rustic cabins may be developed for summer camps or recreational use. A workshop may be constructed for senior citizens that enjoy making birdhouses, feeders and other items to be sold in the gift shop. Artists and photographers may find an opportunity to participate in a workshop conducted with live birds of prey as subjects. A community lecture series could be offered to enable community members to gain knowledge and understanding to make more informed decisions in their communities. Internships could be established for students in wildlife research, animal and veterinary sciences and education.

Through partnerships with other organizations such as Marion County Parks and Recreation and the Resource Conservation and Development Council, programming offered to the public can become increasingly effective. Whether for a group of school students, educators, senior citizens, a family or individual the Center will have something to offer everyone.



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