PARSONS, W.Va. – Children explored the Cheat River on Friday to see what types of wildlife they could find, as part of Friends of the Cheat’s free snorkeling workshop.
Before exploring, participants were taught about the types of creatures they may see in the water and how to approach them.
“Friends of the Cheat thinks this is a really important activity to get students out in the water, especially when they’re young, and just get the public involved to really understand the amazing aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that we have in West Virginia,” said Madison Ball of Friends of the Cheat.
Staff members said their goal was to educate snorkelers about water pollution in the area and to encourage them to protect our rivers.
“We really want to get people out to experience what good water quality looks like, what a healthy ecosystem looks like, and just kind of start their passion for freshwater organisms,” said Ball.
They also said they hope participants walked away from the workshop with more respect for nature and water quality.
“Our number one goal is an appreciation and even a love for freshwater organisms and fish, creatures that inhabit the Cheat and its tributaries, and just to really understand what a healthy ecosystem looks like,” said Ball.
Friends of the Cheat and the Monongahela National Forest hosted three groups throughout the day. They plan to have more exploration events in the future.