Nature Wonder Wild Food Weekend

- 48th Annual Nature Wonder Wild Food Weekend -
Cairo, West Virginia
September 18 - 20, 2015

This summary page is hosted by Wild Food Adventures ™
Institute for the Study of Edible Wild Plants and Other Foragables
John N. Kallas, Ph.D., Director, Portland, Oregon

North American Wild Food Events

West Virginia's
Nature Wonder Wild Food Weekend

Join the longest running annual wild food event in North America. Held every Fall since it's inception in 1968, this event provides education and experience finding, processing, and feasting on edible wild plants and other foragables in a beautiful park setting in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Founded by Edelene Wood, the long running president of the National Wild Foods Association, this event was inspired by followers of Euell Gibbons. Nature Wonder Weekend is open to anyone from beginning to advanced foragers. Past keynote speakers have included Euell Gibbons, Dr. John Kallas of Wild Food Adventures, Dr. Peter Gail of Goosefoot Acres, Samuel Thayer of Forager's Harvest, Mike Krebill, Edelene Wood, Bill Faust, author John Tomikel, and Doug Elliot, amung many others. To read a personal account of the September 2000 Weekend with pictures click here.

North Bend State Park has been the home of Nature Wonder Weekend since the beginning. The Park is located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. The lodge and cabins are surrounded by Eastern woodland forests, miles and miles of hiking trails, a lake, a duck pond and the winding North Fork of the Hughes River. North Bend has a 305 acre recreational lake. It is a great fishing area. The Park also offers an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and picnic areas. The Park is about 25 miles East of Parkersburg, West Virginia. It can be reached via State Route 14 from Cairo, or State Route 5 from Harrisville.

Nature Wonder Weekend Feast
Saturday afternoon wild food potluck feast. Foods were provided by regularly attending participants and adventurous sorts like yourself.

                    Nature Wonder Weekend Links                                                   

Registration Form

Local Map

Personal Account

Event Brochure

Event Information
Edelene Wood, President
3301 Hemlock Ave
Parkersburg WV 26104
(304) 428-9590

Registration Information
WV Div of Natural Resources
1900 Kanawha Blvd E Rm 669 Bldg 3
Charleston WV 25305
(304) 558-2754

Location Info
North Bend State Park
Cairo, WV.
(304) 643-2931
(800) 225-5982

Accommodations and Meals
Lodging is available in two forms, cabins holding parties of 4 to 6 people, and rooms in the Lodge - not unlike any respectable hotel. Both provide all amenities that you would expect in a hotel. The cabins are rented as intact units, based on "group" occupancies of 4 to 6 persons. Different from the Lodge, the cabins offer kitchen facilites and a fire place. Pets are allowed only for certain situations and in certain areas of the Park - call ahead before you bring a pet. Parents are responsible for the supervision and safety of their children during the weekend. The Lodge provides regular "Southern Style" meals in addition to the Saturday Wild Food Bufet Social and other wild food sampling opportunities. Come prepared to eat way more than your stomach can hold.
Camping Options: If you have a camper or you want to tent camp, do the following: Fill out the Nature Wonder Weekend Regisration form, indicating the Wild Food Activities and meal options you want. Note somewhere on the page that you intend to camp and will arrange that with the park. Call the park at one of the numbers above and make arrangements. They will tell you your options and the cost. You will pay the park directly. Once you've made camping arrangements, mail in your registration with your check. camping sites are assigned on a first come first serve basis, so make reservations early.

History of Nature Wonder Wild Food Weekend
In the mid 1960s Edelene Wood was learning and teaching about wild foods in West Virginia. She was conducting seminars and hosting wild food dinners. At the time, Edelene was an officer in the "Little Kanawha Regional Council". The Council's purpose was to foster nature appreciation and recreational activities through regional improvement projects in West Virginia. Edelene told one of her friends of her interest in writing a book on wild foods. Her friend told her that Euell Gibbons had beaten her to it. Edelene bought his books and began using many of his recipes in her wild food dinners. Whenever her participants expressed caution about eating some of the wild foods, Edelene would comfort them by saying that all the recipes could be found in Euell Gibbons books. Edelene wrote Gibbons, telling him of her interest in wild foods and of some of the seminars and dinners she hosted. They began corresponding and became fast friends. In 1968, the people at North Bend State Park in Cairo West Virginia and Maxine Scarlburo of the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, asked Edelene, as a member of the Little Kanawha Regional Council, if she knew of a speaker who could attract enough participants to fill the Park for a nature appreciation-style weekend. She called Euell, who accepted for a $100 speakers fee. At the time Euell's agent was getting him a $5,000 fee for his speaking engagements. When people found out that Euell was going to be there, the Park, it's cabins, and campground filled completely for that first Nature Wonder Weekend. Euell fondly began referring to Edelene as his "public relations representative" for West Virginia. The weekend was filled with nature walks, talks on wild foods, making friends, and creating wild food dishes for everyone to try. Euell was the feature speaker at the Weekend for the first 8 years until his death in 1975. Euell wrote lovingly about the weekend in his book "Stalking the Faraway Places" in the chapter "Gathering of the Wild Gourmets". Edelene and the West Virginia State Department of Natural Resources developed the charter and began the National Wild Foods Association after Euell's death in 1976 to foster communication and to unite all the people around North America who hold the common interest of wild foods. The Nature Wonder Wildfoods Weekend has been running much the same since the beginning, longer than any other wild food event in North America.

A "Typical" Nature Wonder Weekend Agenda

 2:00 pm: Registration Begins
 3:00 pm: Park Tour
 6:30 pm: Dinner
 8:00 pm: Welcome, Weekend Preview
 8:15 pm: Keynote Speaker Presentation
 9:15 pm: Contest Winners Announced, Tasting Party and Social Hour

 7:00 am: Breakfast
 8:30 am: Short, 2 mile Wild Food Interpretive Hike
 9:15 am: Long 4 mile Wild Food Interpretive Hike
12:00 pm: Lunch
 1:00 pm: Preparation of Foods for the Wild Food Potluck Feast
 4:00 pm: Wild Feast and Social Hour
 6:30 pm: Dinner (You might want to skip dinner, instead, use your meal ticket for an evening snack before 10pm)
 8:00 pm: Keynote Speaker Presentation

 7:30 am: Breakfast
 9:00 am: Worship Service
10:00 am: Wild Food Roundtable - Question and Answer Period
11:00 am: Closing Remarks

Other Topics at this Web Site...
Wild Food Adventures Main Directory
John Kallas Biography
Book Reviews / Bookstore
Euell Gibbons Biography
Wild Food Adventure Services
Site Directory & Index

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