Thursday was an exciting day at the Boyer Campground for Nature’s Mountain Classroom. It started like a normal day, with Pocahontas County fifth grade students honing their mountain biking skills and learning lessons with the help of staff from Green Bank Observatory and Pocahontas Memorial Hospital. But there was a special presentation from Marlinton resident Nancy Martin.
NMC director Tracey Valach corralled the students in front of a 2000 model RV and announced that Martin applied for and received a $10,000 grant from the Norwex Foundation to purchase a mobile adventure lab.
Martin told the students she was inspired to seek funding for the group when she saw the students riding bikes on the Greenbrier River Trail.
“We’re going to keep looking for more [funding] because this is just an awesome way to spend your day at school,” Martin told the students.
Valach gave Martin a tour of the RV and explained how it will be outfitted to securely transport the program’s equipment.
The interior will be gutted, except for the bathroom, and will have a storage unit for helmets and equipment, as well as a place for all the mountain bikes.
“There’s a ton of space, so my hope is that the whole program will fit in this monstrosity of madness,” Valach said, laughing. “It’s basically a mobile adventure lab.”
Pocahontas County High School carpentry and welding classes will do the work on the RV to create the storage area and secure fittings for the mountain bikes. The RV will also be used to transport kayaks and skis for the fourth and second grades’ adventures.
Valach said that having the mobile adventure lab will also make it easier for the program to loan bikes and other equipment to the schools.
“I want to be able to use these bikes more often,” she said. “If a gym teacher wants to do a unit on mountain biking, I can deliver the mountain bikes, leave them for six weeks, and then move the mountain bikes to Marlinton and then move them to Hillsboro, because I have a way to easily maneuver them around the county – they’re inside, they’re secure and they’re not in the elements.”
Although the RV is 22 years old, it only has 23,000 miles on it, so it is ready to serve the program for many years to come. It was purchased at Roy’s RV in Elkins. A graphic company in Morgantown will wrap it with the Nature’s Mountain Classroom logo, photos and the Norwex logo.
For more information on the Nature’s Mountain Classroom program, visit its Faebook page.