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Education & Outreach

The OSMRE Logo in color


Through education and partnerships with local schools, organizations, museums, and the public, OSMRE strives to not only share information about active and abandoned coal mining, but to create better stewards of our natural resources.​ The Education and Outreach team encourages curious minds, of all ages, to learn more about the places they live through engaging presentations and hands-on activities.

OSMRE staff speaking with high school students at the 2022 Stem Summit in Pittsburgh showing some of the work we do with Lidar and drones

OSMRE Ecologist showing students how to collect macroinvertebrates from the stream using a specialized net.





West Virginia has a rich history in coal and coal mining. Coal in West Virginia was first found in Boone County in 1742, and the first coal mine was opened in 1810 near Wheeling, in the Northern Panhandle. Around 1870, the McKell family bought land in Fayette County in Southern West Virginia. When coal was discovered around 1890, they created a mining settlement southeast of Glen Jean.  

West Virginia has been a coal mining state for more than 100 years! In Fayette County, West Virginia, there has been extensive surface and underground mining. Check out the interactive map of the Bechtel Summit Reserve near the New River Gorge. Explore the different layers!

This is an image showing the location of the Bechtel Summit Reserve and the mines that were in that area

Data courtesy of West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

Did you know OSMRE has planted trees in this area through our Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative program? Check out this map.  

This image shows the area of the current Bechtel Summit Reserve in southern West Virginia. The base map is a topographic map and the outline of the reserve is shown with a black dotted outline. Within the reserve, the different planting sites are show as polygons of different colors. Each polygon and color have been assigned a number which corresponds to the year that area was planted. Planting took place from 2013 - 2016 and it began in the northern part of the site, through the center, and then there were planting areas in the eastern and western side of the reserve.

For more information about this program, check out the ARRI webpage!

Resource Repository

For more information about OSMRE, visit our YouTube page.