CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Many West Virginians enjoy exploring the hidden beauty of nature or examining more urban settings through their home computers and other devices. What we could barely imagine 20 years ago has become commonplace today as the result of the Worldwide Web and the Internet.
Connected to the Internet, residents of all ages who live in rural or urban communities can watch video images in “real time.” That means residents with computers connected to the Internet can watch wildlife at remote locales or traffic in more urban settings virtually as events occur.
Many “webcams” – cameras with Internet connections – operate here in West Virginia, providing images that appeal to many interests. For example, the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown hosts a “Live Eagle” Webcam that shows eagles nesting above the Potomac River. Each year, an eagle pair returns to start a new family. Viewers can watch live scenes of the nesting, hatching and feeding of eaglets. This Webcam has become so popular that it now is hosted on the Outdoor Channel’s website.
“These live images of nature, especially of wildlife raising their young, are a wonderful way to connect children to nature,” said Traci Hickson of Future Generations Graduate School.
“Webcams are more interactive than videos because kids can check daily to what’s new,” she continued. “A surprise is always around the corner. But it does require more patience, which is also a good skill to practice.”
West Virginia has some additional special destinations where webcams record activities, show weather conditions and more. Viewers can visit the slopes of Snowshoe Mountain Resort in Pocahontas County. It’s a very busy destination, especially during skiing season. Webcams capture images at Canaan Valley Resort and Timberline in Tucker County and Winterplace in Raleigh County.
Access to those images through the Internet gives some of our state’s most popular tourism destinations one more way to let prospective guests know what the conditions are and what activities are occurring.
Online images also are available from downtown Morgantown and the New River Gorge Canyon Rim in Fayette County.
Webcams also can provide a safety function. For example, viewers can check out conditions on the streets of Beckley or Charleston. Connected through the Website Weather Underground, more than 20 West Virginians have webcams in their own backyards to show real-time weather conditions.
Here are addresses of some popular West Virginia websites:
- National Conservation Training Center: http://outdoorchannel.com/eaglecam
- Canaan Valley: http://www.resortcams.com/webcameras-canaan-valley-resort.php
- Snowshoe: http://www.snowshoemtn.com/live-cams.aspx
- Timberline: http://www.resortcams.com/webcameras-timberline.php
- Winterplace: http://www.resortcams.com/webcameras-winterplace.php
- West Virginia backyards: http://www.wunderground.com/webcams/
“Wild, Wonderful & Wired” is a collaboration of Mission West Virginia, Future Generations Graduate School and Frontier Communications. Mission West Virginia and Future Generations Graduate School are nonprofit organizations that have provided computer and Internet training to West Virginia residents. Readers interested in learning more about computers and using the Internet are encouraged to contact local friends, neighbors or organizations that provide training. A list of computer labs with trained mentors is available online at: www.futurewv.org/computer-centers. In addition, persons interested in receiving training or purchasing a computer through Mission West Virginia may call 304-523-0623.