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Share the beauty of West Virginia

September 9, 2012
By CRAIG HOWELL , Weirton Daily Times

It's always nice to learn something new about our state of West Virginia, whether it is finding out about a new restaurant in your hometown, discovering a new attraction a few hours away or simply looking through pictures of our varied businesses, people and natural beauty.

West Virginia is relatively small compared to many of the states and commonwealths in our nation, but I'm sure there are parts of it many of us have never experienced.

From our small towns to big cities, hills and valleys, mom and pop stores to large manufacturers, lakes, streams, rivers and state parks, there is a great deal to see and enjoy for everyone, and one publication wants to help showcase all of that for our residents, visitors or anyone else who wants to see what Wild and Wonderful really means.

"Wonderful West Virginia," a magazine published each month by the state Division of Natural Resources, wants to put together a special edition for June 2013 in celebration of the Mountain State's 150th birthday.

And, there is an opportunity for everyone to contribute.

"A Day in the Life of West Virginia," is the theme of the issue, and all it takes to contribute is a digital camera and an Internet connection.

The magazine is asking for residents to take pictures of what they feel best exemplifies life in West Virginia.

To be considered, all photographs must be taken within the state on Sept. 15 (Saturday) and submitted to "Wonderful West Virginia" by Sept. 30.

Everyone contributing may submit up to five photographs and only digital photos are being accepted.

Each photo is to include the contributor's email address and telephone number, the precise time of day it was taken, as well as its location, including the county.

There are a few other rules, which can be found on the magazine's website or by contacting the magazine itself, but you get the idea.

The pictures will be reviewed by the magazine's staff, who will decide which ones to publish.

It's an interesting project, and a great one that finds a way to get everyone involved in some way no matter where they live in this great state.

The idea is a simple one, and even if your photographs aren't selected for publication, you've gone out and possibly learned something new about our state.

There is so much to see and do in our own area, let alone the entire state. There probably aren't many who have been fortunate to visit every corner, every nook, every mountaintop, hill or valley in their lifetime.

Whether it's the beauty of a lake in a local park, a group of deer grazing in your backyard, a field of wildflowers, the peaks of some mountains or even something you find interesting at a local business or industrial setting, this is a way for people throughout West Virginia to share some of what they like the best about living here.

It can be a community event, a local high school or college athletic event, or even just a group of friends hanging out.

It's a chance for people who don't live here to see the wonders of our state, and possibly encourage them to come for a visit sometime.

It's a chance for all of us to contribute to a celebration of our state as it prepares to turn 150 years old next June.

I don't know whether I will be out and about collecting any pictures to submit, but it's definitely something to consider if the time, or weather for that matter, allows.

I've been fortunate to see a great deal of West Virginia in my life so far, but there is still much I've not witnessed or experienced.

I've stood on Dolly Sods and Spruce Knob many times, but have never been to Harper's Ferry or Huntington.

I haven't been to Charleston for many years, but I've experienced many wonderful events in our local towns.

I encourage anyone out there who is interested to consider taking some time on Saturday to scout out some of your favorite spots and take a few photos.

Explore our area a little bit, or go out and find a place you've never seen. Take some pictures of your experiences.

At the most, perhaps you will get a chance to see your picture in print next summer.

At the least, you've made some memories, discovered something about our state and maybe even had some fun while doing it.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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