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Fairmont State University’s Falcon Park named Certified Wildlife Habitat by National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation recently honored Falcon Park at Fairmont State University by designating it as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. This certification recognizes the park’s ability to provide essential resources for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, including food, water, shelter, and sustainable practices.

Located on Fairmont State’s campus, Falcon Park spans 7.9 acres of green space. The Falcon Park trail, which runs through a wooded section at the campus’s top, has an east trailhead near Squibb Wilson Boulevard by the Falcon Park flag and a west trailhead by the Fairmont State tennis courts. The area also features a distinctive round yurt near the entrance.

“Falcon Park began as a concept integrated into a class project, ultimately leading to students selecting a trailhead marker for their senior project,” said Jan Kiger, Falcon Park & Trail Coordinator. “This resulted in the designation of the 7.9-acre wooded space at Fairmont State’s campus.”

Falcon Park serves as a living laboratory that fosters long-term human-nature relationships, encouraging physical, mental, and cognitive engagement. The park includes multiple designed spaces for education and interaction, such as a trail system, yurt, open-air community space, hammock hangout area, sensory space, and citizen science stations.

“The Park has numerous features. There is a trail system that is about a mile long and constantly growing. It is amazing when you are in the park; you don’t feel like you are on a college campus. It is so peaceful,” Kiger added.

The park aims to engage people from all walks of life with the outdoors through activities like applied math, art, nature therapy, environmental stewardship, and citizen science. By offering diverse programming, it promotes healthier social behaviors, strengthens connections to the environment, and educates the public on sustainable practices that protect wildlife habitats.

Additionally, Falcon Park was recently nominated for the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals’ Project Excellence award. This nomination highlights the project’s uniqueness, problem-solving ability, innovation, creativity, impact, and team collaboration. Assistant Professor of Outdoor Recreation Jan Kiger leads the ongoing Falcon Park project.

For more information or to volunteer at the park, contact falconpark@fairmontstate.edu.

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