WVU Extension urging families to tune in

Special to the News Tribune
WVU President Gordon Gee watches Energy Express presenters perform an experiment.

MORGANTOWN - Children and families can tune in this summer to West Virginia Public Broadcasting to engage in fun, interactive programming through West Virginia University Extension Service’s Energy Express.

The six-week summer television program will be hosted by Joel Brown and broadcast across West Virginia beginning June 21.

The 30-minute episodes will air Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. and feature engaging activities in literacy, STEM, art, cooking, nature, nutrition and more.

Last year, WVU Extension Service and WVPB teamed up to bring valuable educational programming to homes to offset the many in-person events that were canceled due to the pandemic. The show, which features WVU faculty, staff and special guests, complemented virtual programming with educational activities children could enjoy from the comfort of their own homes.

“WVU Extension Service has strong programming available for youths, including 4-H and Energy Express, our summer reading and nutrition program,” WVU Dean of Extension and Engagement Jorge Atiles said. “This partnership with West Virginia Public Broadcasting allows us to expand that programming to children and families throughout West Virginia in a fun and engaging way. Our faculty and staff also enjoy the opportunity to connect with viewers and share their expertise.”

Viewers can expect to meet interesting animals and insects; learn how to make healthy snacks and meals; engage in physical activity; participate in STEM activities; showcase their artistic side; learn about gardening; and much more as part of the six-week series.

WVPB executive director Chuck Roberts said partnering with WVU Extension Service to add Energy Express to WVPB’s lineup is a continuation of public broadcasting’s efforts to give access to exceptional at-home learning resources to the Mountain State's children.

“Energy Express is an engaging program, and our young viewers really responded to it last year,” Roberts said. “The pandemic has been such a challenge for students. So many families in West Virginia simply don’t have access to the high-speed internet needed for quality virtual learning, but most homes do have televisions. All of us here at WVPB are so pleased to provide free access to unique educational experiences such as Energy Express for all children, regardless of where they live and what kind of equipment and connectivity they have."

WVPB is available on many cable systems throughout the Mountain State as well as over the air. To view Energy Express segments online, visit energyexpress.wvu.edu.

Each summer, WVU Extension Service’s Energy Express reading program pairs children with caring AmeriCorps members and other volunteers who work with them in person to improve reading and comprehension using books, journals, art, STEM, games and other activities. Through the partnership with WVPB, Energy Express on-air programming provides greater access to literacy and other learning activities for children and families statewide.

For more information about Energy Express, visit energyexpress.wvu.edu or contact Tara Curtis, WVU Extension Service, at 304-293-7996 or tara.curtis@mail.wvu.edu. For more information about the broadcast of the program, contact Lalena Price at West Virginia Public Broadcasting at 304-556-4900 or lprice@wvpublic.org.