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Project Green Hour: Through the Seasons

“I learned how to make a ‘wormery’! My students are going to love this!” was the comment from an area educator after participating in a one-day continuing education in-service program facilitated by the Schrader Center’s Education Coordinator, Robin Lee, MA.

More than 50 preschool teachers and their aides attended “Project Green Hour: Through the Seasons” held at Eastern Gateway Community College in Steubenville, OH on Friday, December 9, 2012. 

Green Hour is time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. In 2007, the National Wildlife Federation launched GreenHour.org, an online resource providing the inspiration and tools to make the outdoors a part of daily life. NWF recommends that parents give their kids a “Green Hour” every day. This can take place in a garden, a backyard, the park down the street, or any place that provides safe and accessible green spaces where children can learn and play. Scientific Research shows kids are happier and healthier when outdoor time is in better balance with indoor time. 

Participants were shown how brain-based research supports the importance of the outdoors in relationship to children’s wellbeing. During the morning session, participants hiked outside to see how the surroundings around a college setting, not much different from some of their schools, could be used in developing and teaching lessons. During the afternoon session, participants applied inquiry-based learning from the morning session by developing a single lesson plan theme for the month and then sharing their lesson plans from January to June.

Lesson plans for the Month of May were given to them, along with a take-home science station, “Vermiculture Wormery”, that they build, and extension lesson plans on how to populate a terrarium, a second portable science station for the classroom, with items they might find in their outdoor surroundings.

“Teachers were delighted with the Wormery and to find out that Ohio Science Academic Standards for Curriculum (ASCs) are not as difficult as they once believed and can be tied to just about any other ASCs in the preschool curriculum through art, movement, pre-language skills and pre-numerical operations skills,” says Robin Lee. “Many teachers stated that it was the most informative and exciting in-service they had attended in many years.

According to one participant, “This was the best in-service I have attended in the last five years. Robin was awesome, and all of her information was better than a Discovery Channel marathon!”


112th Christmas Bird Count at the Schrader Center on Saturday

Cedar Waxwing Eating Berries (Georgi Baird)

Citizen scientists, birders, and nature enthusiasts of all ages are invited to the Schrader Center in Oglebay beginning 8:00 a.m. Saturday, December 17 to participate in the longest-running wildlife census in America.

From December 14 through January 5 tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations. Families and students, birders and scientists, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission – often before dawn. For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the Holiday season.

Audubon and other organizations use data collected in this longest-running wildlife census to assess the health of bird populations – and to help guide conservation action. From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition , and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation.

For information call 304-242-6855.  Audubon Bird Count

Regis University Students from Denver, CO Conduct Service Learning in West Virginia

Nursing students from Regis University in Denver, Colorado traveled to West Virginia to conduct a week of service learning in the Appalachian Region. The students toured the Schrader Center and listened to a lecture by Director, Eriks Janelsins, about Appalachian Natural History to help them develop a “sense of place” prior to their service in both Ohio and Mingo Counties, WV. The Clifford M. Lewis, S.J. Appalachian Institute at Wheeling Jesuit University coordinates these student experiences, and the Schrader Center has been a partner with the Appalachian Institute since 2005 working with hundreds of high school and college students annually.

Junior Nature Camp alumnus, Erica McGrath, Joins Staff at Pickering Creek Audubon Center

Check out where one of our Junior Nature Campers has landed!


Erica McGrath, a Pittsburgh area native, recently became part of the seasonal staff at Pickering Creek Audubon Center, Easton, MD. She joins four fulltime staff members who are focusing their efforts on teaching education programs on the Chesapeake Bay to elementary and middle school students at Talbot County Public Schools, helping the center reach 7,800 program contacts this fall.

Erica first became interested in the outdoors through attending Oglebay Institute’s Junior Nature Camp, based in the hills of neighboring West Virginia. She grew particularly interested in birds, and enjoyed hosting bird walks for campers and leading campfire songs and stories.

Junior Nature Camp 2012 will run from July 22 – August 4. The tradition of the Oglebay Institute camping program is based around generous volunteers and supporters offering their time and resources to improve the lives and knowledge of young people. Donations are used to purchase equipment such as spotting scopes, nets, and radios or supplies to enhance the JNC experience. Please consider an annual donation to Junior Nature Camp to directly impact the quality of the camp and ensure that it provides future opportunities to campers like Erica! Visit www.juniornaturecamp.org for more information.

St. Paul Catholic School’s 17th Season at Winter Lodge

Sr Naturalist Greg Park interacting with Students

Mrs. Veronica Kobulnicky has been bringing her 6th grade students to Winter Lodge for the past 17 seasons. She has seen it evolve from one tipi at the Brooks Nature Center to two tipis with several staff at the Schrader Environmental Education Center.

 “I started with Greg Park all of those years ago at the old Nature Center,” says Mrs. Kobulnicky. “We sort of started the program together. It’s a hands-on program, with a ‘back to nature’ aspect that allows the kids to experience what it was like in the time of Native Americans.  They get to experience building a fire, throwing an atlatl at a ‘mastodon’, and using the survival skills that a Native American would’ve used during the winter months.“

 Mrs. Kobulnicky starts the lessons of the Native Americans in her classroom at St. Paul Catholic School in Weirton, WV. Her 6th grade students are required to interview an elder grandparent, neighbor, teacher or friend and write a three-page report based on the interview. They also work on preparing a spiral notebook of their individual family history. In addition, they read the “Indian in the Cupboard” and watch the movie in preparation for their field trip to the Schrader Environmental Education Center.

 A humble and dedicated teacher of many years, Mrs. Kobulnicky was awarded the 2010 Bishop’s Cross Award for manifesting excellence in character, service and leadership. The award is presented annually by the Diocese to individuals who, through their lives and works, have demonstrated, in extraordinary ways, their commitment to the mission of Catholic education in West Virginia.

A Favorite Activity, Spearing the "Mastodon"

 “Mrs. Kobulnicky has been with us from the beginning of Winter Lodge,” says Greg Park, senior naturalist at the Schrader Environmental Education Center. “It’s a perfect example of how we’ve developed and adjusted our curriculum and program based on an educator’s input. We’ve followed the ebb and flow over the years and made changes based on feedback.”

 “It’s like coming home every year when I visit for Winter Lodge.” Reflecting back on her field trips, Mrs. Kobulnicky states that, “Our students at St. Paul’s get to go on field trips to Gettysburg, PA and Washington, DC. But the one that stays firmly in their memories is the 6thgrade Winter Lodge field trip to the Schrader Center.”

Schrader Center to Serve as Toy Drive Drop-off Location

Please support the Wheeling Toy Drive. More than 500 children are in need this Holiday Season. The Stifel Fine Arts Center and Schrader Environmental Education Center are serving as drop-off locations. Also, please remember tweens and teens as you are considering your donations.

Winter Lodge at the Schrader Center

The air is crisp and filled with the scent of falling leaves fading into winter. Inside, the smell of warm corn soup, marinating with fresh bacon, ham and maple syrup, fills the air, enticing staff and visitors alike to the kitchen! It’s Winter Lodge at the Schrader Center.

The daytime program includes building a fire with flint and steel, atlatl throwing, Native American tools, games, stories, and tipi tours. While it’s cold outside, students are warm and snug gathered around a fire inside the tipis sharing stories. Program Director Greg Park, cooks and serves up a warm corn chowder, representing the fare of Native Americans. The students participate in demonstrations of period tools and games, and learn by experience what it’s like to spend time outdoors in a tipi.

If your group would like information about participating in Winter Lodge or a similar outdoor program, visit www.OIonline.comfor more information or call us at the Schrader Center at 304-242-6855.

Atlatl Throwing at the Mastadon