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Schrader Center to Provide Hands-on Activities at The Lorax Debut

Schrader Center staff will be on hand this Saturday at Marquee Cinemas at the Highlands for the opening of the new animated feature film The Lorax about a character who “speaks for the trees.” Staffers will be in the lobby of Marquee Cinemas from noon – 5 p.m. Saturday, March 3 presenting activities that include live native animals, artistic leaf rubbing, an Age the Trees counting rings contest and more. There will also be giveaways and prize drawings including one for a free week of Oglebay Institute Nature Day Camp! Activities are free and open to the public.

“The Schrader Center embraces the film’s nature-friendly message and has partnered with Marquee Cinemas at The Highlands to provide educational, eco-centered games, activities and displays for children to enjoy before and after screenings on Saturday,” said Schrader Center director Eriks Janelsins.

A portion of The Lorax ticket sales will benefit the Schrader Environmental Education Center. Visit Marquee Cinemas website for showtimes and prices. And, when you “leaf” the movie, don’t forget to discover the forest!

NRPA Kicks Off First Ever Green School at Oglebay

Eriks Janelsins, Schrader Center Director, speaking to Green School Attendees

Park and recreation professionals from across the country are in Wheeling, WV this week to attend the first ever Green School, a cutting-edge two year program offered in conjunction with Oglebay Park, Oglebay Institute and the National Recreation & Park Association

Park and recreational professionals who are striving to implement ‘greener’ operations are offered the chance to learn how to achieve it at NRPA’s new Green School at Oglebay’s National Training Center. The School also goes beyond greener operations to include sustainable native landscapes, stewardship ethics, green team building, community gardening, and even renewable energy.

The Green School is a 10-day program that occurs over a two-year period. Students will receive a total of 50 contact hours (5 days and 25 contact hours per year) with student attendance taken at all sessions. Perfect attendance combined with a 70 percent proficiency on exams given at the end of each year qualify students for 2.5 CEUs (5.0 total) awarded by NRPA toward the Certified Parks and Recreation Professional designation. The school’s curriculum has been developed with input from a number of outside agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Renewable Energy Laboratory, and U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Local news affiliates, including WTRF-TV7, were on hand to interview speakers and participants.

Gardening Can Lead to a Whole New Level of Health

By D.K. Wright, Digital Journalist, WTRF-TV7 A garden on every corner, and fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables on every plate–that’s the goal of the Green Wheeling Initiative. This is the subject of the Public Garden Lecture to be presented by the Ohio County Master Gardeners at the Schrader Environmental Education Center at Oglebay Park on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

The Green Wheeling Initiative’s mission is to make healthy food available and affordable by redirecting the flight of Wheeling’s food dollar toward locally-grown foods. People from all walks of life are getting involved in GWI, building a network of community gardens that has attracted the attention of local schools, social service agencies, city planners and area churches. There are now 11 neighborhood gardens with plans for at least five additional sites in 2012.

So far, sites include the East Wheeling Community Gardens on 14th, 15th and 18th streets; The Virginia Apartments Rubble Garden in North Wheeling; the Culinary Arts Garden at West Virginia Northern Community College; the Children’s Victory Garden at 11th and Main streets; the South Wheeling Alive Garden across from Pulaski Park; the Wheeling Island Rats Community Garden behind Madison School; and the Teaching Garden and Garden of the Seven Gates, both at the New Vrindaban Community.

GWI is partnering with West Virginia Northern Community College, the Hess Family Foundation and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to bring about a 10 percent shift toward a local food economy. One of the key initiatives is the gardening micro-grant project which provides grant money to people who want to create community gardens in the Wheeling area.

Between mid-April and September, GWI is planning a series of 15 workshops focusing on hands-on gardening skills. They believe the hunger problem in America is one of quality as well as quantity. They say everyone, regardless of economic background, is “nutritionally starving,” because the food we eat is grown in chemically-saturated soil. The GWI has blossomed from an informal grass roots gardening organization to a working collaborative of urban gardens, rural farms, local academic institutions, soup kitchens and food pantries in the Ohio Valley.

Presenters at the Public Garden Lecture will include Danny Swan, founder of the East Wheeling Gardens and graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University; Ken Peralta, GWI consultant, film maker and MBA graduate of Harvard University; and Terry Sheldon, project director for the Small Farm Training Center, with a background in organic gardening.

The program will be presented at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 27, at the Schrader Environmental Education Center at Oglebay Park. As always, the Public Garden Lectures are free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Oglebay Institute Helps Wheeling Country Day School Deliver Community Initiatives

Photo Provided--At Wheeling Country Day School, students may be found learning outside of the classroom. For example, here they learn about the habits and habitats of local birds at the Oglebay Institute Schrader Environmental Education Center.

Wheeling Country Day School is embracing the ‘anytime, anywhere, any place’ learning concept that allows students to  experience learning outside of the classroom walls and discover that education is more than just classroom work.

It’s a concept the Schrader Center also implements when delivering programming to local school children and through public programs and community events. We’re proud to partner with Wheeling Country Day School in its effort to provide hands-on, participatory education. Read the full article in the February 21, 2012 edition of the Wheeling Intelligencer/News-Register.

Schrader Center: Kid-Friendly Fun

The thing I find the most meaningful about my day-to-day duties at the Schrader Center is when I get to happily be hands-on. I like being able to not only promote our programs, but to get to participate in them. I like to interact with visitors and ensure they get to personally know the Schrader Center. That’s why, last summer, after a family had come to visit the Center and stayed to let their kids cavort, I was stunned to be told, “I had no idea this place was kid-friendly.”

Sure, our building is a green building and nationally recognized for its sustainable architecture, and that’s a perspective we are proud of. Yes, our history is rooted in A.B. Brooks, Oglebay Institute’s original naturalist and the first person to graduate with a forestry degree, whose nature walks were so wonderful that they drew a capacity crowd. Clearly we have a variety of public programs that cater to kids, but that’s certainly not all we offer. Any time someone stops by just to browse or pass the time, or decides to come in just because we’re open, without knowing what we do or who we are, I try to make their visit personal.

Any time a child comes through the door, I want to show them all we have to see. I don’t want them to just look at the turtle in the tank, but to get to hold him, know his name and never forget that he can live in both land and water. I want them to be able feed him a worm and say, “Wow!”, when he eats it, and then laugh because he’s so shy that once it’s in his mouth he turns his head away from the tank to eat all alone. I want them to find the toad that is hibernating and listen to it sing its song. I want them to feel that a snake is not slimy and to feed the birds. I want them to want to come back.

One particular beautiful little boy that I have the privilege of playing with every week is Marcus. He and his family are new to the area; they came from Colorado, and are still touring the town. The Schrader Center is one stop that they have found to be fruitful for them. Every week Marcus comes and calls out for me. He helps me with all the animals – I get to watch him giggle as the toad uses his tongue to catch the worms we find to feed it, see excitement exude from his eyes when we read the books that populate our kiosk, and exercise his imagination when he plays with the puppets.

We can be called a lot of things: Schrader Center, Nature Center, Environmental Education Center. We can be called a green building. A lot of people even get us confused with the zoo! What I think you’ll find at the top of that list, though is that we’re extremely kid-friendly. Come and see for yourself!

By Sara Fincham, Customer Service Representative and special programs facilitator at the Schrader Center

Schrader Center “REACHes” Out to Ohio County 5th Grade Students

Students at Madison Elementary creating "Madison Square Garden" with the help of Schrader Center educator, Greg Moore

Through a grant funded by the  JP Morgan Chase Foundation, the Schrader Center is “REACHing” out to 5th grade students in Ohio County schools. The REACH grant (Resources for Environment, Arts, Cultural and Humanities) is designed to enhance or fulfill school’s curriculum objectives while focusing on Oglebay Institute’s five areas of discipline: environmental education, dance, museums, performing and visual arts. Eight Ohio County elementary schools are participating in REACH programming including Ritchie, Steenrod, Warwood, West Liberty, Bethlehem, Woodsdale, Elm Grove and Madison Elementary Schools.

Specifically, the Schrader Center has tasked its educators with increasing the amount of hands-on science in Ohio County elementary schools and building a connection between OI staff, classroom teachers and students.

“As a science and natural world educator, it’s quite fulfilling to be able to bring hands-on learning into the classroom and see the excitement as the students are able peer through a microscope or dissect the parts of a flower,” says Robin Lee, M.A., Education Program Coordinator at the Schrader Center. “And, part of the success of the REACH program is that we interwine native wildlife and nature with the overarching themes of the science curriculum that coincides with the teacher’s and school’s objectives.”

Over the course of eight weekly visits to Ohio County elementary schools, the Schrader Center’s educators provide hands-on science lessons covering topics such as earth cycles and processes; decomposers, producers and soil; predators and carnivores; and, the adaptations of endangered species. A pretest is conducted at the beginning of the series, and a post-test is administered at the end to track the students’ progress. 

“I love that the lessons are related to the children’s lives. They are learning scientific concepts in a way that’s specific to them and are realizing that science is all around them,” says an Elm Grove Elementary 5th grade teacher.

“Mrs. Lee, I’m going to miss you and you are the best science teacher ever!” says Chase from Ritchie Elementary School. “I can’t believe it’s the last day. Your science projects are so fun, and you taught us a lot in just eight days.”

Junior Nature Camp Registration is Open

Camp registration is underway at the Schrader Center! Make sure you send in your registration form and deposit for Junior Nature Camp 2012 to reserve your spot.

Oglebay Institute’s Junior Nature Camp inspires young people ages 10-15 through hands-on nature exploration. Campers actively engage in scientific discovery, recreation, and personal growth in an environment that promotes teamwork, responsibility, and respect. Our alumni are leaders in business, education, science, and the arts. Be part of the tradition…come to camp!

Visit www.juniornaturecamp.org or www.OIonline.com for registration forms and camp information or call us at 304-242-6855.