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Wrong Turn: Tederous Family Fun

By Sara Fincham, Customer Service Representative —I find myself frequently asked to provide directions to different places within Oglebay Park. Perplexed patrons whose GPS devices navigate them to the park but not within it, individuals that have come for programs and events, or families who are out exploring the beauty and nature of our Park often land at the Schrader Center.  “Are we at the Zoo?” is a frequently asked question.  On March 22, the Tederous family found themselves in that very situation.

The girls – mother Kelly and children Grace, 12, and Maria, 6, – came through our doors and stopped at my desk. Beginning their week long spring break, they were looking for Wilson Lodge and were lost within the Park.  I detailed the directions in a simple sentence and then showed them our always-eager animals.  Although they touched the American toad and the Midland Painted turtle, there was one serpent that seduced their senses – our Eastern Chain King Snake.

Kelly was rapt with the reptile, but Grace was reluctant and Maria was absolutely appalled! They left for the Lodge saying they would be back for more at the Schrader Center.  On the following Friday, they kept their commitment and came back to browse our building. This time Kelly and Grace were eager to embrace the King Snake, and Maria wasn’t as repulsed by the reptile, and happily they helped me feed the birds.

As our staff was in the midst of our spring Maple Sugaring program and offering trail tours and tastes of the syrup that had been tapped in the Park and boiled down to four gallons, they came back Saturday to learn the history of syrup making and enjoy a pancake breakfast with some of our maple syrup!.  I took the tour with them, along with husband/father Neal, and learned a lot about their family over our pancake breakfast.  From Columbus, Ohio, Kelly is a teacher, Neal and Grace bond over birding and Greek Gods, Grace also enjoys dance and art, and Maria is crafty and can put on a praise-worthy puppet show!  They sadly said their goodbyes on Saturday, but not before they returned to the Schrader Center for more hands-on time with the snakes.  Not only did they change their minds about snakes, they were carefully considering having one as a family pet! With all that Oglebay Institute does to inspire the imagination via earth and art – they made a wrong turn to exactly the right place!

Come visit the Schrader Center to learn more about our native animals and plants, relax in our bird cafe, take a hike on our trails, sign up for summer camps and programs or chat with our knowledgeable staff. For more information, check us out online at OIonline.com or call 304-242-6855.


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Waterbot Data Update

We are just getting preliminary data from the Waterbots we installed in the park last week, but we are already seeing some interesting trends in the data. The above chart is a graph of Conductivity (red line) and Temperature (blue line) over the last week. Conductivity is represented as microsiemens per centimeter (the amount and rate of electricity that can pass through the water), and temperature is represented as 10 times the actual degrees Celsius (to make it graph on the same range as conductivity).

The conductivity fluctuates daily, with temperature, and you can see that on the evenings of the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, conductivity reached the same low level. Interestingly on the 24th the conductivity dipped slightly less than the previous days. This could be the result of rain on the 24th (a little over a tenth of an inch) that may have washed various inorganic salts into the creek. Keep tuned in to the blog where we will periodically post the data we are collecting in and around the Park.

Permanently Monitoring our Streams

By Jake Francis, Director of Education, Schrader Center — As part of the expansion of our Mission Ground Truth:21 program, which gives regional 8th graders a chance to explore the process of inquiry and careers in science while immersing them in nature, we have installed three permanent stream probes in the streams in and around Oglebay Park.  We have received six probes, called Waterbots, through our partnership with the Community Robotics, Education, and Technology Education Lab (CREATE) at Carnegie Mellon University, that strives to empower communities through robotic technology.

Permanent stream probes are not a revolutionary new idea; in fact many old dams and weirs served the purpose of measuring stream discharge.  What is revolutionary about the CREATE Lab’s Waterbots is their low cost, which increases citizen scientist’s (like our Mission Ground Truthers) access to high quality continuous water quality data sets.

Waterbots measure two stream parameters, conductivity and temperature.  Conductivity is a measurement of how quickly electricity passes through water.  Conductivity is a good indicator of pollution because any chemical dissolved in the stream (e.g. nitrate fertilizers, ammonia based soaps, oils, etc) will change the conductivity, thus a large

unexpected fluctuation in the conductivity of our streams will indicate that we need to investigate that area a little more closely.  Temperature fluctuations affect conductivity measurements, and when both parameters are combined we are able to estimate the Total Dissolved Solutes (TDS) in the stream.  The data we collect using our Waterbots will be open to educators and the general public who are concerned about threats to our local water quality.

All Tapped Out at the Schrader Center

Nature's way of telling you when to tap!

The trees have been tapped, the syrup is made, and there are just a few spots open for the public Maple Sugaring day this Saturday, March 24 in Oglebay Park! Trail tours start at Camp Russel on the half hour between 9am and 1pm, with the last tour leaving at 12:30pm, rain or shine. All trail tours end back at Camp Russel with a full pancake breakfast and fresh maple syrup. If you haven’t registered yet, be sure to call soon at 304-242-6855 as spots are limited!

Ohio Queen Snake Topic of BBC Meeting

Queen Snake, courtesy of the Ohio Division of Natural Resources (http://www.dnr.state.oh.us)

The Brooks Bird Club will hold their monthly meeting this Tuesday evening,March 20 at 6:30pm at the Schrader Center in Oglebay Park. The topic of discussion will be A Study of Ohio Queen Snakes with Mark Waters, MS, PhD from Ohio University Eastern.

Join us for good food and good conversation!

Turtle Turmoil at the Schrader Center

By Sara Fincham, Customer Service Representative & Program Facilitator — After enjoying the morning preschool classes at the Schrader Center, some of the children and their mothers made the most of the sunny skies and traipsed the trail around Shenk Lake in Oglebay Park. During their walk around the water they likely listened to some feathered friends that they had learned about in their class, perhaps even saw some birds soaring in the sky. One thing I doubt they thought they would find was a baby turtle in turmoil. Jessica, Mason and Nick Frank and Merissa and Torren Gilbert stumbled right onto the little turtle while they were walking!

Soon after almost stepping on the barely seeable “spot”, they realized that the turtle was mysteriously immobile. After closer calculation, they observed that the turtle’s eyes weren’t open. They decided to bring it back to the Schrader Center to see if our educators could identifiy and help the turtle. Mason carefully carried the tiny turtle, which did show signs of liveliness upon being lifted, to the Schrader Center.

Robin Lee, one of our environmental educators and the conductor of the morning’s class, took the Common Snapping Turtle, which can be classified by its smooth shell, as opposed to another kind, the Alligator Snapping Turtle that shows off a spiky shell, to an open tank. Once in the water, we watched with wonder as one of its eyes willingly opened, and it lunched on some worms. It appeared as though the turtle may have suffered damage, likely by a hungry bird or an unwitting pedestrian. However, the kids were happy to have helped and satisfied to see that they had hopefully saved an animal. Mason named the turtle “Jeddy,” and as they went on their way they declared that they would be back to check on their chum!

We have several animals living at the Schrader Center including Frank, a Midland Painted turtle, several species of snakes, an American toad, a larger Common Snapping turtle and plenty of birds and wildlife on our trails. Come visit while the weather is nice!

North Dakota State Univ Students Spring Clean at Schrader Center

A group of 28 students from North Dakota State University spent a day at the Schrader Center this week helping with spring cleaning. The warm weather really encouraged both staff and students to head outside and work on re-chipping the trails, hosing the walkways, washing windows and giving the place a general sprucing up!

The ND State University students were participating in the Students Today, Leaders Forever Pay It Forward Tour, a multi-day, multi-city experience that engages students in service and leadership, travel to and service in a new city each day, learning about social issues, building lasting relationships, and making a commitment to continued action when they return home. All STLF College Pay It Forward Tours travel to six cities across the country over the course of nine days. Each tour consists of up to 40 students. The ND State University Tour departed from Fargo, ND on March 9 and made stops along the way to their destination of Washington, DC in Mason City, IA, Quincy, IL, Salem, IL, Cincinnati, OH and Wheeling, WV.

A BIG thanks to the group for all of their help and hard work!