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National Astronomy Day at Oglebay

Come celebrate National Astronomy Day at Oglebay Park! The Speidel Observatory will be open on Saturday, April 28 beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Astronomy Day is an annual event intended to provide a means of interaction between the general public and various astronomy enthusiasts, groups and professionals. Held annually, it gives astronomy-lovers a chance to share their passion with the public. Astronomical societies, planetariums, museums, and observatories sponsor public viewing sessions, presentations, workshops, and other activities to increase public awareness about astronomy and our universe.

Astronomy Day was started in 1973 by Doug Berger, then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California. His intent was to set up various telescopes in busy urban locations like street corners, shopping malls and parks so that passersby could enjoys views of the heavens. Since then the event has expanded and is now sponsored by a number of organizations associated with astronomy. Astronomy Day also forms part of Astronomy Week, which begins on the preceding Monday.

“Astronomy in the Park”, the Schrader Center’s Thursday night summer viewing sessions will begin June 14, 2012. This is a great way to observe, discuss and learn about the night sky from local astronomy experts! Guests enjoy deep space observing at the Speidel Observatory and through several telescopes set up on the front lawn. Call us at 304-242-6855 for more information.

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April Public Garden Lecture Features Daylilies

By D.K. Wright, Digital Journalist, www.wtrf.com — Daylilies are not true lilies. Their name is made up of two words–hemera which means day and kallos which means beauty. And, daylily fanciers think nothing could be more appropriate. They say each blossom lasts only one day, but they are stunning, rugged, vigorous perennials that produce an abundance of colorful flowers over a long period of time.

Dr. Thomas Hart, professor emeritus from Washington and Jefferson College, taught in the school’s biology department for 30 years. He says daylilies grow anywhere you plant them, from a compost pile to a crack in the sidewalk. They’re edible for humans and also for deer, and says that he’ll address the deer issue in depth in his lecture.

Dr. Hart says at the height of his collecting, he had more than 1200 varieties of daylilies. At this point, he has 200 – 300 varieties. Daylilies started in China and Japan, and from there they went to Europe and are now all over the world. There are now breeders in Australia and daylilies growing in South Africa.

Dr. Hart says most people think of daylilies as being either yellow or orange. But they actually range from nearly white to nearly black, occurring in every color except blue. Their shapes also vary, from round like a bagel to pointed like a spider. Some of the newer varieties have flowers that open in the evening and remain open until the evening of the following day. Many of these night blooming plants are quite fragrant.

The Public Garden Lecture will be presented at 7:00 p.m., Mon., April 30 at the Schrader Center at Oglebay Park. Dr. Hart says he always encourages questions from the audience.

The lectures are always free and open to the public, and include door prizes and refreshments. For more information, call the Schrader Center at 304-242-6855.

Butterflies for Earth Day!

The Schrader Center will host a very special guest for Earth Day activities this year. Ba Rea, author, naturalist and monarch expert will be on-hand to provide interactive “Monarch Magic” presentations.  She brings a wealth of knowledge and information about monarchs as she has been raising and releasing them since 1970 and introducing monarchs to school children and teachers since 1986.

“Monarch butterflies have captured the imaginations of people all over North America. They are used in classrooms to teach science, geography, art, math and writing,” says Ba. “They find their way into fairs, nature centers and public places to help people make connections with the natural world. They are used in hospitals, dialysis clinics, hospice, and Alzheimer clinics to bring us the metaphors in life that we need during major transitions.”

All of her life, Ba Rea has been passionate about the natural world — enjoying, investigating, learning and sharing what she discovers.  These days she lives in the woods on the Knobs over Union, West Virginia. Ba has researched, drawn, photographed and written about many different plants, animals and natural phenomena. Ba’s favorite creatures are monarch butterflies, but praying mantids, toads, American eels, puffins, and whales are all close contenders!

Join us for a day full of monarchs and magic!

Noon – 4p.m.   – Children’s Activities

Noon – 4 p.m.  – Planting in the Butterfly Garden

1 – 4p.m.  – Monarch Magic 

2:30 p.m.  –  Dedication Ceremony for “Monarch Rabble” 

Environmental Book Club Meets Thur., April 19 at the Schrader Center

The Environmental Book Club will be reading poetry for the month of April!

Come, Thief by Jane Hirshfield, focuses on the lovely but overlooked things in everyday life: stones that are beautiful only when wet, maples setting down their red leaves, the rosy gold and stippled pattern of her grandfather’s watch. Using clear, straightforward language, she finds the meaning in what could be—in less observant hands—the meaningless, often with a flash of unexpected humor.” — Natalie Tebbi, Oprah’ s 2011 Summer Reading List Review

Jane Hirshfield, who has written many books centered on nature, is quoted by poet Rosanna Warren: “Hirshfield has elaborated a sensuously philosophical art that imposes a pause in our fast-forward habits of mind. Her poems appear simple, and are not. Her language, in its cleanliness and transparency, poses riddles of a quietly metaphysical nature…clause by clause, image by image, in language at once mysterious and commonplace, Hirshfield’s poems clear a space for reflection and change. They invite ethical awareness, and establish a delicate balance.”

Feel free to read any other selection from Hirshfield’s work. The many different perspectives can only enrich our discussion!  The Book Club will meet Thursday, April 19 at 7pm at the Schrader Center. Hope to see you there!

Earth Day Family Celebration at the Schrader Center

Earth Day is a day in early spring each year on which events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. Earth Day is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.

The Schrader Center is adding a little Monarch Magic to our Earth Day celebration this year! We’re inviting families and friends to spend Earth Day at the Schrader Center, and we have a ton of activities planned for all age levels.

Activities include children’s stories, crafts and activities with Schrader Center educator Robin Lee and her creative staff, hands-on “Monarch Magic” presentations by author, naturalist and monarch expert Ba Rea, flower and tree plantings and light refreshments. Milkweed and wildflower seed packets will also be given away to participants.  And, all activities are free and open to the public!

  • Noon – 4p.m. Children’s Activities — Join us for a story by children’s author Ba Rea about the life cycle and miraculous migration of the Monarch butterfly. See for yourself how a butterfly’s vision helps it find its food as you try to find your “host” flower, spread some pollen, and taste some nectar. Celebrate the importance of butterflies as pollinators in these hands-on learning activities designed for small folk. Make your own symmetrical Monarch butterfly to take home.
  •  Noon – 4 p.m.  – Planting in the Butterfly Garden– Plant flowers in the Corson Butterfly Garden and trees along the Discovery Trails

  •  1 – 4p.m.- Monarch Magic — Hands-on presentations with author, naturalist and monarch expert Ba Rea.
  •  2:30 p.m. Dedication Ceremony for “Monarch Rabble” — Join us as we dedicate the three-dimensional, suspended installation by artist Erica Loustau that features 2,000 butterflies and is on permanent display in the Schrader Center exhibit hall. The butterflies welcome guests at the door and lead them through the Exhibit Hall to the windows and decks overlooking the Corson Butterfly Garden, bringing the outdoors inside.

Call the Schrader Center at 304-242-6855 for more information. Bring your gloves, a rake and a willingness to dig in to fun at the this year’s Earth Day Celebration at the Schrader Center!

For Those Who Follow the Nature Trails…

New Trailhead Sign for Oglebay Park's Trails

A.B. Brooks began his morning nature walks with a quote from Charles Dickens, “The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily with a purpose.”

“Once in while, everyone accepts an invitation, or responds to an urge, to break away from the daily round of duties–if only for a brief hour in new surroundings.  Most appealing of such calls usually come from the open country,” said Nat T. Frame, former Director, Oglebay Institute.

Maybe it’s time for you to break away from the daily grind and enjoy some time in nature! The trails at Oglebay are open year-round and are perfect for individuals on a quiet lunch break, busy families who want to introduce their children to nature, or animal lovers looking for a place to run and frolic in the wild.

With our recently installed sign at the trailhead behind the Schrader Center, we’ve included a large-scale map of our trails and a literature holder that includes a printed trail map and information about programs happening at the Schrader Center. Staff naturalists will be posting bird and wildlife sightings, as well as foliage reports,  next to the trail map on a regular basis.

Circa 1938 Oglebay Park Trail Map

The making of the Oglebay Park trails was begun in the fall of 1927, about six months prior to the opening of the general nature program, and was continued from year to year until the ten-mile trail system was completed.  At Oglebay, Brooks was legendary for his Sunday morning bird walks which began in the morning at 7:00am and featured an outdoor breakfast cooked over an open fire. Brooks would recite poetry, scripture, and teach of the various birds, trees, flowers, insects, and mammals that called Oglebay Park home. The first guided trip was made to the Falls on April 14, 1928. Three persons in addition to Mr. Brooks made the trip, two from Wheeling and the third from Cleveland. The attendance grew until figures were routinely around 250 persons. According to Brooks’ records, during the ten year period 1928-1938, he led 1,200 nature walks with a total attendance of 51,500.

“As long as the beauty and grandeur of primitive forest scenery is preserved, it will have a powerful influence in shaping the character of people. The great forest, which surrounded the homes of the pioneers, left an indelible mark on their characters. It affected every act of their lives. Its influence was manifested in their manners and customs and conversation. It made men more thoughtful and less talkative and superficial; it furnished the inspiration for many of their great works of prose and poetry; and it breathed into them a spirit of freedom and independence.” ~A.B. Brooks