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Earth Day Volunteering at the Schrader Center — April 20, 2013

IMG_1225Like the outdoors? Want to spend a little time helping improve the exterior grounds at the local nature center?

Schrader Center staff will host a volunteer work event in honor of Earth Day on Saturday, April 20 from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Schrader Center. We’ll be pulling privet, and other invasive species, planting trees and clearing walkways, cleaning up around the butterfly garden, and more! We encourage volunteers all of ages to participate for any amount of time! Volunteers should wear long sleeves, work pants and boots. Work gloves will be provided, but volunteers may bring their own. Coffee, tea and snacks will be complimentary.

Bird Walk — We’ll start the day out with a morning bird walk hosted by Brooks Bird member and Bethany College Professor of Biology, Jay Buckelew, from 9:00 -10:00 am. Meet in the lower parking lot of the Schrader Center near the trail head a few minutes before 9:00 am.


Astronomy Day Activities — Other activities include Oglebay Astronomy Club’s Astronomy Day program with two sessions. The daytime session will be held from 1:00 to 4:00 pm at the Speidel Observatory and includes solar viewing (weather permitting– many sunspots are currently visible), meteorite display, space science demonstrations and activities, and Speidel Observatory tours. The nighttime session will be held from 8:00 to 11:00 pm, also at the Speidel Observatory, and will include telescope astronomy (weather permitting–Jupiter is spectacular now!), night sky tour of the constellations and special Speidel Observatory tours.

Call the Schrader Center at 304-242-6855 for more information.


Cupcakes for Volunteers!

Oglebay Falls By Jake Francis, Director of Environmental Education–One thing that sets the Ohio Valley apart from other places I have lived is the intense pride that many of us hold for our natural resources.  It might have something to do with the massive body of water that we use as a reference for almost everything, or perhaps it has something to do with the rich tradition of sportsmanship in this valley. But I believe it has a lot to do with the amazing and unique city parks that are inextricably tied to our city’s identity.

In my two years here, I have met students who are willing to slave in the heat of summer working to conserve our forests, young adults shaping our food landscape and bringing green space to our downtown, and octogenarians who have given their entire life over to the our city parks and Oglebay Institute.  And, as I was trying to write a post about our upcoming volunteer opportunities, all I could think of was how much thanks we owe to you all!

In light of that, I want to share a couple of organized volunteer days we will be having at the Schrader Center which will focus on doing some much-needed maintenance on our trail systemphoto2 and continuing our battle with invasive exotic plant species that are threatening our forests.  We will be holding workdays from 9am-3pm on February 23 and April 20.  We will have all of the tools needed and can provide work gloves, as well as some hot beverages, snacks, and congratulatory cupcakes to thank you all for everything you do.  If you can’t make those days, don’t fret. You can call me at the Schrader Center at 304-242-6855, and I’ll make sure you get a cupcake, but you’ll have to spend some time discussing birding, botany, herpetology, or the like!  I hope you can forgive this departure from my normally scientific blog posts, and that you can come see us in the next couple of months!

What: Volunteer Days at the Schrader Center

When: February 23 & April 20

Where: Schrader Center, Oglebay Park

Time: 9am-3pm

Info: 304-242-6855



Last Trail Maintenance Day for 2012

Last volunteer Trail Maintenance Day for 2012 will be this Saturday, Dec. 15 from 10am-12pm at the Schrader Center. We’re continuing to focus on the removal of invasive exotic species, such as European Privet, and to clean up the trail for visitors. Volunteers should wear long sleeves, work pants and boots. Work gloves will be provided, but volunteers may bring their own. Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided. Call the Schrader Center at 304-242-6855 for more information.


Jr. Rangers Awarded Grant to Replant Native Species in Oglebay Park

For those of you who haven’t been following the process of our junior ranger grant project, we have been awarded $100 to pull out invasive plant species and replant native ones in the area.  We started replanting trees by digging holes for arrowwood viburnum seeds.  Then we took tree cuttings from box elder, red osier dogwood, and arrowwood viburnum and dipped them in rooting compound and put them in pots.  Today we dug holes to plant our native species of trees in.  While digging we noticed that 4 native species (wingstem, poke weed, White Ash, and box elder) were starting to grow where we cleared privet.

Poke Weed

Phytolacca americana is the scientific name for Pokeweed, which is native to North America. It is a herbaceous perennial plant. Pokeweed can grow up to ten feet in height. This plant is highly toxic to livestock and humans, that’s why deer probably won’t eat it. Pokeweed plants are usually found in edge habitats, meaning they are on the edge of forests where there is lots of sun and disturbed areas. That is why pokeweed is growing in the area we pulled privet.

White Ash

Acer negundo commonly known as Box Elder, is a species of tree that is part of the maple family.  It grows from 10 to 25 meters tall and stays less than 1 meter in diameter.  The Box Elder is fully dioecious, meaning separate male and female trees are required for reproduction.  It grows across the United States and Canada, even as far south as Guatemala.  It is generally a bottom land tree, meaning it grows on heavy wet soils, and requires full sun to partial shade.

White Ash (Fraxinus americana) is native to the Eastern North America from Nova Scotia to Florida, and west to Texas.  It grows up to 25 meters tall and grows very rapidly in hardwood forest gaps.  It readily grows in high light and well drained areas.


The fourth plant we found, Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia), is a very tall perennial herbaceous plant that can reach up to 3 meters tall and has bright yellow flowers.  It prefers pasture, field and roadside habitats with high light, and is found from the East Coast to Texas.  Some people consider it weedy, but we consider any native plant an upgrade from privet.

The discovery of these plants is good news, because it shows that native plants are growing back where we removed an invasive species.  Even though we plan to plant some tree in the area, these native pioneers will help stop privet from re-invading the area before our planted trees get large! ~Jr. Ranger Trail Team

Jr Rangers Working to Remove Privet

In the past few weeks, we’ve been working on a grant application to replace the invasive privet we have pulled among the native trees and plants around the Schrader Center. To start our project today, we took a walk with Jake Francis, our trusty Jr. Ranger leader, who taught us how to properly take cuttings from Arrow-wood Viburnum and Box Elder. After doing some research, we learned Arrow-wood Viburnum was one of the native plants that would grow best from a cutting. To take a cutting, we needed to make sure we had cutting tools that were sharp and sterilized to prevent the spread of plant diseases and fungi. After the plants had been cut, we learned our next step would be to put the cuttings into a rooting compound (Indole-3 butyric Acid, a chemical that helps roots to grow from cut plants).

We did not take the cuttings today, but we were able to pick some of the ripe berries from the Arrow-wood Viburnum. We planted the berries in moistened soil and marked their location so we can follow their progress.  We will keep you updated on our restoration efforts over the rest of the summer! ~Jr. Ranger Trail Team