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Add Some Nature to Your Life this Summer!

It seems that what we at the Schrader Center have known all along is now being proven by a wider group of scientists and researchers…Nature Rocks! It’s true. If you add in some time spent outdoors in nature, you can lessen the amount of stress that you feel and increase cognitive skills and creativity, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and a Natural Learning Initiative study at North Carolina State University. Richard Louv, the author of “The Nature Principle: Reconnecting With Life in a Virtual Age” and “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder”, describes how it’s time to get back to nature in a recent article for the New York Times online edition. 

trail hikers

Oglebay Institute makes it easy to connect in nature with a myriad of summer camp options for adults and children of all ages. Check out OI’s website, and click on the Camps tab for information on Mountain Nature Camp, Junior Nature Camp and Nature Day Camp. Plus, we have tons of summer activities that put you right out on the trails and up close and personal with Mother Nature. We have guided nature walks, a fossil hunt, campfires, family backpacking and exploration and even astronomy! You can find a complete listing of our summer programs here:  OI_SP_rack_card.

Visit the Schrader Center this summer, and step into the outdoors with your family. We’re just a few minutes up the hill in Oglebay Park!


Family Nature Camp Offers Something for Everyone

Bring your family and join in the fun with the opportunity to camp together at Oglebay Institute’s Mountain Nature Camp on the weekend of Aug. 24-26, 2012.  As a mother and nature educator, I am looking forward to this opportunity to join other families at OI’s Mountain Nature Camp near Terra Alta, Preston County, WV for a weekend of camping and outdoor play.

Schrader Environmental Education Center naturalist, Greg Park, will be on hand as well as nature educators and other families for a weekend of outdoor fun in a comfortable, safe environment. The Family Camp weekend will offer programming suitable for beginner outdoors people and seasoned naturalists alike.

Facilities include a bathhouse and a small lodge with a dining room and lounge. Campers arrive Friday evening for check-in, set-up, dinner and campfire. Saturday will include a wide range of activities for beginners and experienced outdoors people including nature instruction, hiking, fishing, canoeing, camping gear demonstration, outdoor creative play and campfire. One additional activity will be provided Sunday morning before check-out. Each family will leave with a small gift to help them play outside!

Cost is $75 for each parent with a child and $25 for each additional child. Oglebay Institute members pay $65 for parent with a child and $20 each additional child. Call the Schrader Center at  304-242-6855 to register.

This camp rounds out the host of the Schrader Environmental Center’s camping and nature education programs including Nature Day Camp (https://sites.google.com/site/seecndc/), Junior Nature Camp (www.juniornaturecamp.org ) and Mountain Nature Camp (www.mountainnaturecamp.org ).

Natasha Diamond has a B.S. in Wildlife Resources and a Master’s in Public Administration. Her love for wildlife, the outdoors and for helping children and families experience them, has led her to her most recent projects; program director for Oglebay Institute’s Junior Nature Camp and Mudpie Magic, an outdoor play and learning group for children and families in the Morgantown area. She also serves as full-time adventure guide for her two children, ages 6 and 3. www.wildplacesopenspaces.wordpress.com

Counting Crows

Counting the American Crows, Corvus brachyrhynchos, which converge between Wheeling Island and Bridgeport, OH has been a Post-Christmas Bird Count tradition for over two decades.  The tradition began when Carl Slater and Greg Eddy, Brooks Bird Club members, decided it would be an interesting challenge to try to quantify this impressive phenomenon. The two birders attempted almost every counting technique imaginable throughout the years; from counting individual birds per tree and estimating the population size multiplying by the number of trees, to estimating the number of crows arriving per minute. Getting a precise count of the crows proved nearly impossible. 

More recently Ryan Tomazin, a Junior Nature Camp alumnus and Brooks Bird Club member, has joined the effort. This year he recorded HD videos of the thousands of crows flying into the roost, and counted the individuals while playing the videos back in slow motion. While he was not able to get a precise count, this year’s estimate places about forty thousand crows in Bridgeport on December 17, slightly less than last year. ~Jacob Francis, Director of Environmental Education at the Schrader Center