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Monarchs Flutter at the Schrader Center

"Flock", Miller University

“Flock”, Miller University

Getting to be the greeter of guests, one never knows who’s going to walk in the door at the Schrader Center!  It could be a community member or a visitor from Sarasota, FL.  It could be a child with a question about native animals or a family from Phoenix, AZ visiting Oglebay Park.  It could be someone wanting to walk our trails or a former Junior Nature Camper.  On this particular day, it was aerial artist Erica Loustau and her three- year-old daughter, Zoe.

Someone who finds inspiration from flocks of birds, Erica designs site-specific artistic displays that are suspended in mid-air by geometrically arranged wires.  Her three-dimensional mixed media is a nod to how nature inspires art.  Her suspended art is both magical enough to captivate kids and creatively alluring for adults.

“I have long been fascinated by the movement and organization of flocks of birds,” says Erica. “These birds in flight are like ant colonies or swarms of bees. Not only do they seem to have a distinct form, but also a sense of organization and purpose.”

"Monarch Rabble", Schrader Center

“Monarch Rabble”, Schrader Center

Erica recently designed a suspended work of monarch butterflies soaring over the exhibit hall of the Schrader Center.   “Monarch Rabble” includes 2,000 butterflies that begin at the door and guide guests into the exhibit hall which overlooks the Corson Butterfly Garden.

Erica’s art brings nature not only inside, but into our imaginations.  Her recent visit to the Schrader Center allowed her to see the panel that was created to honor those who donated “butterflies”.  Accompanied by her daughter, Zoe, the pair enjoyed playing in our puppet room and touring the Center.  It was great to meet the maker of the Monarch Rabble that soars above me while I work! ~Sara Fincham, Customer Service Representative at the Schrader Center 

"Scatter", West Chester University

“Scatter”, West Chester University

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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” 

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!