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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!

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What Makes Objects Float?

This week, the Junior Rangers teach team helped out with Nature Day Camp by teaching a lesson about water. H2O was this week’s theme and our team had prepared a lesson about buoyancy, surface tension and cohesion – aka what makes certain objects float. Buoyancy is defined as the upward force exerted by a liquid that opposes the weight of an immersed object. Each member of our team was responsible for teaching a section of the material. Junior Ranger Luke Knollinger introduced the topic by showing campers how to calculate the density of an object. If an object is denser than the water, it will sink. We also talked about animals that use surface tension to float, like the Water Striders (Gerridae). This group of true bugs distributes its weight to make it less dense and allow it to glide on the surface of the water.
During the lesson, the campers treated us to a rousing chorus of The Water Cycle Song – a song about how water is recycled through evaporation, condensation and precipitation. It was great! After we explained why things float, we needed to test out this new knowledge. The campers broke up into teams and constructed their own boats, using what they had learned to make them buoyant and fast. Once the boats were built, campers were able to race them against the other teams. Even though the power went out shortly after we left the building, we all still had a blast. ~Jr. Rangers Teach Team

The Trials & Tribulations of Teaching!

You will never believe the adventurous time we had yesterday!  The day started off gloomy and wet after a long night of cold rain. The Junior Ranger team was cut short this week; due to losing Luke, one of our most experienced rangers.  However, we still had a great time.

Ebony Jewel Wings

The first exciting thing we did today was go on a nature hike.  Some of the things we saw were male and female cardinals, walnuts, ebony jewel wings, house sparrows, and barn swallows.  Aninteresting thing about house sparrows is that they invade and steal nests from other native birds.

Cardinal

The next thing we did was have lunch. After this we led the Nature Day Camp Explorers on a geocaching expedition.  Some problems and difficulties were the heat, technical challenges, and some of the kids wanted to have their own GPS units. However, they did enjoy getting to find the clues and tear through the brush and weeds to accomplish their task. Afterward, we did basically the same activity with the Nature Day Camp Investigators. In this version, we used a map instead of a GPS.  Some challenges were that the kids were having too much fun, there was not enough introduction of the activity, and the kids may have gotten a little frustrated. In the future, we may need to have a discussion on GPS use beforehand. Finally, we celebrated with popsicles. We sure did have a great day!  ~Junior Ranger Teach Team

Killing Garlic Mustard & Dropping Eggs at the Schrader Center!

June 8, 2012 — Working at the Schrader Center is really fun! In just two days’ time we taught younger campers about the fundamentals of flight, ran a paper airplane competition, did an egg drop, hid geocaches, and helped with the weekly bioblitz (a scavenger hunt ).  We concluded our week helping with the Nature Day Camp cook out!

Luke and Brendan’s favorite part of the week was helping the Nature Day Campers with the egg drop because it made the campers’ day if their egg capsule succeeded.  On the other hand, Jared says, “Killing every last piece of Garlic Mustard in Oglebay Park is my duty to the earth itself!”

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is an invasive exotic species that wipes out other plants in its area.  Although it was a tiring week, the enjoyment of working, teaching, and seeing your friends again was really worth it! ~Jr Rangers Teach Team