A Short History of Wheeling Naturalist George H. Breiding

With the leaves changing and students going back to school, it’s the perfect time to reflect and appreciate all of the opportunities for learning that exist outside of the classroom. Oglebay Institute is one of several local venues where children and adults alike can learn new skills from knowledgeable regional instructors. One such educator was George H. Breiding, a naturalist who served as the Director of Nature Education at the Institute’s A. B. Brooks Nature Center at Oglebay Park from 1950-1962. Throughout his career and his time at OI, his dedication to wildlife and conservation left an impact on the children and adults who attend his programs.

Learn more about Breiding in our latest comic:

George H. Breiding, Wheeling’s Naturalist (1917-2007)


George developed a love for the outdoors and a kinship with nature at a very young age.


From 1950-1963, he worked as a naturalist at Oglebay Park.
There, he taught the importance of understanding and conserving nature.


He also wrote a nature column in The Intelligencer, was published in birding journals, and kept extensive logs of bird behavior in West Virginia.


Now, as bird populations continue to decline, could Breiding’s journals help future conservationists in the state?


Want to learn more about George H. Breiding? You can access his papers at the West Virginia and Regional History Center, or online as compiled by his son at epicroadtrips.us/dad/journals/.

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• Natalie Kovacs is the retail manager at the Wheeling Artisan Center Shop and an illustrator under the moniker Shapelessflame. She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a minor in graphic art from Carlow University of Pittsburgh. In her spare time, you’ll find her frolicking through the woods, reading and collecting countless books, crowd surfing at concerts, or testing out new vegetarian recipes. She lives in Bethesda, OH with her husband, son, and their four mischievous cats.