At Weelunk, we’re all about keeping you connected to your community. Because that looks a little different right now, we’re bringing you ways to engage while staying safe and healthy. We hope Weelunk can continue to connect you to Wheeling — no matter where you are.

There are many ways to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day today, April 22, despite the fact that the planned hikes have been canceled at the Oglebay Institute Schrader Environmental Education Center.

“We will be continuing hikes at some point in the hopefully-not-too-distant-future, but for now all Oglebay Institute programs are canceled through April 30,” said Molly Check, director of the center

She noted that the hikes have been replaced with three social-distancing activities:

Earth Art Contest: Create an Earth Day poster, sign, chalk drawing or other creation. Then, display it in a window, doorway or sidewalk. Post a photo of you and your art on the Schrader Environmental Education Center’s Facebook page.

Earth Day Scavenger Hunt: Visit Oglebay Institute’s website to find the Earth Day Scavenger Hunt. Explore outside and see how many items you can find. The trails at the Schrader Center are open if you need a place to explore. Post a photo of you and your completed (or semi-completed) list on the Schrader Center’s Facebook page.

Clean-up Challenge: Head outside with a garbage bag and a pair of gloves. Pick up all the litter you can find, then post a photo of you with your bag of trash to the Schrader Center’s Facebook page. You can also share your photo on the center’s Instagram page #WhatsYOURnature.

All three activities will be encouraged on April 22 through April 30 and promoted on OI’s website and social media platforms.

Centre Market Flowers

Check suggested some other ways that people can celebrate Earth Day:

• Go for a walk outside in nature

• Remove invasive plants

• Plant a (native) tree or wildflower

• Feed the songbirds

• Eat a picnic lunch outside

• Write a nature-inspired haiku poem

• Try grounding for relaxation (stand barefoot outside and breathe deeply)

• Take up-close pictures of plants, animals and objects in nature; challenge your family to identify what they are

• Read a book outside or read a nature book inside

• Research a rain barrel and/or other ways to conserve water

• Reassess your garbage can — is there anything in there that could have been reused or repurposed?

• Buy products with less plastic packaging

• Hug a tree (we don’t have to keep six feet away from them, and they are surprisingly reassuring hugging partners)

“There are so many ways to connect to the natural world … find one that works for you,” Check suggested.

Magnolia Trees

According to the Earth Day website, this year’s theme is climate action. And one thing to celebrate this Earth Day is the fact that there are fewer cars on the road, due to people sheltering in place. Read more about the history of Earth Day here.

“Transportation accounts for a big part of our country’s climate-damaging emissions, so with people following guidelines and staying home right now, the environment may be experiencing a brief reprieve. That’s certainly a silver lining to this pandemic, but the real change could come once we are allowed to travel again,” Check said.

“If we remember these times, and how we were able to minimize transportation when we really needed to, then hopefully we can make individual choices to limit our transportation in the future. Not just when it’s necessary for human health, but with the health of the Earth and its natural systems in mind.”

• Having spent nearly 38 years as reporter, bureau chief, lifestyles editor and managing editor at The Times Leader, and design editor at The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Phyllis Sigal now serves as Weelunk’s managing editor. She lives in Wheeling with her husband Bruce Wheeler. Along with their two children, son-in-law and two grandchildren, food, wine, travel, theater and music are close to their hearts.

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