Celebrate Earth Day weekend with naturalists from Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Environmental Education Center, by participating in a series of events set for Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, (Earth Day).
Begun in 1970, Earth Day is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. In its early years, Earth Day was focused mainly on the United States, but is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in 193 countries every year.
Two guided nature walks are planned for Sunday, April 22. At 8 a.m., a Schrader naturalist will lead a hike on the trails behind the Schrader Center in Oglebay down to the waterfall. Hikers will look and listen for birds and explore new life as it emerges along the path. At 1 p.m., visitors will meet a naturalist at Bear Rock Lakes Wildlife Management Area, located just east of the Highlands.
Schrader Center director Molly Check said that the Schrader staff loves Bear Rock Lakes and, though it’s only a short distance from the interstate, it feels remote and quiet. Managed by the W.Va. Department of Natural Resources, the 242 acres offer four lakes and a looped hiking trail.
“It’s a great place because it’s pretty easy walking, with that little loop up around the ridge and then back down by the water,” she said. “It’s pretty accessible for most people, and it’s such a nice little habitat there. It’s a great time of year for birds right now. Anyone who is a big birder knows that April’s always the best time of the year. So we’ll definitely be looking for birds, but then it’s also late enough in April that — as long as it stops snowing — flowers will be coming up. So, we’ll be looking at flowers and birds and identifying things as we go along.”
On Saturday, April 21, the day before Earth Day, the Schrader Center will offer plenty of family programming, too, including nature story time and astronomy programs with the Oglebay Astronomy Club.
“We have a program in our new children’s library inside the Schrader Center from 10-11:30 a.m.,” Check said. “We have our nature story time program. And that’s going to be talking about pollinators and bees. We’ll start in there, and we’ll read a story, and then we’ll head outside to our butterfly garden to search around for some pollinators. We’re going to make a bee hotel, which they can then take home with them.
Later that day, the Oglebay Astronomy Club will host daylight astronomy from 1-4 p.m. at the observatory in the field across the street. Check said that even though it’s daylight, there’s a good deal to be seen in the sky. The sun is always alive with activity, and families can get a look at the corona, solar flares and sunspots.
Night owls may want to come back when the stars come out; the Astronomy Club will return from 8-11 p.m. Saturday evening for more traditional nighttime viewing.
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Check envisions a fun family day on April 21. Families can start with the kids’ pollinator program, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the picnic tables, and do some daylight astronomy in the afternoon.
SCHRADER CENTER EARTH DAY WEEKEND EVENTS
Nature Story Time: 10 a.m. Saturday, April 21
What’s the difference between a honeybee and a mason bee? Learn about these gentle and amazing pollinators as you listen to a book about bees in the Schrader Center’s Children’s Library. We’ll also head outside to explore the bee-friendly garden and make a bee home out of straws and paper towel rolls. Suitable for children ages 4-10. Parents are welcome to stay or drop off their children for the program. $5/$4 OI members.
Daylight and Nighttime Astronomy: 1-4 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. Saturday, April 21
Explore the solar and lunar skies at Speidel Observatory in Oglebay Park with the Oglebay Astronomy Club. From 1-4 p.m., you can tour the facility. Try your eye at solar observing, too! See a meteorite display and participate in space science activities. Observe the evening sky through telescopes and learn about the constellations from 8-11 p.m. (Weather permitting) All ages are invited to attend this free program.
Earth Day Morning Nature Walk Along Oglebay Trails: 8 a.m. Sunday, April 22
Join a Schrader naturalist for a hike on the trails behind the Schrader Center in Oglebay down to the waterfall. Look and listen for birds and explore new life as it emerges along the path. $5 per person.
Earth Day Afternoon Nature Walk at Bear Rock Lakes: 1 p.m. Saturday, April 22
Meet a naturalist at Bear Rock Lakes, located just east of the Highlands. Look for wildflowers, birds, and animal tracks and celebrate Earth Day by exploring this 242-acre property that offers four lakes and a looped hiking trail. $5 per person.
Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Environmental Education Center offers dozens of seasonal nature programs for all ages. Nature enthusiasts gather at the Center to experience a sense of community around a shared love of nature. Preschoolers through adults enjoy our year-round nature activities. Hands-on programs expand nature knowledge, promote outdoor discovery and foster lifelong learning.
For more information or to register for any of the Earth Day programs, call 304-242-6855 or visit www.oionline.com.