The public is invited to explore and discover the beauty and intrigue of the natural world by participating in the Summer of Wonder Nature Programs at Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Environmental Education Center, located in Oglebay Park.

Nature walks, stargazing, butterfly hunts and evening campfires are just a few of the interactive, family-oriented programs taking place now through Aug. 17 at the center.

Schrader summer programs promote outdoor discovery by getting people outside to have fun and learn something about nature.

The Schrader Center is a valuable resource for families. Parents, who want to explore the outdoors with their children but need to brush up their skills, can get ideas on how to engage their children in outdoor play.

Parents, like children, often spend many hours a day indoors in front of some type of screen. In today’s busy world, it is easy to become disconnected to nature. Naturalists at the Schrader Center strive to help families reconnect to the outdoors, learn together and increase their “green” time. They are eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with visitors.

The Summer of Wonder lineup includes a variety of activities led by nature educators such as guided nature walks, where participants learn to identify birds, trees and wildflowers, and opportunities to observe the night sky with local astronomers.

Those interested in learning about birds and snakes native to this region will enjoy Feeding Frenzy, where guest can observe — and even lend a hand — as Schrader Center staffers feed their feathered and scaled friends and discuss the important role they play in the ecosystem.

The Corson Wildflower and Butterfly Garden, located just outside the Schrader Center, is the perfect spot for the weekly Butterfly Hunt, where guests gently catch, study and release butterflies and other pollinating insects.

Attendees can learn about tadpoles and frogs during the Frog Frolic and study salamanders, crayfish and aquatic insects during the Salamander Search.

The very popular Old Fashioned Family Campfires include marshmallow roasting and s’mores around a crackling campfire. Little ones love listening to a story outside on blankets during Nature Story Time.

The Schrader Center also offers several self-guided activities during the summer months including scavenger hunts, nature exploration backpacks, making tree “cookie” necklaces and planting wildflower seeds in a recycled container that guests can take home and plant.

For most programs there is a nominal fee of $5 to participate, and programs are free to Oglebay Institute members and those who purchase Oglebay Park activity wristbands.

Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Environmental Education Center celebrates nature every day and offers hands-on nature fun for the whole family. Facilities include the A.B. Brooks Discovery Trail System, the Corson Wildflower and Butterfly Garden and the Nutting Bird Café. The center offers year-round classes, workshops, school programs, public events, and day and residential camping experiences for all ages.

The Samara Shop, located inside the Schrader Center, offers a selection of products for nature enthusiasts of all ages — field guides, children’s books, hand-crafted walking sticks, eco-friendly jewelry and notecards, locally made edibles like honey and maple syrup, organic soaps and lotions, nature-inspired art and sustainably-made items for the home. Samara’s charming merchandise displays have been crafted from found items and repurposed furniture from some of Wheeling’s historic buildings. Samara is a one-stop shop for everything green-related, and all proceeds support the center’s educational mission.

More information is available by calling the Schrader Center staff at 304-242-6855 or visiting on the web at www.oionline.com.

The 2019 Schrader Center Summer of Wonder schedule is as follows:

Mondays:

8-9 a.m.: Morning Bird Walk

1-2 p.m.: Butterfly Hunt

Tuesdays:

10-11 a.m.: Guided Nature Walk

2-3 p.m.: Wonders of Wildlife Presentation

Wednesdays:

8-9 a.m.: Morning Bird Walk

12-1 p.m.: Nature Story Time

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Frog Frolic at Schenk Lake

Thursdays:

9-10 a.m.: Guided Nature Walk

10-11 a.m.: Feeding Frenzy

8-9 p.m.: Campfire (Meets the first and third Thursdays through August)

9-10 p.m.: Astronomy at Speidel Observatory

Fridays:

8-9 a.m.: Morning Bird Walk

10-11 a.m.: Salamander Search at Oglebay Falls

Saturdays:

7-8 a.m.: Morning Bird Walk (Offered June 8, 15 and 29, July 13, 20 and 27 and Aug. 3 and 10)

Self-guided activities including Scavenger Hunts, Nature Exploration Backpacks, Tree Cookies and Seed Cups are also available during regular Schrader Center hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Noon-5 p.m. Sunday.

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