“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
At the Schrader Environmental Education Center nature enthusiasts experience a sense of community around a shared love of nature. By creating opportunities to celebrate and study West Virginia’s native habitats, Schrader Center programs initiate, reinforce and extend people’s connection to nature through hands-on, science-based, interpretive experiences.
Classes, Workshops and Camps
Our nature classes, workshops and summer camps promote lifelong learning and inspire appreciation, respect, knowledge and enjoyment of the natural world. The benefits of expanding our nature knowledge and spending time outdoors appeal to people in all stages and walks of life. The Schrader Center offers a myriad of programs for all ages – from preschoolers through adults.
Our youth nature classes and nature summer day camps build strong science skills and promote nature appreciation and environmental stewardship. By combining play and learning, children develop at their own pace and better understand how they are a part of the larger world. Junior Nature Camp is a residential camp for boys and girls, ages 10-15, held annually at Camp Giscowheco, just 10 minutes outside Wheeling. JNC is designed for those who want to explore, observe and increase their understanding of the natural world through field study with expert naturalists.
Our adult nature classes provide opportunites to expand knowledge, discuss and learn with likeminded people and help empower individuals to make a positive impact on their local environment. OI’s Mountain Nature Camp in Terra Alta, West Virginia is the site for weeklong and weekend camping experiences that immerse adults and families in a rich and unique Appalachian highland habitat to study with expert naturalists and explore some of the rarest habitats in the eastern United States.
Seasonal Enrichment Programs
The Schrader Center offers year-round opportunities to explore and discover the beauty and intrigue of the natural world though dozens of seasonal programs. Whether in the Children’s Awareness Area, in the Corson Wildflower and Butterfly Garden or along the trails of the A.B. Brooks Discovery Trail System, individuals and families can engage in hands-on nature discovery and outdoor fun.
- Summer of Wonder Nature Programs take place June through August and feature guided nature walks, stargazing and old fashioned evening campfires. Snake shows, geology programs and nature crafts are also on the schedule along with the self-guided “nature quests” where hikers complete specially designed activities along the trails of Oglebay at their own pace.
- Something sweet happens each March during the Schrader Center’s annual Maple Sugaring Day. Guests watch maple syrup being made, learn about the tapping process and the history of maple sugaring and taste fresh maple syrup during a pancake breakfast.
- Family Nature Programs are designed to pique children’s interests in science and nature. From owl prowls to creek walks, programs bring families together for quality time learning about the natural world. Children socialize with other kids outside of a traditional classroom setting, and parents meet and connect with other parents.
- Paint Your Own Pottery is available year-round. Guests can explore the Schrader Center and then create a keepsake to take home. Several shapes and sizes are available to paint or glaze. Pieces must be left overnight to dry. Hours vary by season.
- EcoFest is held each spring during Earth Week and brings together environmental experts, business owners, educators and the public, all with a distinct ambition- to go green!
- Saturday Scavenger Hunts invite families to explore nature together. Participants receive a packet and complete the scavenger hunt to receive a prize. Offered from 12-4 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month and free to all ages, Saturday Scavenger Hunts have seasonal themes that promote outdoor discovery.
School Programs/Educational Outreach
A leader in nature education and exploration, the Schrader Center offers an engaging selection of, science based, interpretive experiences deigned to build and strengthen science skills and connect students with the natural world.
Our hands-on programs:
- Supplement classroom teaching with focused, concept-oriented field study
- Enrich National Science Education Standards
- Engage students in scientific investigation
- Develop appreciation and curiosity about science and nature.
- Integrate other disciplines such as social studies, mathematics, technology, language arts and character education.
Field trips and in-school programs are available for preschool through high school and are adjusted based on grade/experience level, ensuring an appropriate and challenging learning experience for students. Programs supplement classroom teaching, meet content standards and objectives and build 21st century learning skills.
Many programs are already designed and can be quickly implemented into the school curriculum such as Owl Pellets, Fly with the Birds and REAP (Regional Environmental Action Program. Programs can also be customized based on the classroom teacher’s objectives and specific lesson plans. Residencies are also available in which our trained nature educators are placed in schools to work with students over an extended period of time. The Schrader Center also conducts programs for scout troops, home school groups and teacher training sessions.