Nature Classes & Public Programs

Schrader Environmental Education Center

Nature classes and programs at the Schrader Center provide opportunities to celebrate and study the natural world, with a commitment to inspire individuals to develop and maintain a sustainable relationship with the environment.

Youth programs like Roots ‘N Shoots and Nurturing Naturalists teach children to act in a caring and responsible way towards their environment, themselves and others through hands-on educational activities.

Our public programs foster an interest and knowledge of the regional environment while strengthening the relationships of family members to nature.


COVID-19 Safety Precautions:

Those entering OI facilities should expect the following:

  • Masks will be required or recommended to coincide with current state & CDC guidelines.
  • Temperatures may be checked upon entering.
  • A short health screening questionnaire may be required.
  • Class sizes and seating will be limited to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

Nature Programs for Adults

Holiday Wreath Workshop
Create a beautiful holiday wreath for your home! We provide an assortment of fresh evergreen boughs, berries, pinecones and ribbons, plus the frame and wire to tie it all together. You may also bring your own ribbon and bows to share. We’ll show you how to craft your wreath, and share how to identify different evergreen trees. Coffee, hot cocoa and cookies provided. BYOB. Pre-registration required. Meets at the Schrader Center.

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Ages: Adults and families
Meets: 6-8pm, Wed., Dec. 2 and/or Fri., Dec. 4
Begins: Wed., Dec. 2 and/or Fri., Dec. 4
Duration: 2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

$40/$35 OI members

Nature Programs for Children

Birthday Parties at the Schrader Center
Celebrate your child’s next birthday at the Schrader Environmental Education Center in Oglebay Park. Packages include 1 hour of designated classroom time for presents and food with unlimited “on your own” access to the Schrader Center’s hands-on exhibits, animal displays, puppet area, gift shop, outdoor picnic tables, butterfly gar-den, wooded trails directly behind the building, and the field across from the center for large group games or other activities. 

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Ages: All
Times: 1 hour
Packages:
Package A: $175 – 3 classrooms, 90 seats
Package B: $125 – 2 classrooms, 50 seats 
Package C: $100 – 1 classroom, 30 seats 

50% non-refundable deposit required at booking. Balance due on day of party.
Call 304-242-6855 for details and inclusions.

Nurturing Naturalists Winter Series
Designed for our youngest independent “naturalists” (4 years – 1st grade) who are ready to attend without an adult. Home schooled children are welcome. Each session will have an outside component, so please have children dress for the weather. Topics include:

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Jan. 8: Pine Tree Rings
Jan. 22: I’m “Lichen” Winter a Lot
Feb. 5: Bird Brains
Feb. 19: “Hour Out” Challenge
Mar. 5: It’s the Glacial Meltdown
Mar. 19: Winter Moon

Ages: 5-8 (without an adult)
Meets: 1-2pm, Jan. 8, Jan. 22, Feb. 5, Feb. 19, Mar. 5 & Mar. 19
Begins: Fri., Jan. 8
Duration: 1 hour sessions, for 6 alternating weeks
Instructor(s): Courtney Commack

$60/$45 OI members ($30 for each additional child.)
Limited Walk-ins: $14/$12 OI members; $4 for each
additional child

Call 304-242-6855 to register.

Roots ‘N Shoots Winter Series
The Roots ‘N Shoots series provides adults and their children the opportunity to incorporate nature education and fun into all seasons. Lessons include hands-on nature activities, a combination of nature crafts, stories, or songs, and trips outside the nature center, weather permitting. Topics include:

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Jan. 8: Jolly Holly & Other Evergreens
Jan. 22: Bear Snores On
Feb. 5: Feathers In the Snow
Feb. 19: A Winter’s Walk
Mar. 5: The Science of Snow
Mar. 19: Owl Moon

Ages: 2-4 with an adult
Meets: 9:15-10:15am, Jan. 8, Jan. 22, Feb. 5, Feb. 19, Mar. 5 & Mar. 19
Begins: Fri., Jan. 8
Duration: 1 hour sessions, for 6 alternating weeks
Instructor(s): Courtney Commack

$60/$45 OI members ($30 for each additional child)
Limited Walk-ins: $14/$12 OI members; $4 for each additional child

Call 304-242-6855 to register.

Winter Nature Camp: Snow Fun! (MLK Jr. Day)
Give your kids the outdoor time that they crave at the Schrader Center. Explore the winter world outside, then warm up with some hot cocoa. Dress for the weather and bring a bagged lunch. If there’s snow on the ground, bring your sleds! Call for pre and post care availability.

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Ages: grades 1-8
Meets: 9am-3pm Monday, January 18
Begins: Mon., Jan. 20
Duration: 6 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

$15/$12 OI members (per child)

Mad Science Saturday (Jan. 30) (NEW!)
Dive into the world of physical science experiments!  Engage in hands-on activities, watch spectacular demonstrations, and take part in mind-blowing experiments.  Our winter session will include a glacier thaw race, an exploration of ice crystals, homemade snow cones, and more!

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Ages: grades 1-6
Meets: 10am-12pm Sat., Jan. 30
Begins: 10am, Sat., Jan. 30
Duration: 2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$10/$8 OI members

Girl in Science Club (NEW!)
Did you know that the United Nations declared February 11 as the “International Day of Women and Girls in Science?” We’re getting the party started with this fabulous hands-on science program for girls only! Projects will include exploring colors & density of different liquids, making your own flashlight, creating invisible ink to leave secret messages around the nature center, and more! Each club session will include a snack and a spotlight on a female scientist who made major contributions to her field.

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Ages: grades 4-8
Meets: 10-12pm Sat., Feb. 20
Begins: 10am Sat., Feb. 20
Duration: 2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$10/$8 OI members

Mad Science Saturday (Mar. 20) (NEW!)
Dive into the world of physical science experiments! Engage in hands-on activities, watch spectacular demonstrations, and take part in mind-blowing experiments. Our spring session will include a myriad of rainbow explosions & reactions, pH exploration, and creating a bio-plastic coin that can be found at the end of the rainbow!

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Ages: grades 1-6
Meets: 10am-12pm Sat., Mar. 20
Begins: 10am, Sat., Mar. 20
Duration: 2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$10/$8 OI members

Junior Badge Fest
Join us for a fun and exciting day of badge work! The morning session (9:30am-12pm) will cover the Junior First Aid & Scribe badges. The afternoon session (12:30-3pm) will cover the Eco Camper badge. Sign-up for one or both sessions! If you come to both sessions, please bring your own lunch. Badges provided at no extra charge.

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Ages: Junior Girl Scouts
Meets: 9:30am-3pm, Saturday, March 27
Begins: 9:30am or 12:30pm Sat., Mar. 27
Duration: Full day: 5 1/2 hours; Half day: 2 1/2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

$25 per scout, per session
$40 per scout for both sessions

Nature Programs for Families

Winter of Wonder Nature Programs
Available November 2 – December 18, 2020. No pre-registration required. All ages welcome. $5 per person. 

Holiday Pottery
1:30-2pm Mondays, Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 and Dec. 7 & 14
Choose from a variety of holiday ceramic pieces (snowman, Santa, cookie plate, and more) and use your creativity to paint it your favorite holiday colors. Admission is free. Cost of ceramic pieces vary from $3-$12  Pottery must be left overnight to be fired. Pick-up your finished piece the following day.

Animal Meet & Greet
10:30-11am Tuesdays, Nov. 3, 10, 17, 24 and Dec. 1, 8 & 15
Learn a little about the animal ambassadors living at the Schrader Center. Meet our toad, turtles and snakes up close & personal while learning about their incredible adaptations!

Wreath Craft
2:15-3pm Wednesdays, Nov. 4, 11 & 18 and Dec. 2, 9 & 16
Create a simple wreath using a cardboard base and fresh evergreen boughs, then decorate with berries and a ribbon! This small wreath will bring the beauty and joy of the season to wherever it is hung!

Candy Cane Hunt
4:15-5pm Thursdays, Nov. 5, 12 & 19 and Dec. 3, 10 & 17
Craft a holiday bag, then explore around the Schrader Center to see how many candy canes you can find.  Certain ones may win you a prize! Enjoy hot cocoa upon your return

Holiday Ornaments
10:30-11:15am Nov. 6, 13 & 20 and Dec. 4, 11 & 18
Sure to become a holiday favorite, this beautifully illustrated story of a family’s unusual tradition brings to life the true spirit of the season.  Sip some hot cocoa while listening to a reading of Night Tree by Eve Bunting, then make some all-natural holiday decorations to take home, or to put out on the Schrader Center’s own night tree!

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Ages: All
Meets: Varies
Begins: Mon., Nov. 2
Duration: Varies
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

$5 per person

Holiday Cookie Baking Workshop (NEW!)
Baking from scratch is a life skill that will enrich many holiday seasons to come! In this tasty, hands-on program, you will learn how to mix, roll out, decorate, and bake holiday sugar cookies. Everyone leaves with tried & true recipes and cookies that they made themselves! Attend as a family, or drop off your child for the program.

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Ages: Families & children (ages 8+ if dropping off)
Meets: 6:30-8pm, Tuesday, December 8
Begins: Tues., Dec. 8
Duration: 1 1/2 hours
Instructor(s): Molly Check

$12/$10 OI members (per person)
$8/$5 OI members (per additional person)

Call 304-242-6855 to register.

Mrs. Claus Explains it All (SOLD OUT)
How does Santa get into houses that don’t have chimneys? What is his favorite kind of cookie? Where do his elves come from? Can all reindeer fly? Answers to these questions and more as Mrs. Claus visits the Schrader Center to read Mrs. Claus Explains It All. After the book reading, make a keepsake holiday craft and enjoy some cocoa and cookies while you wait for Santa Clause himself to stop by! Space is limited, register early!

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Ages: Families
Meets: 6:30-7:30pm, Saturday, December 12
Begins: Sat., Dec. 12
Duration: 1 hour
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$12/$10 OI members (per child)

Christmas Bird Count
Nature enthusiasts of all ages are encouraged to help with this important citizen-science bird count! Look for birds on your own, or join a group of experienced birders as birds are tallied within 7.5 miles of the Schrader Center. The count runs all day (and night). Help for as little or as long as you like. Binoculars and field guides provided.

Can’t make it on Dec. 16, but have bird feeders at home? Contact us to learn more about becoming a feeder watcher! Pre-registration required. Contact Molly Check for more information or to sign -up!

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Ages: Adults and families
Meets: Wednesday, December 16
Begins: 8am Wed., Dec. 16
Duration: All day and night
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

Free

Project Feeder Watch
Project Feeder Watch is a winter-long bird survey that helps scientists track long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. With Feeder Watch, your observations become part of something bigger! Join a Schrader Center Naturalist as we count the birds that visit the feeders just outside the windows. Project Feeder Watch dates are January 6 & 7, 13 & 14, 20 & 21; 27 & 28; February 3 & 4, 10 & 11, 17 & 18, 24 & 25.  No experience necessary – beginner and expert birders welcome. Stop by for as little or as long as you like!

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Ages: All
Meets: 10am-12pm, January 6 & 7, 13 & 14, 20 & 21; 27 & 28; February 3 & 4, 10 & 11, 17 & 18, 24 & 25
Begins: 10am
Duration: 2 hours

Free (donations accepted)

Winter Forest Luminary Walk (NEW!)
Celebrate the new year at the Schrader Center with a delightful walk through the forest. Our trails are the perfect setting to explore the forest by the soft glow of luminaria! After your guided walk, warm up by the campfire with complimentary hot cocoa and s’mores, and stop by the craft corner to make a keepsake winter craft. Pre-registration encouraged. Popcorn and bottled water available for sale.

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Ages: All
Meets: 6pm, 7pm, 8pm or 9pm January 9 & 16
Begins: 6pm, 7pm, 8pm & 9pm each night
Duration: 1 hour walks
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$5 per person

Great Backyard Bird Count
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. Participants are asked to count birds for as little as 15 minutes (or as long as they wish). Anyone can take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count, from beginning bird watchers to experts, and you can participate from your backyard, or anywhere in the world. Join us at the Schrader Center as we count birds at our feeders and around the building, and we’ll send our results to Audubon to be included in the national tally.

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Ages: All
Meets: 9-11am Sat., Feb. 13 (stop by anytime and stay as long as you like)
Begins: 9am Sat., Feb. 13
Duration: 2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

Free

Maple Campfire Dinner
Learn the basics of cooking over a campfire, then enjoy the sweets of your labor! In this tasty program, we’ll slow-bake sweet potatoes and top them with a drizzle of maple syrup. Maple-glazed ham and cornbread round out our delectable menu. Water served with dinner; BYOB. Pre-registration required.

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Ages: Families & adults
Meets: 5:30-6:30pm Thursday, March 4
Begins: 5:30pm Thurs., Mar. 4
Duration: 1 hour
Instructor(s): Molly Check

$15 ($5 per addtl. person)/$12 ($4 per addtl. person) OI members

Maple Sugaring Day
Experience the history of maple syrup production at fun, educational stations along the forested trails of the sugar bush. See a wide variety of sugaring techniques, from the Native American way through modern methods. Each tour lasts approximately 60 minutes and includes a hot pancake breakfast. There will be a 50-50 raffle at this event. Pre registration encouraged; this event typically sells out. Meets at Camp Russel in Oglebay Park.

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Ages: All
Meets: 9am-1pm Sat., Mar. 13
Begins: 9am, Sat., Mar. 13
Duration: 60 minute tours, leaving every 30 minutes from 9am-12pm
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

$12/$10 OI members (Children 3 & under are free)

Corporate & Group Programs

A.B. Brooks Nature Hike
Nature Hikes are part of a long tradition of nature study in Oglebay Park. The A.B. Brooks Nature Hike will focus on natural history and serves as a venue for socialization and the sharing of ideas.The Schrader Center staff will lead groups of up to 20 participants through 1 mile of trails around Oglebay. It is recommended to wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes and clothing that is weather-appropriate. Sunglasses are a plus. Field guides and binoculars will be provided.

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Ages: Adults
Meets: by appointment
Begins: by appointment
Duration: 1 hour
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Staff

$25 per person ($125 minimum)