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

Soap Making Workshop
Learn the steps of old-fashioned soap making. This hands-on program walks you through each step as you make shampoo, hand-soap, lard and suet cakes to take home. Participants will need to bring an apron, a quart container with screw-on lid, and a bag to take your handmade products home. Dress for the weather; we will be outside for at least one hour. Program includes a homemade lunch. Pre-registration required.

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Ages: Adults
Meets: 9am-2pm Saturday, April 24 (lunch provided)
Begins: Sat., April 24
Duration: 5 hours
Instructor(s): Cindy & Molly Check

$35/$30 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 Spring Series (CANCELED)
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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March 5: Energy Flows
March 12: Who Makes a Mud Pie?
March 19: The Chicken or The Egg?
March 26: X-Stream Experience
April 9: Amphibian Fun!

Ages: 4-6 (without an adult)
Meets: 1-2pm, March 5, 12, 19, 26 & April 9
Begins: Fri., March 5
Duration: 1 hour sessions
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$55/$40 OI members ($25 for each additional child)
Limited Walk-ins: $12/$10 OI members; $5 for each
additional child

Roots ‘N Shoots Spring Series (CANCELED)
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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March 5: Here Comes the Sun
March 12: Inside a Raindrop
March 19: Who Hatches?
March 26: Are You My Mother?
April 9: Amphibian Fun!

Ages: 2-4 with an adult
Meets: 9:15-10:15am, March 5, 12, 19, 26, and April 9
Begins: Fri., March 5
Duration: 1 hour sessions
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$55/$40 OI members ($25 for each additional child)
Limited Walk-ins: $12/$10 OI members; $5 for each
additional child

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

Girls in Science Club (April 17) (NEW!)
We’re celebrating all things science with this fabulous hands-on science program for girls only. Projects will explore potential and kinetic energy by making and testing marshmallow shooters, then building and launching bottle rockets. 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., April 17
Begins: 10am Sat., Apr. 17
Duration: 2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$10/$8 OI members

Daisy Badge Fest
Join us for a fun and exciting morning of badge work! This program will cover the Daisy Trail Adventurer, Eco Learner, Outdoor Art Maker and Space Science Adventurer badges. Adults can stay for the program or drop-off scouts. Badges are included at no extra cost. Plan to swing by the Native Plant Sale while you’re here.

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Ages: Daisy Girl Scouts
Meets: 9am-12pm, Saturday, May 8
Duration: 3 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$32 per scout (includes 4 badges)

Nature Programs for Families

Maple Sugaring Day
Experience the history of maple syrup production at Oglebay Institute’s annual Maple Sugaring Day at Camp Russel in Oglebay Park.

Begin by learning techniques Native Americans and early pioneers used to gather and make maple syrup as you are guided from station to station along the trials. Modern methods of sap collection will also be demonstrated. Finish your tour with a hot pancake breakfast in the Camp Russel dining hall. Breakfast will be served to household groups at tables spaced safely throughout the lodge. Masks are required during the event (when not actively eating/drinking).

60 minute tours depart every half hour beginning at 9am from Camp Russel. Last tour leaves at 2:30pm. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Tour groups are limited to comply with current state outdoor gathering guidelines. Check-in table & 50-50 raffle will be set-up outside.

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Ages: All
Meets: 9am-2:30pm Saturday, March 13
Begins: 9am Sat., March 13
Duration: 60 minute tours, leaving every 30 minutes from 9am-2:30pm
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

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

On The Bunny Trail (SOLD OUT)
Join us for a classic family Easter event. Craft an Easter bag, then head outside for the egg hunt and collect up to 10 prize-filled eggs. Event also includes live chicks and rabbits, a bird nests & eggs exhibit, hands-on “egg” credible science demonstrations, egg dying and a visit from the Easter Bunny. Concessions (hotdogs, popcorn, candy) & 50-50 raffle tickets will be available for purchase. Adults must accompany their children. All pre-registrants will be entered into drawing for a chocolate bunny. (Limit 20 per time slot)

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Ages: All
Meets: 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm & 5pm Friday, April 2
Begins: Fri., April 2
Duration: 1 hour sessions
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

$5 per child (adults are free)

Be Unique, Be You and Live!
Join David A. George, author, self-advocate and motivational speaker for people of all ages who have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, autism or other learning disabilities. David is back to create community support to help people connect and grow through the healing power of music, nature imagery and time spent together in nature. David will speak about how critical it is to reduce negative, bitter and cynical thoughts & feelings in our community and replace them with more positive thoughts and feelings. This can help bring people together more consistently to appreciate the simple and joyous things that make us more human and help generate that “Chicken Soup for the Soul” feeling! After the inside presentation, take a short nature walk that ends at the campfire ring, where we’ll enjoy marshmallows roasted over the fire.

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Ages: All
Meets: 6:30-7:30pm Monday, April 19
Begins: Mon., April 19
Duration: 1 hour
Instructor(s): David George

$5 suggested donation per person

Earth Day Morning Nature Hike
Celebrate Earth Day and head outside! Start your day off right and join us on the Schrader Center trails. We’ll look for wildflowers, birds, animal tracks and more as we celebrate the Earth with a morning spent in nature. Pace is mild, terrain is easy.

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Ages: All
Meets: 8:30-9:30am Thursday, April 22
Begins: Wed., April 22
Duration: 1 hour
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$5 per person

Earth Day Afternoon Nature Hike
Join us at Bear Rock Lakes Wildlife Management Area for a nature walk along the trails. We’ll look for wildflowers, birds, animal tracks and more as we celebrate the Earth with time spent in nature. Pace is mild, terrain is easy.

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Ages: All
Meets: 1-2:30pm Thursday, April 22
Begins: Wed., April 22
Duration: 1 1/2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$5 per person

Daylight & Nighttime Astronomy
It’s National Astronomy Day! Explore the solar and lunar skies at a special astronomy event at Speidel Observatory in Oglebay Park. Tour the facility, try your eye at “solar observing,” see a meteorite display, and participate in space science activities from 1-4pm. Observe the evening sky through telescopes and learn about the constellations from 8-11pm (weather permitting).

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Ages: All
Meets: 1-4pm & 8-11pm Saturday, May 15
Begins: 1-4pm (solar observing) and/or 8-11pm (constellations)
Duration: 2 sessions, 3 hours each
Instructors: Oglebay Astronomy Club

Free

Native Plant Sale
Choose from a variety of native flowers to beautify your yard. Sun loving and shade loving perennial plants will be available, as well as a selection of culinary herbs. Call in advance with your requests. Reduced price plants will be sold throughout the following week.

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Ages: All
Meets: 9am-4pm Saturday, May 8
Begins: Sat., May 8
Duration: 6 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

Free admission

Family Camping Trip
Can’t find the time to plan a classic family camping trip? We can help! Bring sleeping bags and a tent, or contact us about rentals, and we’ll provide the rest. Activities include a live animal presentation, dinner, s’mores around the campfire and a short night hike. In the morning, enjoy a relaxing bird walk and breakfast before packing up camp. A Schrader Center naturalist will coordinate activities and be on-site for the entire experience. Pre-registration required.

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Ages: All
Meets: 4pm Saturday, June 5 – 10am Sunday, June 6
Begins: 4pm Sat., June 5
Duration: 18 hours
Instructor(s): Molly Check

$20/$15 OI members (group discounts available; call for details)

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)