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

Food Preservation 101 Workshop (NEW!)
Preserving the harvest was essential for our ancestor’s survival, and it can still enrich our lives today! This hands-on program walks you through the steps of freezing, fermenting, canning with a water bath, and using a pressure canner. Includes the basics of making sauerkraut, dill pickles, hot pepper jelly, canned tomatoes, and more! Bring an apron if you have one. Program includes a homemade lunch. Pre-registration required. Space is limited.

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Ages: Adults
Meets: 9am-2:30pm, Saturday, August 22
Begins: 9am Sat., Aug. 22
Duration: 5 1/2 hours
Instructor(s): Cindy & Molly Check

$45/$40 OI members (includes lunch)

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. Participants will need to bring an apron, a quart container with screw-on lids, and a bag to take your products home. Dress for the weather; we’ll be outside for at least one hour. Program includes a homemade lunch.

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Ages: Adults
Meets: 9am-2pm Saturday, September 19
Begins: Sat., Sept. 19
Duration: 5 hours
Instructor(s): Cindy & Molly Check

$35/$30 OI members (includes lunch)

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 Fall 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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Sept. 4: Ughs, Bugs, & Slugs
Sept. 18: Caching In, Squirrel Style
Oct. 2: Tree Leaf Investigators
Oct. 16: What Lurks in the Night?
Oct. 30: Fall Fire Building
Nov. 13: Migration Nation

Ages: 5-8 (without an adult)
Meets: 1-2pm Sept. 4 & 18, Oct. 2, 16 & 30 and Nov. 13
Begins: Fri., Sept. 4
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 Fall 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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Sept. 4: Herman the Worm
Sept. 18: Furry Forest Foragers
Oct. 2: Leaves are FALLing
Oct. 16: Webs of Wonder
Oct. 30: The Life of a Pumpkin
Nov. 13: “Amphibioso”

Ages: 2-4 with an adult
Meets: 9:15-10:15am, Sept. 4 & 18, Oct. 2, 16 & 30 and Nov. 13
Begins: Fri., Sept. 4
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.

Junior Badge Fest 2020
Join us for a fun and exciting day of badge work! The morning session (9:30am-11:30am) will cover the Animal Habitats and Space Science Investigator badges. The afternoon session (12-2pm) will cover the Flowers, Gardener and Outdoor Art Explorer badges. Sign up for one or both sessions! If you come to both sessions, please bring your own lunch.

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Ages: Junior Girl Scouts
Meets: 9:30am-2pm, Saturday, Sept. 26 (Rescheduled from 3/28/20.)
Begins: Sat., Sept. 26
Duration: Full-day 4 hours; half-day 2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$20 per scout per session, or $30 per scout for both
sessions.

Brownie Badge Fest 2020
Join us for a fun day of badge work! The morning session (9:30am-11:30am) will cover the Brownie Trail Adventure, 1st Aid and Hiker badges. The afternoon session (12-2pm) will cover the Outdoor Adventurer, Outdoor Art Creator and Painting badges. Sign-up for one or both sessions! If you come to both sessions, please bring your own lunch.

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Ages: Brownie Girl Scouts
Meets: 9:30am-2pm, Saturday, November 14
Begins: Sat., Nov. 14
Duration: Full day 4 1/2 hours; Half day 2 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalist

$20 per scout per session, or $30 per scout for both sessions

Nature Programs for Families

Daylight & Nighttime Astronomy
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). In addition to the first-quarter Moon, Jupiter and Saturn will be high in the sky together that night, and Mars will rise later in the evening, so it should be a great night for planet viewing! 

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Ages: All
Meets: 1-4pm & 8-11pm Saturday, September 26
Begins: 1-4pm (solar observing) and/or 8-11pm (constellations)
Duration: 2 sessions, 3 hours each
Instructors:  Oglebay Astronomy Club

Free

EcoFest (CANCELED)
Our family festival celebrates the earth with hands-on exhibits, live animal presentations, face painting, vendors, community group exhibits, a scavenger hunt, bird watching, nature crafts, a 50-50 raffle, community rummage sale, and more! Popcorn, apple cider, and other treats available for sale. Free Admission!  

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Ages: All
Meets: 10am-5pm, Saturday, October 3
Begins: 10am Sat., Oct. 3
Duration: 6 1/2 hours
Instructors: Schrader Center Naturalists

Free admission (food available for extra cost)

Be Unique, Be You, and Live!
David George returns to the Schrader Center to celebrate the healing power of music, nature imagery, and time spent together in nature. David is an 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. After the inside presentation, take a short nature walk that ends at the campfire ring, where we will enjoy marshmallows roasted over the crackling fire.  

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Ages: All
Meets: 6:30-8pm Monday, October 5
Begins: Mon., Oct. 5
Duration: 1 1/2 hours
Instructor(s): David George

Free ($5 suggested donation)

Haunted Trail
Celebrate Halloween with a special, one-night event on our haunted trail!

The early session (4-7pm) is designed for families with small pumpkins…grab a scavenger hunt clipboard and follow our “not so spooky” trail into the woods looking for all the items on the list. Finish the hunt and pick a prize from our special Halloween treasure chest, then enjoy some Halloween games and activities!

The later session (7-10pm) is reserved for our older friends who enjoy a dark and spooky trail! Follow the self-guided trail for traditional jump scares and spooky fun! What lurks in the woods after dark? Come find out! End at the campfire, where concessions are available for sale. (Rain date is October 17.)

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Ages: Families with young children and adults & families with older children
Meets: 4-7pm (families with young children) and 7-10 pm (adults & families with older children) Saturday October 10
Begins: Sat., Oct. 10
Duration: 6 hours
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

$10 per person

Pumpkin Patch Movie Night (NEW!)
Join us outside as we watch “Casper’s Halloween Special” on the projector screen. Popcorn and hot cocoa provided! Before the movie, pick your own mini pumpkin from the patch to take home! Bring your own blankets and cozy sit-upons for the movie. In case of inclement weather, the movie will be presented inside.

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Ages: All
Meets: 7:15-8pm Saturday, October 24
Begins: Sat., Oct. 24
Duration: 45 minutes
Instructor(s): Schrader Center Naturalists

$10 per child (parents are free)

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
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

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)