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Monarch magic!

Families can celebrate Earth Day at Schrader

April 19, 2012
Times Leader

WHEELING - The public is invited to celebrate Earth Day 2012 at Oglebay Institute's Schrader Environmental Education Center, located in Oglebay Resort. Hands-on butterfly-themed activities are planned from noon 4 p.m. Sunday, April 22 and coincide with the dedication of one of the Center's newest additions, a three-dimensional, suspended art installation titled "Monarch Rabble," which features 2,000 butterflies swooping and soaring throughout the exhibit hall.

Activities include children's stories, crafts and activities with Schrader Center educator Robin Lee, hands-on "Monarch Magic" presentations by author, naturalist and monarch expert Ba Rea, flower and tree planting and light refreshments. Milkweed and wildflower seed packets will also be given away to participants. All activities are free and open to the public.

"We have planned a day of fun and educational activities that will enable families to celebrate Earth Day together. We are very excited to have two very special guests joining us - naturalist Ba Rea, who will present her engaging ' Monarch Magic' program and artist Erica Loustau, whose 'Monarch Rabble' art installation adds beauty and color to our exhibit hall and serves as an example of how nature inspires art," said Schrader Center Director Eriks Janelsins.

All of her life, Ba Rea has been passionate about the natural world - enjoying, investigating, learning and sharing what she discovers. These days she lives in the woods on the Knobs over Union, West Virginia. She has researched, drawn, photographed and written about many different plants, animals and natural phenomena. She has worked with a wide variety of organizations, including Indian Creek Watershed Association, Kenai Fjords National Park, Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, Maine Audubon, Audubon Society of New Hampshire, Monarchs in the Classroom, Lifestrands, Ridge2000, Wings of Wonder, ASSET, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Frick Environmental Center, the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, and the Anita Purves Nature Center in Urbana, Illinois.

Ba's favorite creatures are monarch butterflies. She has been raising and releasing monarchs since 1970 and introducing monarchs to school children and teachers since 1986. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in an individual plan of study, called visual literacy, which combined studies in illustration, educational psychology and natural history. In order to better understand how children learn and how teachers teach, Ba completed an elementary teaching certification program at Chatham College. She continued her studies at Chatham College, earning a master's degree in children's and adolescent writing, with an emphasis on natural history writing.

Schrader Center's Earth Day Celebration Schedule of Events:

Noon 4p.m. Children's Activities

Join us for a story by children's author Ba Rea about the life cycle and miraculous migration of the Monarch butterfly. See for yourself how a butterfly's vision helps it find its food as you try to find your "host" flower, spread some pollen, and taste some nectar. Celebrate the importance of butterflies as pollinators in these hands-on learning activities designed for small folk. Make your own symmetrical Monarch butterfly to take home.

Noon 4 p.m. Planting

Plant flowers in the Corson Butterfly Garden and trees along the Discovery Trails

1 4p.m.- Monarch Magic

Hands-on presentations with author, naturalist and monarch expert Ba Rea.

2:30 p.m. Dedication Ceremony for "Monarch Rabble"

Join us as we dedicate the three-dimensional, suspended installation by artist Erica Loustau that features 2,000 aluminum butterflies and is on permanent display in the Schrader Center exhibit hall. The butterflies welcome guests at the door and lead them through the Exhibit Hall to the windows and decks overlooking the Corson Butterfly Garden, bringing the outdoors inside.

Begun in 1970, Earth Day is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. In its early years, Earth Day was focused mainly on the United States, but is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.

For more information, contact Oglebay Institute's Schrader Environmental Education Center at 304-242-6855.



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