Educators throughout the tri-state who are interested in sparking creativity in children through nature and technology are invited to a free program at Oglebay Institute's Schrader Environmental Education Center from 6-8 p.m. July 12. The event also will provide an opportunity to network with like-minded professionals.
Spark Night at the Schrader Center will be presented by Schrader director Eriks Janelsins and will include educational activities, a tour of the grounds and a reception.
Spark is "a network of people, projects and organizations in the greater Pittsburgh region that are empowering children and youth by creating relevant learning opportunities through the compelling use of technology, media and the arts," according to Dustin Stiver, program officer at The Sprout Fund, which leads the Spark Program in Pittsburgh.
Zak Klemm, nature day camp educator at Oglebay Institute’s Schrader Environmental Education Center in Wheeling, gives campers a lesson during nature camp. Schrader’s outdoor programming has attracted the attention of the Pittsburgh group, Spark, which has invited the center to host a Spark Night for educators July 12.
"Oglebay Institute is part of the (Spark) network, and we are proud to partner with them to host Spark Night at Oglebay. The event is an opportunity for folks to learn more about the services Spark provides to our region (including grant-making, networking and documentation) and explore Oglebay's Schrader Environmental Education Center. I hope many new faces will join us on July 12 so that we can continue growing the network, in order to create more inspiring learning opportunities for children and youth."
Kathleen McDermott, Oglebay Institute executive director, said she has attended Spark programs in Pittsburgh. The organization used to be called Kids+Creativity.
"They think we're doing great things in Wheeling and they feel a lot of resources can be shared both ways, not just Wheeling going to Pittsburgh but Pittsburgh coming to Wheeling," McDermott said.
"This program is going to be about children and play through nature. One of the things the Schrader Center has been promoting ... is that kids don't really play outside like they used to. Programs at the Schrader really get kids engaged in the outdoors."
She added anyone who works with children is invited to attend, whether in informal or formal settings.
The Schrader Center is located in Oglebay Park, Wheeling. Spark Night registration is required. For information or to register, call 412-325-0646.