Spark Night at Oglebay Recap
Last night, members of the Spark, Kids+Creativity Network joined with education professionals in Wheeling, West Virginia for a gathering at the Schrader Center for Environmental Education at Oglebay Institute. The evening included a networking reception, followed by presentations on Spark, the Oglebay Institute, and the Schrader Center. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from some […]
Last night, members of the Spark, Kids+Creativity Network joined with education professionals in Wheeling, West Virginia for a gathering at the Schrader Center for Environmental Education at Oglebay Institute. The evening included a networking reception, followed by presentations on Spark, the Oglebay Institute, and the Schrader Center. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from some of the leaders in the movement to advance learning and creativity opportunities for children in the Greater Pittsburgh region and how that movement is expanding into the communities of West Virginia.
Dustin Stiver, Program Officer for Engagement and Collaboration at The Sprout Fund, presented an overview the Spark program, the services it offers, and opportunities to build connections between network members in Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Dustin noted past projects that have been supported through Spark awards and described upcoming opportunities to apply for Spark Awards to support projects in West Virginia. Spark is able to assist anyone seeking to advance the learning opportunities for children.
Kathleen McDermott, Present of Oglebay Institute, spoke to the audience about what the institute had to offer- not only at The Schrader Environmental Education Center, but also through the Stifel Fine Arts Center, the Museums, the School of Dance, as well as the Towngate Theatre and Cinema. Kathleen also spoke of the potential benefits of building a bridge between the Pittsburgh region and Wheeling, West Virginia, noting that both areas have a passion for creatively educating the youth.
Following Kathleen’s presentation, the audience heard from Eriks Janelsins, the Director of the Schrader Center. Stressing the need to re-connect today’s children with the natural world, Eriks spoke wonders about the learning opportunities that students have had through the center’s programs that provide creative ways to learn-through exploring the outside. Eriks shared the example of a nine year old girl discovering a species of butterfly that was new to the Ohio River Valley region during a Schrader Center program, a remarkable moment that not only inspired youth exploration of nature, but made an important contribution to the natural sciences. The programs he spoke of encouraged the youth to get outdoors and see the world in a new light, sparking an interest they may have otherwise not been introduced to. His presentation exemplified the passion that Eriks and his team at the Schrader Center have for providing youth with the opportunity to learn something new.
Last night’s Spark Night at the Schrader Environmental Education Center at Oglebay Institute served as a foundation for a relationship between Pittsburgh and Wheeling. Many important connections were established and significant ideas developed through conversations.
There is great potential for the expansion of the Spark, Kids+Creativity Network and last evening’s event was only the beginning!
Published July 13, 2012