Class takes look at spiders

WHEELING – Dr. Richard Bradley, “Common Spiders of North America” author, will give a naturalist class on common spiders from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Oglebay Good Zoo and a presentation for families, “Spectacular Spiders,” from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 3 at Oglebay’s Schader Environmental Education Center.

The naturalist class is open to anyone 16 and older and counts as three elective hours in the zoo’s Master Naturalist program. The cost is $24.

“Spiders are a very diverse group of invertebrates, yet poorly studied and very misunderstood,” said Penny Miller, zoo director. “Part of our Master Naturalist program is teaching people about all components of a healthy ecosystem, not just the popular ones like birds and butterflies.”

During the naturalist class, Bradley will discuss how to identify key spider groups by web design and other identification tips. Spider biology, anatomy and behavior will also be addressed, and students will go out on zoo grounds to find and identify spiders.

“We have over 100 species in our area, but North America has over 4,700 species” said Miller.

Students will also get to meet the zoo’s resident tarantulas.

For information, call Miller at (304) 243-4027. The schedule for all upcoming Master Naturalist classes can be found at

The second program is offered for families with young children 10 years of age and up. Families can meet Bradley and go on a spider hunt at the Schrader Center for an evening program.

“Feeling brave?” asked Alice Eastman, Schrader director. “Join Dr Bradley as he leads us for a look into the scary world of spiders. Discover some facts and fiction about spiders, then embark on a journey into their world outside.”

The evening program cost is $6 per person, $5 each for Oglebay Institute members. For information, call the Schrader Center at (304) 243-4214.

The Master Naturalist program is open to all area nature lovers, 16 years of age and older. The program was developed by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and the Good Zoo at Oglebay is a training site. Classes are held at the zoo on Saturdays and Sundays and often involve walks in the woods and occasional field trips to a farm pasture, wetlands or streams.

“Anyone who enjoys the outdoors will love these classes,” added Miller. “We have husbands and wives signing up together, some teens with their parents, and lots of individuals.”

The schedule for all upcoming Master Naturalist classes can be found at or call Miller at (304) 243-4027.