West Liberty University Announces Good Zoo Partnership and New Degree Program

West Liberty University & Good Zoo Partnership

West Liberty University President Stephen Greiner, left, and Wheeling Park Commission President and CEO Stephen Hilliard, announce a new partnership that offers students a dynamic new major. Graduates of the program will earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a Zoo Science major and will be prepared to work in the field of accredited zoo and aquarium management.

Students interested in wildlife and science now have a new option at West Liberty University. In partnership with the Good Zoo at Oglebay, WLU’s College of Sciences has developed an innovative curriculum for zoo sciences.

“We are excited to partner with Oglebay Resort and work with its Good Zoo to offer students a dynamic new major. Now students interested in zoo careers will be able to learn from one of the best zoos in the region. We are grateful for the cooperation and work that went into making this new major a reality,” said WLU President Stephen Greiner at a 10 a.m. press conference held today at the Good Zoo.

Graduates of the new program will earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology with a Zoo Science major and will be prepared to work in the field of accredited zoo and aquarium management.

“We are always pleased to work with West Liberty University to foster future talent and are especially excited about this opportunity to provide students with real-life projects. This program offers a fresh approach that will not only enhance the students’ educational experience but also benefit the Good Zoo visitors and staff,” said Wheeling Park Commission President and CEO Stephen Hilliard.

The Good Zoo at Oglebay Resort was dedicated in memory of seven-year-old Phillip Mayer Good in 1977 with a mission to educate visitors regarding natural and physical sciences and to promote conservation. The zoo has 70 species, more than 20 of them rare or endangered, and is West Virginia’s only AZA-accredited zoo.

“We are proud to host one of only four zoo science bachelor degree majors in the United States at West Liberty and to collaborate with one of the top zoological institutions in the country. Our partnership with the Good Zoo makes our major unique. Students in the program will be exposed to hands-on, applied learning opportunities by receiving training and working with zoo and conservation center professionals and participating in current wildlife conservation research,” said Dr. Joe Greathouse, assistant professor of biology.

Greathouse joined WLU this past August. He formerly worked for The Wilds, a private, non-profit safari park and conservation center and before that he was curator of animals at Good Zoo.

“This opportunity will make the learning environment for our students unlike anywhere else in the country,” said Dr. Zac Loughman, associate professor of biology and 2014 West Virginia Professor of the Year.

Loughman also maintains an internationally known crayfish research laboratory and both Greathouse and Loughman are co-directors of the new program.

Some of the hands-on opportunities include a 10-week summer internship between the sophomore and junior year of study at an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoo.

Students also must volunteer in animal labs at the university and, during the junior and senior year of study, they must complete two semesters interning at the Good Zoo.

“This is a unique major and we are very excited to offer it to our biology students. The field of zoo keepers, curators and other zoological professions is growing and West Liberty University’s College of Sciences is proud to be a part of it,” said Dean Dr. Robert Kreisberg, who leads the College of Sciences.

The College of Sciences includes the departments of Health Sciences, Natural Science and Mathematics and the Physician Assistant program.

For complete information on the new zoo science major, please visit westliberty.edu/zoosci or call Greathouse at 304-336-8865 or Loughman at 304-336-8923, or email the program at zoosci@westliberty.edu.

Oglebay Ski Area to Open

Oglebay Ski & Snowboard Area

A groomer at the Oglebay Ski & Snowboard Area prepares the slope for opening on Friday, January 8. For daily hours and conditions call the Oglebay ski hotline at 304-243-4177 or visit the Oglebay ski website at ski.oglebay-resort.com.

The Ski Area at Oglebay will open for the season on Friday, January 8, 2016 at 4:00 p.m. and remain open until 10:00 p.m. Regular hours are Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Ski Area will also be open on Ohio County School closing days and on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President’s Day from 12:00 to 9:00 p.m.  All hours are weather permitting. For daily hours and conditions call the Oglebay ski hotline at 304-243-4177 or visit the Oglebay ski website.

“We have been making snow for the past few days and snowmaking will continue as the weather allows,” said Rico Coville, Director of Ski and Golf at Oglebay.

Lift ticket rates for adults (age 18 & over) are: Friday $22.00; Saturday, Sunday and holidays $26.00. Child (ages 6 to 17) lift rates are: Friday $16.00: Saturday, Sunday and holidays $21.00. Children ages 5 and under ski free with a paid adult.

Season passes and Five and Ten Ski Passes are currently available at the Hamm Clubhouse at the Speidel Golf Club and Alpine Skis and Boards. The passes will be available after opening day at the Ski Area.

Skis, boots and snowboards, are available for rental at the Oglebay ski facility. All renters under age 18 will require a release to be signed by their parent, guardian or custodian.

“Oglebay is a great place to learn to ski or snowboard,” added Coville.  For ski and snowboard instruction information call 304-243-4049.