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Beaver County balloon artist puts love of weather into her many pursuits

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 6:37 p.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
CEO of Amber's Amazing Animal Balloons Amber J. Liggett, 17, of Beaver, hands over a unicorn balloon animal she made during a dance at Blackhawk High School in Beaver Falls on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014. Liggett will start teaching a class in March at Community College of Beaver County called 'Wild and Wonderful Weather.' In the class, students will learn about cloud structures, different weather patterns, and how to stay safe during severe weather. Assisting her at the dance is Jennifer Frantz (right), 18, of Beaver Falls.

Amber Liggett is a weather fanatic.

“It's been like a second love of mine,” said Liggett, 17, of Bridgewater in Beaver County.

In fact, the teen has been incorporating her love of all things weather into her entrepreneurial pursuits, including her animal balloon business; the classes she teaches at a community college; and her participation as the only teen with her own company exhibiting at the 13th annual WeatherFest, a four-hour science and weather fair in Atlanta earlier this month.

Sponsored by the Boston-based American Meteorological Society and geared toward students in kindergarten through 12th grade, WeatherFest took place during the society's 94th annual meeting.

“And I met so many people through the field. It was amazing,” said Liggett, who is a senior at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland.

Because WeatherFest took place on Groundhog Day, Liggett was an exhibitor under her business, Amber's Amazing Animal Balloons, and used balloons to make a mock groundhog, sun and Earth in her discussions about weather, the significance of the folklore behind the groundhog “seeing his shadow,” weather safety tips and facts about weather balloons, she said.

More than 5,000 people attended the five-day meteorological meeting. Liggett's attendance was sponsored by the NCAS CAREERS Weather Camp Alumni because of a weather camp she attended at Howard University in Washington in 2012, she said.

Liggett started Amber's Amazing Animal Balloons in 2005. In addition to making balloon animals and arrangements at private, community and corporate events, Liggett does face painting, spin art and sponge painting in her business.

Next up for Liggett will be teaching a class, Wild and Wonderful Weather, to children and teens at the Community College of Beaver County in March. During the class, students will learn about cloud structures, different weather patterns and how to stay safe during severe weather.

Liggett has been a paid instructor for entrepreneurial, balloon and music craft classes for youths through the college's continuing education department for about five years. Her first time teaching for CCBC was during an autism camp in 2009, during which she taught a balloon workshop for campers. She was invited back to teach classes for campers and children without disabilities.

“She has a very good manner with the kids, and she's able to get down to their level ... get them to learn,” said Jack Boyde, program specialist in CCBC's continuing education department.

Liggett's love of weather is a family trait, said her mother, Marcia Liggett, 40.

“My husband and I just love weather. We're weather junkies,” said Marcia Liggett.

President of her school's National Honor Society, Amber Liggett also is a member of the school's women's and concert choirs, Steel Drum Ensemble and student council.

She plans to double major in meteorology and oceanography at Millersville University, which has awarded her a Board of Governor's Scholarship that will pay for her tuition.

“But I'm also planning on keeping my business going through college and after college,” she said.

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