Saturday, October 9, 2010

October Activities

We're in the last month of our season, and we have plenty of activities for the weekends--making Halloween masks, creating animal totem poles, and hiking on the trails as the leaves are turning. The Boys and Girls Club of Orange just came by yesterday and made Halloween masks after collecting seeds, leaves, and fall flowers to glue on them. We took a look at the Rivanna River, where many of the children had learned to kayak a few weeks before.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Summer Camps

The Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center did a lot of new activities during our summer camps this year: we made our own compasses, painted petroglyphs, and did bark rubbings, learning about many different trees. We saw what looked like a great white heron for the first time on the Rivanna. We've seen an eagle, great blue herons, green herons, and osprey--but never the great white heron. We saw it first when we were kayaking, and later when we were swimming. It was as big as the great blue with an impressive wingspan, and bigger than the great egret. Since my book says the great white doesn't get this far North, we need to get a closer look at this bird.

For the first time we crossed the Rivanna River and enjoyed the trails that border Pen Park. In previous years, the river has been too high, but the drought and hot conditions had at least one good outcome. We made it over the shoals and led a wonderful hike on a wide and shady trail.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June Programs

Yesterday and today the Center hosted the Young Women Leaders Program from the University of Virginia. The young women and their mentors practiced their carpentry skills and made wonderful birdhouses for bluebirds and swallows. There are similar birdhouses near the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center that are monitored weekly for nests. The YWLP also painted an oar for the Keelboat Barn's collection. We are inviting the other non-profit groups we work with to design oars for display in our barn.

Today we also had a visit from the Boys and Girls Club of Orange. We took our gardening cushions and sat at five different locations around the park, exploring sights and sounds. We shut our eyes for a minute at each location, noticing bird calls, the different sounds of the wind in the trees, and the noise of some rapids in the Rivanna River. We also heard golfers in Penn Park, a truck backing up, and a helicopter--there was a lot to hear out at Darden Towe Park.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May Weekends

We're open 10-4 on Saturdays and 12-4 on Sundays at the Keelboat Barn. Cost is $3 per person (children 3 and under are free). The theme for this season is "Stories," where we highlight short stories about the Lewis & Clark Expedition and other explorations, stories of the American Indian experience of the Expedition, stories already told and stories our visitors tell. We provide ink and quill pens. Just think of it as a very old-fashioned blog.

Our art activities for May include making Flower Mosaics, using scissors and foam; painting our new collection of animals to hide on the trails; and practising carpentry skills. All ages welcome! And we have new physical challenges: a log walk and two rope swings. Come by and check out what's new on our trail!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Afterschool Workshops

Our weekend hours will resume in May, and while we're preparing for a busy 2010, we're also leading workshops in the Albemarle County and City of Charlottesville public schools. We're currently working in seven locations: Agnor-Hurt, Johnson, Scottsville, Clark, Burnley-Moran, Stony Point, and the Boys and Girls Club of Orange. The workshops, made possible by the Prana Fund of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, have been rewarding for students and mentors alike, and have included painting, printmaking, drawing, mapping, maskmaking, and nature sculpture.

We're going to be having an exhibition of the students' work later in the year, and we'll let you know as soon as we set the dates.