Tag Archives: tanglewood nature center

“When the earth needs a drink, Mother Nature makes it Rain!”

There is something about the smell that lingers in the air after a rainstorm in the summer time… for me it is extremely calming and refreshing, and it brings back many memories of summers spent playing outside as a child.

Unfortunately, this summer we have had very few rainstorms, meaning far fewer chances to enjoy this experience. However, this week we were lucky enough to receive some much needed rain!

The rain triggered a conversation between myself and a 9-year-old girl. I asked her why she thought rain was important, and her answer was sweet and simple: “It helps everything on the earth, like plants so they are able to grow, and for people to drink!” She then continued with “When the earth needs a drink, Mother Nature makes it rain!”

 The Garden of Fire continues to spark imaginations this year with the theme of WATER.

So far this summer the Corning Youth Center has visited The Rockwell Museum to make clay animal sculptures to protect their gardens, they have made and decorated their own rain sticks while learning about how to cope with their own emotions, and they have visited the Tanglewood Nature Center to go on a hike, meet some of their fascinating animals, and participate in a drumming circle, all while learning about the importance of water.

In each of these activities youth were encouraged to use their imaginations and to be creative. For their animal sculptures at The Rockwell, each youth was asked to choose a specific animal that they themselves could relate to. Some youth chose a bird, some chose snakes, another chose an elephant, and a young girl chose a lion. When asked why she chose a lion, specifically a male lion, she said:

“Because lions are strong, courageous, and fierce, like me!”

These moments are why we love Garden of Fire.

Ashlee Peachey
Laura Richardson Houghton Corning Youth Center

 

Photos courtesy of Dan Gallagher Photography

The Power of Water

This year’s theme is Water, and what a fantastic, flexible, flowing theme for the summer! Water is one of the most attractive of the elements – who doesn’t want to dip their toes in a stream, splash around in a stream, put their hands under a waterfall?

Water is powerful in two ways – it is a dynamic force with unique physical and chemical properties, and it is a constant reminder of our connection to the rest of the life on our planet.

Now, “unique physical and chemical properties” sounds cool to me, but it doesn’t necessarily fall that way on a kid’s ears. The trick to get them turned on to the awesomeness of water is to bring in our animal ambassadors, and encourage the kids to imagine how our animals use, adapt to, or even defy the powers of water in their daily life. The kids know how frigid winter can be here in New York, and how dry a summer drought can be. How do our amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals survive in a constantly changing environment?

The states of matter – solid, liquid, and gas – may not seem that exciting in a textbook. But when kids can see a grey tree frog up close and learn how this tiny creature changes his whole body chemistry to prevent the water in his cells from turning to ice and bursting his cell walls – that adds wonder and awe to what the youth know about two hydrogens and one oxygen molecule.

Talking about and meeting our animals also encourages the kids to reflect on their own bodies, and how important water is to their survival. The water in our cells connects us to the grey tree frog, and to the lettuces and tomatoes growing in the gardens. In each living being on the planet, H20 is circulating. Humans are breathing it out as water vapor; trees are transporting it through xylem and phloem. The Garden of Fire program provides room for kids to appreciate the strength of water in its different physical states, and the inspiration of water as a bond between all living things.

Water unifies, strengthens, and nourishes the children in the program – not just quenching their physical thirst or plumping the peppers they will harvest later, but also provoking questions and inspiring reflection on our responsibilities to each other and to the rest of the life on our planet.

Bridget Sharry
Community Relations Manager
Tanglewood Nature Center and Museum

 

Photos courtesy of Dan Gallagher Photography

2016: Summer of Water!

Last week, Garden of Fire partners met at The Rockwell Museum to finalize many details about programming and discussed aspects of this year’s theme of WATER. 

We are all very excited to be flowing into year three of this wonderful program for youth in our area . Water is essential to the existence of life and can be a great symbol of the relationship between all living things.

More than half of the human body is composed of water and about 71% of planet earth is water. Water can move through just about anything and over time can carve canyons.

Drop by drop, little by little, in the lives of children and teens who participate in the program, we hope to help open a stream of expression through the arts and a sense of wonder through the science that can move through their entire lives.

Participants can look forward to many water-themed projects and programs. For example, as the youth centers grow their gardens, they’ll work with Tanglewood Nature Center and learn about how crucial water is for gardens to grow, and how plants adapt to different climates based on availability of water in their natural habitat.IMG_8341

At The Rockwell, students will make their own Clay Animal Garden Sculptures, created with symbolism meant to protect and grow their garden. With CareFirst, students will make their own rain sticks in conjunction with reflection on internal growth.

We are so excited to launch this summer’s program – it can’t come soon enough! Look for the full summer schedule coming soon. Until then….

 

Gigi1
Gigi Alvare, Director of Education

The Rockwell Museum

Making Animal Friends with the Garden of Fire

Our summer program is up and running!  We have planned many activities with community partners for our kids, one being The Garden of Fire. Having had their first session with the Rockwell Museum and Tanglewood Nature Center, the children are excited to continue the journey and explore all that the Garden of Fire offers.

Week One began with the Garden of Fire story, read by Gigi Alvare, The Rockwell’s Director of Education. Students were assigned roles in the story and used animal puppets to say their lines.

Puppets2

Puppets

Parents were invited to participate in the day’s program.

Parents

Students met various garden animals with Ian of Tangle Wood Nature Center & Museum. They drew pictures of the animals in their Garden of Fire journals and wrote a bit about what they learned.

Bunny

Owl

Journal2

Worm

Journal

Turtle

I sat down and had a conversation with one of our kids, Kennedy, asking her what she thought of the program so far. Here is what Kennedy had to say in regards to the Garden of Fire;

I thought the story was really cool and I got to hold the deer puppet.  They helped me to understand what a metaphor is because they explained that it was a garden looked like it was on fire, when it actually was not.  All of the animals from Tanglewood were super cool.  They and the story helped me to understand the cycle of a garden and how it all works. I am really excited about what is to come from all of the artists and the different things we get to make.  I cannot wait for the festival and think that it will be really, really fun.

To see the excitement from the kids who are just starting to be involved with the Garden of Fire,  and the kids who have been involved in years past, shows that learning over the summer can be fun.  We look forward to hearing from the kids each week on what they learned and what they look forward to with the coming sessions.  The excitement for the festival is contagious and we look forward to being part of such an awesome project and day.

Mary Ellen Monahan
Missi Allison
The Salvation Army Summer Program Directors