Earth Day: Where Worlds Collide
On April 17th, my kindergartners walked from their school to the nearby University for a field trip. Charlotte Apple and I were lucky to score jobs as chaperones. As we hiked, keeping mittens and hats on chilly fingers and ears, stopping to tie a dozen shoes or so, the spirit of collectively walking from point A to point B with a very large group kept me grinning. Of course, teacher inspired skipping, puddle skirting, hopping, jumping and singing just brought out the dormant kindergartener in me, too. And reminded me that kindergarten teachers are some of the most wonderful, marvelous people on the planet.
As a family, we are walkers. We live in the heart of our city and we're walking distance from most things that are important to us...we can walk to a bus stop to take us to other moderately-flung places about town, too. Wednesday's walk is hopefully the start of 'walking season' again in Duluth. Spring will come. It will.
The field trip comprised of an hour program in the Planetarium and an hour in the Tweed Museum of Art, both located on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. Between these destinations, we walked past a lecture hall where a certain math geek we all love was teaching a class! After a little gawking and a wave to their dad, classrooms of kindergartners and their chaperones continued on their way.
Having kids crane their necks to gaze up at stars, either real or those projected on a rounded screen, is amazing. They hear the stories of constellation mythology and they run with it. Already, at 5 and 6 years of age they have understanding of the Earth's rotation and of where we fit in our solar system (3rd rock from the sun!). These kids know that Pluto isn't a planet (sad trombone!). They know about revolutions around the sun. They saw images of all the planets, of some asteroids. They saw waterworlds that make up some of Jupiter's moons and got to hold on to the North Star as the other stars in the night sky cruised around it. The program answered some questions. But inspired many, many more.
In the Tweed, the art educator had college student volunteers at the ready to bring students from masterpiece to masterpiece to ask them questions about how certain works made them feel, about what colors were chosen and why and asked them if they thought the work was old or new. Perspectives of kindergartners are fun. They are filled with joy and they choose to see joy in paintings even swiped with sorrowfilled color, anger and despair.
Today, we woke up to a winter wonderland. It appears we live in a perpetual snowglobe around here! Boy. There is a LOT of the white stuff. But it is pretty. And it's kinda funny, too. So, 18 inches of snow in our parts means it's awfully tricky for the bus drivers. It's another snowday! We'd had tentative plans of visiting the grandparents in southwestern Minnesota for the weekend, but we feel we'd best postpone that 'til another less snowy time. The silver lining to postponing our trip will be that there are SO MANY fun things happening in our fair city this weekend! So after shoveling, watching Pete's Dragon, reading a lot of books, coloring, we decided to get a jump start on some of the Earth Day events right in our own kitchen. We gathered the broken blue, green and a couple white crayons from the crayon bin and set to work. We peeled the crayons..some of us (okay only one of us!) with our teeth! We broke them in to bits and then arranged them, trying for polar icecaps and a couple of floating landmasses amidst a multi-colored sea. We baked the crayon bits in a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes and let them cool. Popping them out of the pan we were rewarded with a little bit of recycled art, honoring knowledge of our planet, recycling, and just enjoying the terra firma beneath our feet on our wonderful Earth Mother.
Now, all the kids are galloping about the house not needing me. They are wrapping presents in homemade gift wrap to give to each other for Earth Day. Like they needed an excuse! So, after shoveling away, you'll want somewhere to play if you are in Duluth, MN this weekend! The Tweed and the Planetarium are both hosting family days on Saturday, there is an Earth Day Arts Festival at Washington Studios, and a Gallery Hop on Saturday, too. So get out there, celebrate our Earth Mama and the artist and scientist in you! Hope to see you there!
To make your own Earth Day crayons:
-Broken crayons in blues, greens, whites.
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Break or chop crayons.
3. Arrange to your liking in a muffin tin.
4. Bake for about 25 minutes. Longer and they could start smoking.
5. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the counter.
6. Place in the fridge for another 15 minutes.
7. Pop out and enjoy!
Here are some links for some of the fun things happening in town this weekend!
Art for Earth Day Family Day at the Tweed:
Astronomy Day at the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium, UMD
Art for Earth Day Gallery Hop:
Birth & Baby Fair:
And there are going to be many more Earth Day inspired events next weekend, too! Keep a keen eye!