CRRL's newest MakerLab opened at Salem Church Branch beginning in April. This STEM exploration space includes hands-on activities and demonstrations for all ages, including a 3D printer, Ozobots, Snap Circuits, robot arms, Legos, and so much more. Regular hours for the Salem Church lab are every Friday, from 3:00-5:00.
One morning, the old wooden dam on the Rappahannock River went up in clouds of smoke. It was a huge thing—ancient and strong, built in layers to tame the river so that the power of the water pushing against it could provide electricity for the town. But it had been years since anyone tapped that power. Now, the dam was falling apart, and it was decided that it had become dangerous. So the Army Corps of Engineers blew it up one morning, and the river was flowing freely again—just as it had in previous centuries. By getting rid of the dam, the river had a chance to go back to being more like it once was. There would be more fish, which would mean more birds, and, really more of everything.
How much fun is it to make a building? Just a building, maybe not so much fun. But how about a superhero headquarters, a garage, a space station, a cottage, a stable, or a fashion doll house? By using recycled materials from around the house, and a few craft supplies, you can design your own toys exactly the way you want them.
Have you ever been in a place where there were lots of buildings but no trees? New housing developments or parts of a city that have been neglected for a long time may not have the shady spots and fresh air that trees give. As trees breathe, they let out oxygen that humans and animals need to survive. Their roots hold the ground together, making sure the soil doesn't blow away in the wind. When a tree dies naturally in the forest, its wood becomes a home for insects and a cafeteria for the hungry birds who eat those insects. Trees provide so many good things for the Earth.
An aquarium is a watery world in miniature. It can be as complicated as you want or just a simple and safe place to keep a beautiful and patient pet. If you're new to fish keeping, you should start with the basics, but even beginners can have a terrific aquarium. Both beta fish (also known as Siamese fighting fish or bettas) and goldfish are good for first-timers. They're attractive and not so demanding of a special environment in order to thrive.
When winter skies turn gray, and the air thickens with a chill, life becomes harder for the feathered ones. Food is scarcer, and handouts from us humans can make a difference to them. Take just a few minutes to create a place for the birds to hang out on a frosty day. Once you've got your feeder hung, check out a bird identification book from the library to learn the names of your grateful guests.
On Christmas Eve, a young girl dreams her beloved toy comes to life. He becomes her Nutcracker Prince and dances his Clara through the land of sweets and defeats the wicked Mouse King. Perhaps you've seen the ballet-- it's so popular that many ballet schools make it their featured holiday production year after year. The music is amazing—from the wild Russian dance to the slow and mysterious Arabian dance. It all flows together to create a magical night of exhilarating performances.
Columbus Day is sometimes called Discoverers' Day. In the spirit of discovery, take some time to learn about the world as it was in the days of the European explorers. You can make a compass, learn about the stars, read about other explorers and discoverers, and find how even our way of eating has changed since the Europeans came to the Americas looking for gold, glory, and, yes, tasty cooking spices.
Where has the summer gone? I feel like it has flown by, and I was starting to get a little down about that, but rather than think, “Oh, my gosh, it’s almost August!”, I decided to take a glass-half-full approach and tell myself, “There are still six weeks until Labor Day!” Plenty of time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. Six weeks of summer means plenty of time to still sign up for Summer Reading at the library, earn fun prizes, and become eligible for raffle drawings for other terrific prizes, including tablets, book bundles, and movie passes.
Officially, May Day is the 1st of May, but really anytime during this splendid spring month is a perfect opportunity to share small gifts of the season with everyone: teachers; friends; neighbors; and family. You can do that with May baskets—a wonderful, old-fashioned tradition.