Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count

Washtenaw Audubon SocietyWashtenaw Audubon Society

Looking for a break from the holiday hustle and bustle? Try a more relaxing weekend this Saturday, December 20th by joining up with the Washtenaw Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count. Each year for over a century the Audubon Society has organized local groups of birdwatchers to compile a list of all the birds spotted across the continent. The results help researchers track bird populations and identify habitats at risk. You can be a part of this international effort (and hone your bird identification skills) by signing up with the local chapter of the National Audubon Society.

Lookback Time: The Detroit Observatory

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In Seeing In The Dark, author Timothy Ferris writes, "Peering far into space means looking deep into time gone by. This phenomenon, known as 'lookback time,' makes historians of stargazers." Historians and stargazers alike can enjoy a look back in time to 1854 by visiting the Detroit Observatory at 1398 E. Ann St. In its day, the Observatory housed the first large telescope constructed in the United States, for years the third largest refractor in the world. It was the training ground for many 19th century astronomers, saw the discovery of 21 asteroids and 2 comets, and remains the most important physical legacy of the University's early scientific preeminence. "I cannot speak of the Observatory without emotion," said former UM president Henry Tappan. "No one will deny that it was a creation of my own." (Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, MI)

Although the dome is currently not operational, rendering the telescope unusable, the Observatory was fully restored in 1998 and the astronomical instruments remain intact and operational. Read more about the Observatory's legacy and watch for upcoming open houses in conjunction with UM's winter theme semester.

Go! the Board Game

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Learn to play the board game Go or test your skills against members of the University of Michigan Go Club. Players of any skill can enjoy Go. This Saturday, December 13, from 2:00-4:00 at the Traverwood Branch/AADL, all ages are welcome to play.

If you need to brush up on the basics, check out Go Basics or Go for Beginners. The US Go Association site is a great source for Go-related links and resources. The U-M club regularly meets at the Espresso Royale Cafe at State Street and North University, 7-11 Thursdays and 1-5 on Sundays. See you Saturday at Traverwood!

Tile-Making Workshop: Motawi Tileworks

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Make your own impressed art tile, using Motawi's clay and tools. The nationally-renowned sibling duo of Karim and Nawal Motawi, co-owners of Ann Abor-based Motawi Tileworks will share their expertise about art tile and tell the story of the Boy Reading tile mural at the Pittsfield Branch. Your original art tile will be fired, glazed and available for pick up at Motawi Tileworks on December 22. Tiles make great gifts! There is no charge for this event.

Books that may inspire you ahead of time are, Handmade Tiles or Motawi Tileworks

Be a Virtual Volunteer

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Being a volunteer can give you a great sense of pleasure knowing you have helped an organization or contributed to a cause. If your free time is limited but you still want to volunteer in some way, then consider becoming a virtual volunteer. The Salvation Army now has an online Red Kettle program where you can sponsor a Red Kettle for collecting donations. Sponsors can ring bells by sending friends email letting them know how to find the kettle so they can make donations. It only takes minutes do and you don’t have to go out into the cold. Become a virtual volunteer today!

Day With(out) Art

On Monday, December 1, 5 p.m. at the Hussey Room, Michigan League (911 N. University), renowned poet, memoirist, biographer and playwright Honor Moore will present a reading as part of the 2008 Day With(out) Art observance. Her most recent work The Bishop's Daughter: a memoir discusses her father, an Episcopal priest and civil rights activist who struggled with his sexuality. Moore teaches in the graduate writing programs at the New School and Columbia University School of the Arts.

Since 1989, Day With(out) Art is observed as a national day of recognition and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis. Today some 8000 organizations annually come together to acknowledge the devastating toll that HIV and AIDS have taken on the worldwide creative and performing arts communities.

As a museum devoted to fostering and presenting creative expression and to preserving culture memory, University of Michigan Museum of Art has long been committed to participation in this day of remembrance. The event is free and open to the public.

School of Art and Design Accepting Art Submissions

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I've never trusted the letter V, as it's a violent, vacuous vessel with a decidedly violet hue. Now if only I could paint, I'd create a canvas that expresses this synaestesia -- where one sense influences another -- and submit it to the UM School of Art and Design. They're currently seeking submissions in all media for an exhibition called "The Five Senses," where neuroscience meets art. The exhibition, which will run from March 18 - April 3, will be held at their Work : Ann Arbor gallery on State Street, where it will coincide with the Ann Arbor Film Festival's free panels and lectures next year. Submit your sense-ational artwork today.

Being a Step Ahead of Tax Season

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Some people are always one step ahead of everyone else. How about being one of those well-prepared people and get a jump on tax time! Come to Basic Money Management presented by the MSU Extension. This class includes money management, preparing for tax season and the EITC. The class will take place on December 4th from 8 am to 9 am at the Washtenaw County Michigan Works Service Center in Ypsilanti. It will be repeated on December 11th and 18th. For more information, contact the MSU Extension office at 997-1678.

The planets align for Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads

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You may already know the theme for the 2009 Reads, "The Universe: Yours to Discover," aligns with UM's 2009 winter theme semester, but did you know UM chose it to align with the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) and the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first astronomical observation through a telescope? UM is planning a galaxy of events, exhibits--even new classes!--and there will be many additional Reads programs.

In the meantime, read the book and brush up on your backyard stargazing with the latest edition of The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, or by attending one of the University Lowbrow Astronomer's open houses at Peach Mountain for a look through their 24-inch McMath telescope. Look for Mercury and Jupiter to align on December 31, just in time for the kick off.<--break!-->

Film - Traces of the Trade

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This powerful film was an official selection of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Traces of the Trade was filmed by Katrina Browne, a first-time filmmaker who discovers after looking into her family history that her New England ancestors were the largest slave trading family in U.S. history. View clips here.

Thursday, November 20 | 6:30-8:30 PM | Downtown, 4th floor | Grade 9 - Adult

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