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.

Homebound With Nothing To Read?

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Being stuck at home because of bad weather can be frustrating. Think of how frustrating it would be to be homebound due to a long term illness or an injury with nothing to read, no CDs to listen to and not one DVD to watch. Did you know that the Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library will deliver and pickup library materials to library card holders who are homebound for these reasons? A volunteer from the Friends of AADL will work with the homebound individual to select as well as deliver and pick up library materials. If you or someone you know is homebound and would like homebound delivery, then call 327-4220 for more information.

Take a Holiday Adventure!

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Check out a Museum Adventure Pass, good for admission for 2 to the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, and enjoy the current holiday tours. From the flocked modern tree adorned with original pink and purple teardrop shaped glass ornaments made especially for a party hosted by Eleanor Ford, to the15-foot Christmas tree in the grand Gallery space where many holiday galas where held, each room is decorated in the season’s best and tells a unique story about how the Ford Family shared holiday traditions. Outdoors, the Fords’ daughter Josephine’s Play House is decorated in true gingerbread house fashion with icicle lights and huge candy canes lining the path. Ford House Holiday Tours begin Friday, Nov. 28, and run through Sunday, Jan. 4. Tours are available 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. There are a limited number of Adventure Passes available at each AADL location and they are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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!

Need a Job?

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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.

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