Toys, Tweens, Pies and Trees -- Parent Magazine Update

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The magazines on our parent shelf are taking on the world, and they can take you along for the ride.

Parenting: School Years starts out strong with an article on how to enjoy your child's "difficult" tween years, and just keeps on swinging with a special Mom Congress report on the necessity of art education, a guide to family hapiness, and their picks for "toys of the year."

Coincidentally, Family Fun Magazine also features their Toy of the Year Awards -- number one is Klutz's "Invasion of the Bristlebots", a kit for making robots out of toothbrush heads. The magazine continues with an article on blogging as a family, a list of fun Thanksgiving activities, and five unique pie recipes for those bored with the same old pumpkin-from-a-can variety.

Gifted Child Today tackles some serious issues in their fall edition -- a guide to involving children in caring for the earth, an article by Dr. Gilman W. Whiting, director of the Scholar Identity Institute on reducing dropout rates among diverse students, and a guide to identifying signs of Asperger's syndrome-- an Autism-spectrum disorder.

If all this makes you want to roll up your sleeves and dive in, great! These great ideas and more are just a trip to the magazine rack away.

Nonfiction Finds -- Winter Stargazing

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Expert astronomers know that in the winter the stars are clearer and brighter than they are in the summer. Several spectacular meteor showers will also take place in the upcoming months, so grab your overcoat and take advantage of the clear skies with some great nonfiction resources!

New arrival "Phases of the Moon" by Gillia Olson is a great place to start, including a list of websites for further information.

More experienced stargazers can graduate to Anton Vamplew's "Simple Stargazing" or Fran Lee's "Wishing on a Star". These guides to the constellations require no telescopes!

And once you're done and curled up with a cup of tea, you can read the stories behind the constellations with Jacqueline Mitton's "Zodiac", "Zoo in the Sky", and "Once Upon a Starry Night", all beautifully illustrated by Christina Balit.

Fear Itself

Ask OctoberAsk October

Just in time for the scariest month of the year, Ask magazine has come out with a special issue on...you guessed it... fear.

Ask magazine goes beyond the usual scary story collection, however, with an article on how the brain processes and produces fear as well as a guide to controlling and dealing with fear -- useful for kids and adults! This issue also includes the instructions for Ask's latest contest -- to design a Monster so terrifying it will frighten other monsters. Winners will get published in a future issue of Ask!

Take a Fall Hike @Bird Hills Nature Area

If you’ve never trekked through the Bird Hills Nature Area, you are in for a treat. Located on a moraine, this land of steep slopes was logged in the 1800s and then grazed by cattle. In the 1920s under new owners reforestation began. With its varied topography and soils Bird Hills is one the most floristically diverse areas in Ann Arbor.

City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation staff will lead the hike. View a wide variety of trees, discover the ways to identify them, and learn about ecological restoration and responsible use of public lands. Come join us!

Saturday, October 3 | 2:00-3:30 PM | Bird Hills parking lot off Newport Road, just north of M-14
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Orion Book Award Winner: Trespass by Amy Irvine

The 2009 Orion Book Awards have been announced. Orion is one of the best magazines you will find, whose byline – nature/culture/place – reveals its focus. The editorial board reads like a who’s who of contemporary luminaries in the environmental movement, such as: Wendell Berry, Bill McKibben, Edward O. Wilson, Barry Lopez, Jane Goodall. Orion manages to be artistic, literary, probing and provocative, with cutting-edge articles on the politics, ethics and practice of environmentalism, farming and forestry and featuring the work of artists, poets, and storytellers. It inspires personal commitment to change the world, one short shower, cloth bag, bike ride and community garden at a time.

Every year the editors acknowledge books that, “deepen our connection to the natural world, present new ideas about our relationship with nature and achieve excellence in writing”. The winner of the award this year is Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land by Amy Irvine. The finalists are: The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane, The Bridge at the Edge of the World by James Gustave Speth, Inventing Niagara by Ginger Strand and Finding Beauty in a Broken World by Terry Tempest Williams. The Reader’s Choice Award went to Man Killed by Pheasant by John Price.

Huron River Day 2009

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Sunday, July 12 is the 2009 Huron River Day! From noon to 4 p.m. at Gallup Park, all are invited to play on the river with discounted canoe and kayak rentals. There will be plenty of food and entertainment, including the WCC Jazz Bands, and many opportunities for all ages to learn about the river's importance and health. Other activities will include Geocaching, a classic boat show, how to plant a rain garden, and live animal presentations.

Take a Hike! @Lakewood Nature Area

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Tonight at 7pm, join the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation staff in a botanical walk through Lakewood Nature Area. Meet in the parking lot of Lakewood School, 344 Gralake. This event is held in conjunction with the summer reading program, Local Motion, which encourages the use of local neighborhoods, gyms, recreational facilities and outdoor areas to move and get fit!

Parks in Washtenaw County

Rolling Hills Water ParkRolling Hills Water Park

Memorial Day weekend signifies more than just the remembrance of departed veterans, but also as a non-meterological beginning to Summer. Most students are making their way through their final weeks of school, daydreaming about the possibilites this Summer offers. This is also the time when County Parks and Preserves open to the public. Soon, AADL will be offering a program called "Park and Read," which is simlar to the Museum Adventure Passes, that will be good for a free one-day admission to any Michigan State Park. Fortunately, Washtenaw County proudly boasts 12 parks and 16 preserves, including the ever popular Rolling Hills Water Park, which supplies the County with a great place to cool off, get together with friends and even play a round of disc golf.

Come and visit one of Washtenaw County's Parks or Preserves today!

Canoeing Anyone??

With Memorial Day quickly approaching, now is a great time to don your sunscreen, fill your cooler, and head out on one of our many Michigan waterways. If you are a fan of canoeing/kayaking, pick up a copy of Doc Fletcher's new book Michigan Rivers Less Paddled : The Rivers, The Towns, The Taverns here at the AADL. This handy guide will provide you with plenty of ideas for canoeing excursions around the area, including local pubs to hit at the end of your journey. Jerry Dennis' Canoeing Michigan Rivers : A Comprehensive Guide to 45 Rivers is another guide to consider if you are looking for new routes to explore. If you are not the proud owner of a canoe or kayak, there are plenty of rental places in the area. Visit Huron River Net for a list of businesses that will gladly provide you with that canoe you need.

Scenic Walks

Are you a walker and love beautiful scenery? Then this video is for you! Check out our Scenic Walks of the World:Romance With Nature DVD. This DVD will take you around the world and show you first hand the beautiful scenery that can be taken in when walking some of the most amazing walks in the world. Although not as gorgeous as being there in person, it comes a close second when you cannot be there!

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