Family Science Workshop

Are you a dinosaur lover?

Then join us for Dining on Dinos: Long Necks, Sharp Teeth, Club Tails, Killer Claws on Saturday, January 18 from 10-11 AM at the Pittsfield Branch. This Family Science Workshop from the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History will introduce young dinosaur lovers to what fossils can teach us about dinosaurs. The event is intended for children K-5 accompanied by an adult.

You can learn more about dinosaur fossils by checking out these dinosaur fossil books. Be sure to also check out our Science Tools, some of which include models of dinosaur fossils.

See all of our upcoming Family Science Workshops here.

Take a Hike@ Furstenberg Nature Area

Thursday August 7, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Furstenberg Nature Area

This event is intended for all ages

Furstenberg Nature Area is a 38-acre park on Fuller Road, west of Gallup Park. Enjoy wetlands, woodlands, prairie, and oak savanna on this nature walk with a staff naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor). Learn about native plants and trees, invasive plants, ecological restoration, and lots more.

Meet near the restrooms near the parking lot off Fuller Road (across from Huron High School).

Take a Hike @ Argo Nature Area

Thursday June 5, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Argo Nature Area

This event is intended for all ages

On World Environment Day, take a hike in this 22-acre linear park on the east side of the Huron River. An unpaved trail runs the length of the park along the river. The trail travels through two types of woods: basswood and willow in the southern half and black oak and shagbark hickory (and spring wildflowers!) in the northern half. The entire trail offers beautiful views of the river. A staff naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) will discuss native plants and trees, ecological restoration, and more.

Meet in the parking lot north of the Argo Canoe Livery, off Longshore Drive.

Take a Hike @ Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area

Thursday September 4, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Mary Beth Doyle Nature Area

This event is intended for all ages.

Celebrate National Wilderness Month with a hike along Malletts Creek, through the woods and wetlands of this 81.4-acre park. A staff naturalist from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) will lead the hike.

Meet at the park entrance parking lot off Packard Road, across from Easy Street and just southeast of Cobblestone Farm, or park at the Malletts Creek Branch (3090 E. Eisenhower) and walk a half mile east along Eisenhower and Packard to the park entrance.

Let it Snow!

Snow is on its way, and with it comes plenty of cold-whether fun. From building snowmen to sledding down giant hills, there are lots of great winter activities that can only be done while snow is on the ground. Since the season of snow is almost upon us, I was very excited to stumble upon this book, Snow Play: How to Make Forts & Slides & Winter Campfires, Plus the Coolest Loch Ness Monster and 23 Other Brrrilliant Projects in the Snow by Birgitta Ralston.

If you’re looking for some creative new ways to play in the snow this winter, then this is the book for you. Learn how to make snow ghosts with glowing eyes, marble runs made out of snow, glisten ice charms, and much more. While some of the projects will work great with young children, others require lots of time and special techniques to complete. Fortunately, each project comes with a description of the project’s time frame, difficulty, the type of snow required (fresh, sticky, deep, compressed), the types of tools required, and the number of people needed to complete it.

Floral Bouquet Workshop

Tuesday February 4, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for adults and teens (grades 6 and up).

Tracy Swinburn, of Ann Arbor's Red Poppy Floral Design, returns for this hands-on flower workshop.

Learn to make a small hand-tied bouquet for your sweetie, yourself or just for fun. Pretend it's not winter and enjoy a hands-on opportunity to play with flowers!

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas

From author Jim Ottaviani’s boundless curiosity and research springs another fascinating graphic historical science comic. Primates relates the stories of three female scientists and how their life experiences brought them to discovery in the world of primates. All three women are protégés of anthropologist Louis Leakey and each find their niche of study – Jane Goodall researches chimpanzee behavior, Dian Fossey becomes a leading expert on mountain gorillas, and Birute Galdikas builds world awareness and understanding of orangutans.

The adventures of these three women who would come to know one another are ably illustrated by Maris Wicks who employs a cartoon style that infuses the energy and passion of each woman. Though cartoony the earth green/brown colors lend a realism that help the reader imagine the habitats in which these women live and work.

Take a Hike@ Barton Nature Area

Thursday May 8, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Barton Nature Area

This event is intended for all ages

The City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation staff will lead a Spring nature walk in Barton Nature Area, a 102 acre park with wonderfully diverse natural features.

The park is in two sections: the larger is known locally as the oxbow, and connects to Argo Nature Area; the smaller is known as Foster, and is accessible only by boat from Barton Pond. The main trail in the oxbow is wood-chipped, and connects the two bridges that lead to the parking area. Most of this area is open field, but some areas are shrubby, and lower wet areas support sedges and marsh plants. Foster has a small trail through a relatively open woodland on its eastern side.

We'll meet in the parking lot off of Huron Drive just north of the intersection with Bird Road.

The Hidden Life of Wolves

From The Three Little Pigs to Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf has often been portrayed in European culture as a monster that is crafty and vicious, being viewed as either dangerous predators or rivals for food. However, other perceptions of the wolf include viewing the animal as a spirit animal, attributing human inner qualities to the creature or seeing the wolf as a source of scientific data. These concepts are challenged in The Hidden Life of Wolves, a fascinating book written by wildlife filmmakers Jim and Jamie Dutcher who argue that the wolf is not "the wolf of nightmares," "the spirit wolf," or "the managed wolf." Instead they favor the idea of "the social wolf."

The Dutchers chronicle the story of the Sawtooth Pack and the wolves’ reintroduction to their natural habitat in the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. The Dutchers lived in a tent alongside the pack for years witnessing the social behaviors of the wolf pack and drawing conclusions based on little before seen wolf actions. Throughout the Dutchers’ experience with the Sawtooth wolf pack, they were able to shed light on illusive habits of wolf packs in general, revealing the social lives of wolves. They observe the joy of the pack when pups are born as well as the mourning that occurs when the pack loses a member. Witnessing such events allows the Dutchers to conclude that wolves are more than the mythical creatures that are read about in fairy tales but instead are highly social creatures.

Not only is the information within the book detailed, but the photographs are beautiful and captivating. The Dutchers make a compelling case for the preservation of the wolf packs and their habitats. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the social behaviors of animals and environmental issues.

Yardscaping

Have a corner in your backyard that needs some sprucing up? Have some unused objects hanging around that you just don't want to get rid of like an old, unused metal toolbox or some scraps of copper or aluminum tubing? Well, there are several books recently published that will give the outdoor artist in you some ideas for repurposing them. The Revolutionary Yardscape is every dumpster diver, scrap hound, or flea market enthusiast's dream, providing plenty of ideas for found items like plastic pallet strapping, wine bottle corks, reclaimed lumber, pipes, empty window frames, broken concrete slabs, and scrap stone, just for starters. It includes where to find specific items like at scrapyards or surplus sales. I love the reuse of an old oxygen tank from a hospital surplus sale as a planter! I also learned about items I never knew the name of like the reuse of a bollard as a garden hose guide. Projects range from very intensive to easy and he provides the info to get you through: like how to cut difficult materials including stone, steel, or acrylic sheets, or what to use to bend metal pipes. Another great book on this same subject is Handmade Garden Projects. I found the projects easier to accomplish in this book but just as creative. The easiest project was for garden lighting called: 'Canning Jar Lanterns', a great day project to do with kids. So whether you want an outdoor project to do in a day or over the course of many, these two books should give you plenty of ideas! For even more ideas click here.

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