Hands-on activities thrill kids

Published 12:13 pm Saturday, May 2, 2009

FRANKLIN—The last blast of this spring’s Science Saturday programs at Ruth Camp Campbell Memorial Library drew an estimated 175 people, said organizer Diana Devore.

Most — but not all ­— of the attendees were children.

“It’s definitely a family program,” said Devore, youth services coordinator for the library. “A lot of the parents and adults enjoy the activities as much as the kids.”

Each month during the school year, Devore invites a scientist or specialist in their field to the library for Science Saturday. She combines their presentation with arts and crafts that reinforce that day’s lessons.

“I really believe the arts and science go hand-in-hand,” said the five-year library veteran. “That’s the reason we started these events.

“Young people love hands-on activities. They don’t mind getting a little dirty when they are learning.”

For the final Science Saturday, Devore invited all of the year’s presenters for one last Super blowout. Back Bay Astronomers set up telescopes and discussed the relative sizes of the planets, and the Department of Forestry gave away pine seedlings and stressed fire safety.

All of that was going on outside the library. Inside, there were snakes and turtles, storm modeling from the National Weather Service, working honeybees and a model city display from Franklin Power and Light.

The Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center put up a display highlighting crops, livestock and insects, while elementary school students from Franklin displayed their robotics projects.

“I was absolutely thrilled with the turnout,” said Devore. “The presenters all volunteered their time and everyone had fun. There was a wide variety of science presented, and I think everyone got a taste of something they enjoyed.”

A taste lots of folk were enjoying could be found at the Tidewater Beekeepers display, where Rose Nichols passed out samples of natural honey on crackers. Her husband, Curtis, explained bees to youngsters fascinated by a hive working behind a protective plastic shield.

Nearby, youngsters attached glass eyes to wooden clothespins and colored coffee filters, gluing them together to create multi-hued butterflies.

“This is cool,” said a youngster with purple, blue and red fingertips. “I like butterflies.”

For more information about events at the Franklin library, log onto http://www.blackwaterlib.org/about/franklin.htm