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Mini-grant Highlight: The Shack

2013 August 8
by Seth Inman

All photos © The Shack Neighborhood House

All photos © The Shack Neighborhood House

shack-neighborhood-house-participants_mini-grant-eventIn Pursglove, West Virginia, The Shack Neighborhood House is always looking for new and creative ways to engage their participants, and bird-watching is a new experience for most of their members and staff, so they combined the arts, gardening and local bird-watching into one fun-filled event that celebrated Earth Day this spring!

On April 20th, 2013 The Shack partnered with the Audubon Society and their local Master Gardening program, (as well as CUBs, of course) to encourage their 120 event participants, which included member families, community members, and local leaders to celebrate being outside and learning more about the nature and creatures around them, allowing them to appreciate and interact with their outdoor environment in a new way.

shack-neighborhood-house_mini-grant-eventAt the event were various booths with fun and educational activities for kids, like a game where they sorted recyclable materials, a composting game, seedling- and flower-planting, and healthy snacks. Two scientists from West Virginia University came to showcase examples of exotic bugs (and not only dead specimens!) and different stages of rock formation. Also, local artist Eddie Spaghetti hosted a booth with a great collection of crafts material for kids to create bird-themed art to take home.

Jenna Lohnes, one of the event organizers, wrote us:
“I was delighted by how interested our young people were to do the bird observation. Even toddlers as young as 2 and 3 were really excited to try and find birds and quietly waited for them.” She also mentioned that the week after the event, The Shack had a guest speaker come talk about career choices at the after-school program. Jenna writes that, “He asked our kids what they wanted to do when they group up expecting the typical ‘athlete, doctor, fireman’ answers (the speaker was a former WVU football player) and was surprised when several of our elementary aged kids who attended the Earth Day celebration quickly answered: ‘entomologist’ and ‘ornithologist’.” We couldn’t ask for a more inspiring response to the amazing work by The Shack Neighborhood House! To learn more about the group, check out their website!

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