Celebrating Pollinator Week with our Mason Meets a Mason Bee Puppet Show June 22, 2023

Join us at Golden Valley Library (830 Winnetka Ave. N. Golden Valley, MN 55427) on June 22nd at 2:00 p.m. for our Pollinator Puppet Show! (Event details are at https://hclib.bibliocommons.com/events/64763a8778c3da4200b26c5d)

Like many kids, Mason is afraid of bees. During this puppet show, find out how an encounter with a mason bee changes Mason’s life and makes him feel like a superhero!

Puppet shows have long been recognized as a powerful and effective educational tool, especially for children. Here are several reasons why puppet shows are highly effective in promoting learning and engagement:

  1. Visual and Tactile Stimulation: Puppet shows provide a visually engaging and interactive experience. The colorful and expressive puppets capture children’s attention, making learning more enjoyable and memorable. The use of props and puppet movements adds a tactile dimension, enhancing sensory stimulation and reinforcing learning.
  2. Emotional Connection: Puppets have the ability to establish an emotional connection with the audience. Children often relate to puppets as characters and develop a sense of empathy towards them. This emotional connection creates a safe and non-threatening environment, allowing children to engage more deeply with the educational content and lessons being conveyed.
  3. Storytelling and Narrative Structure: Puppet shows are essentially stories brought to life. They have a clear narrative structure with a beginning, middle, and end, which helps children follow and understand the sequence of events. Storytelling through puppet shows allows complex concepts and abstract ideas to be presented in a simple and relatable manner, making it easier for children to grasp and remember.
  4. Role-Modeling and Social Skills: Puppets can represent a variety of characters, each with their own personality traits and behaviors. Through puppet shows, children observe and learn from these character interactions, helping them develop important social skills such as empathy, communication, and problem-solving. They can also see positive role models in puppets, inspiring them to adopt desirable behaviors and values.
  5. Active Participation and Creativity: Puppet shows often involve audience participation, encouraging children to actively engage and participate in the learning process. Children may be asked to respond to questions, imitate puppet movements, or even operate puppets themselves. This active involvement boosts creativity, critical thinking, and confidence.
  6. Multi-Sensory Learning: Puppet shows engage multiple senses simultaneously. Children not only see the puppets but also hear the voices and sounds accompanying them. This multi-sensory experience enhances information retention and comprehension, as it appeals to different learning styles and preferences.
  7. Effective Communication Tool: Puppets can simplify complex concepts, breaking them down into easily understandable and relatable ideas. Through puppets, abstract concepts can be made concrete, aiding comprehension and retention. Puppets also provide a non-judgmental platform for children to express their thoughts, concerns, and questions, fostering open communication.

In summary, puppet shows are a highly effective educational tool due to their visual and tactile stimulation, emotional connection, storytelling capabilities, role-modeling potential, active participation, multi-sensory learning, and effective communication. By utilizing puppets, educators can create engaging and immersive learning experiences that promote knowledge acquisition, skill development, and personal growth in children.

Sponsor: Golden Valley Garden Club. Collaborator: We All Need Food and Water.

Camping with Kids—Both the Human and the Goat Kinds!

COON RAPIDS, MN—Peace Lutheran Church, May 11, 2022. Nonprofit We All Need Food and Water is renting goats from Midwest Goat Mitigation to eat the weeds in Peace Lutheran Church’s community garden.

The garden committee and the community gardeners at Peace Lutheran Church are fed up with the invasive, noxious, and sometimes just obnoxious weeds ravaging their 3.5-acre empty lot turned nature area and garden. One might say that the weeds are really getting their goats. Their solution? To hire some goats to eat these awful weeds!

This weekend, May 13-15, 2022, Midwest Goat Mitigation out of Ramsey, Minnesota will be bringing thirty goats to munch down noxious leafy spurge and spotted knapweed, persistent Siberian elm, and painful nettles and sandburs. To ensure safety, the goats will be supervised around the clock—even overnight—by community volunteers and scouts. Twelve-year-old Tenderfoot Scouts Will, Mason, and Ryan from Northern Star Council, Troop 639 were bursting with excitement about the opportunity to do some camping. After all, they haven’t camped since early February in below zero weather when they made their own quinzee snow shelter.

Why Goats?

Goats are an environmentally friendly way to remove invasive weeds without chemicals and with less labor than manual pulling or spraying weeds. Another benefit is that the goats’ digestive systems break down plant seed so there is little re-germination, unlike mowing where there is a lot of seed that is dropped to the ground. Prescribed grazing projects such as these manage unacceptable levels of weedy species to promote desirable plant growth, reduce erosion, increase water infiltration, and improve wildlife habitat. Other benefits of using goats are the fertilizer they leave behind and that they can help sow seeds with their hooves as they graze.

“We are a congregation of do-ers,” explained Senior Pastor Valerie Brown-Greenly, “our mission is to ‘Listen, Serve, and Live God’s Word’ and our Peace Garden embodies how we are serving the community by providing a respite on a busy corner, and a place to grow healthy food for many community members.

A life-long member of the church and We All Need Food and Water Executive Director Dawn Pape says her work at the garden barely counts as work because it’s so rewarding. For the last couple of years, the nonprofit has partnered with Peace in coordinating the community garden. “Our little Peace Community Garden helps solve big problems like food insecurity, obesity, pollinator decline, and even climate change,” says Pape. “This community garden also provides a place for people to gather, walk, or just enjoy watching the killdeer from a bench made by Eagle Scout Liam Lucore,” she added. This year We All Food and Water will help the garden committee add more pollinator-friendly plants after the weeds are greatly reduced so the beneficial plants can root.

The goats will graze for about three days within a fenced-in area. Goat owner Tom Sonenstahl commented, “These goats are professional. I don’t allow the public to pet them because when they’re socializing with people, they’re not doing their jobs.” The public is welcome to observe them from outside the fence. Sonenstahl noted that the goats themselves are his “marketing department” because they attract so much attention. “Goats are also great employees because they love their work, don’t take bathroom breaks, and work as a team section by section, efficiently eating their way through the plot of land,” offered Sonenstahl.

About The Partners Involved in this Project

As the name implies, We All Need Food and Water is an equity-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization rooted in environmental education and action. They host monthly family-friendly F.U.N Events (Future Unfolds Now) around the Metro. Although they educate about many issues that impact our food and water, they are focusing on climate issues since the climate is the driver of all other ecosystems—and every other human pursuit.

For over 60 years, Peace Lutheran Church has been an active, welcoming, and inclusive congregation. Peace is particularly known for uplifting and diverse music, understanding that humor and fun are central to what it means to be Christian, and their devotion to caring for others.

Midwest Goat Mitigation is a member of the Ecological Service Livestock Network, a group tailored to conservation, which uses livestock as a way to combat invasive species, manage land, and restore ecological functionality by reducing the use of pesticides and fossil fuels.

Plastic-Free Challenge

Plastics are as awesome as they are problematic. There’s no question that they add comfort, convenience, and even life-saving devices to society. But they also create waste and litter, contribute to climate change, pollute our water, harm wildlife, and have largely unknown health impacts for us. Worldwide, plastic production has skyrocketed since the 1970s, and a lot of the growth has come in the form of packaging and single-use plastics. Most plastics are made from oil and gas—fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. About 4% to 8% of the world’s oil production is for plastics, and most plastics are thrown away after a single use. This feels wrong, doesn’t it?

Be part of the solution to reduce waste, protect water and wildlife, address climate change, and look after the health of ourselves and future generations by joining us and the Hennepin County Plastic-Free Challenge and committing to actions that help create a plastic-free world.