There is nothing more important when it comes to our environment than teaching our kids how to take care of it, and this is an idea that the Dover Children's Museum
fully embraced as it put on its second annual Earth Day event.
The museum was abuzz with waist-high streaks of lightning as I pulled in at around noon in search of Heidi Duncanson, the museum's director of marketing, who had offered to give me a tour. According to Duncanson, Earth Day brought a special series of exhibits to the museum that included everything from compost to healthy eating. The local kids, who had the week off from school, even lent a hand planting two new birch trees in front of the museum in downtown Dover.
"We want to start educating kids early about the things they can do to help the earth and the habits that they can get into like recycling and reusing. These kids are really enthusiastic about learning this kind of thing and can even begin to set good examples for their parents," said Duncanson.
The Earth Day event was rife with hands on learning for the kids. Representatives from Seacoast Eat Local
provided them with a variety of seeds to choose from to start their own gardens. This was meant to spark the connection between what we eat and where it comes from. For some, it may have been the start of a lifelong enthusiasm for backyard vegetables.
Earth Day's gardening theme did not end there. The museum's "Creative Project Area" was filled with trays of yellow and orange marigolds provided by Wentworth Greenhouses
. The kids had the opportunity to pot their own marigolds (my personal favorite when I was a kid) and bring them home in biodegradable planters.
Red Worms for a Green Earth
had its own hands-on exhibit that allowed the kids to get dirty as they discovered how compost is made. Peering tentatively into the large bins that held wriggling red worms they saw how everyday items from coffee grounds to egg shells can decompose into fertile soil.
In the back, Cabot Cheese
was a special Earth Day addition to the museum's stance on educating children about healthy foods, and it was offering an array of organic cheeses. The kids seem to not have developed a taste for organic pepper jack quite yet. But, the more "normal" looking cheeses were flying off the plates in little hands who found it to be a tasty way to learn about organic farming.
In my experience, kids are always enthusiastic to learn about the world around them. Taking small steps sooner rather than later can have a huge impact on how they view the environment. So, take the time to start a conversation with your kids, your little sister or brother, or nieces or nephews, about the benefits of recycling, the dangers of pollution and the potential impact they can have on our environment. Who knows, some of these kids might teach us a thing or two about saving the planet.
Photo: Courtesy Heidi Duncanson, Dover Children's Museum