Take mom outside, find a land snail on a leaf or in the grass, and watch it travel for at least five minutes. Measure how far it went. Give it a name. Or both of you can find your own snail and each make up a five-sentence story about it.
Make matching nature journals for yourself and your mom. Staple together some folded paper to make two small sketchbooks. Decorate the covers however you like, give one to Mom with a pencil and join her out in the park or the yard and sketch a leaf, a busy insect, or a flower together in your new journals.
Express yourself. Make up one or two haiku poems about wild animals you and mom have seen together or about an outdoor place you know your mom loves. Write the haiku inside a mother’s day card.
Take mom outside. Have someone take a photograph of the two of you in a tree, under a tree, or peeking out from behind a tree (or in all three places).
Raúl Gonzalez III drew urban raccoons for one of the new cards. Known as Raúl the Third, Gonzalez is the Pura Belpre award-winning illustrator of Lowriders to the Center of the Earth and Lowriders in Space.
Organizers say the Cambridge Wildlife trading card series is intended to be a child-friendly form of informal biodiversity education. At the 2016 Honk! Parade, the community organization launched the series by distributing free Great Blue Heron and Wandering Glider dragonfly trading cards.
The CWPP, an unincorporated nonprofit community association, also unveiled a new giant backpack puppet depicting a Northern Cardinal as it marched in the parade. Children at two community workshops created the cardboard feathers for the puppet. The Beautiful Stuff Project‘s resident artist, James Holton Fox, created the bird’s head and put the puppet components together.
“When people normally think of cities, they think of pigeons and squirrels.”
High school student volunteer puppeteers roamed Harvard Square on October 9 distributing the cards. One depicts a pair of foraging raccoons, one peering out from inside a garbage can. as well as cards featuring another local species, the Red-winged Blackbird. The blackbird card features an illustration by local independent “not-at-home”-schooler Amireh Rezaei-Kamalabad.
“I’ve always lived in Cambridge, so I was excited to do an illustration that related to native species in my home city,” writes Rezaei-Kamalabad. She continues, “When asked to draw a red-winged blackbird, it reminded me of the first time I ever learned about them. In middle school one of my science teachers took us on a field trip to Danehy Park to observe the wildlife there. That was when the teacher first pointed out the Red-winged Blackbird and how it likes the marshy reeds at the bottom of Danehy’s hill.”
“I’m always surprised to learn about the variety of animals that live in Cambridge. When people normally think of cities, they think of pigeons and squirrels. But, learning about the many other animals that live in the city serve as an important reminder that the place we’ve built our home was originally belong to these animals. Art is a great lens to learn about biodiversity through and it allows people to make very personal connections to nature and the environment. Being able to participate in the trading card project has been a great way to use my artistic skills for raising awareness.”
Cambridge Wildlife, the Honk! marching group associated with Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project, participated for its fifth year in the parade from Davis Square, Somerville, to Harvard Square on October 8th.
The small but multigenerational group featured an owl stick puppet, original made by a father-son duo at Cambridge’s Center for Families at a CWPP workshop in 2015 led by Sarah Peattie, of the Puppeteer’s Cooperative. The owl was renovated this year by volunteer high school artist Miriam Álvarez-Rosenbloom.
—Cambridge, Mass., Tuesday, August 8, 2017. The Cambridge Fly, Buzz, and Honk! Festival welcomes city residents, especially the smaller variety, for two more days on Wednesday, August 9, and Thursday, August 10, 2017. Wednesday’s lineup includes Navigation Games’ animal homes scavenger hunt at 10:00 a.m. and Puppet Showplace Theater‘s beloved outgoing artist-in-residence Brad Shur. Shur will perform “Cardboard Explosion!” inviting children to tweak the plot while the performance is underway.
Created with elementary school children in mind, the 2017 Fly, Buzz, and Honk! festival began Monday, August 7th with a focus on a single species of bird that calls Cambridge home. A familiar sight in wetland areas, including along the banks of the Charles River, the Red-Winged Blackbird uses cattails for nesting and shelter during its summer visits to the city. Approximately one hundred children visited “The Mighty Red-winged Blackbird” event on Monday, creating wings and masks representing the bird, and some worked on models of nests hidden in the cattails.
Overcast skies thinned attendance at the festival on Tuesday. Beekeeper Mel Gadd, who tends bees at Drumlin Farm and Cambridge Friends School, brought a demonstration hive.
The Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project and DHSP community school staff and MSYEP interns guided children in making finger puppets of some unfamiliar and unexpected pollinators—pollinating moths called clearwings, and green metallic bees belonging to the halictid family.
On Thursday, the festival culminates with activities for children related to animal sound and motion, including the Fly, Buzz, Honk, and Squeak! mini-parade around the perimeter of Riverside Press Park. Members of the School of Honk (in photo) will lead the parade, which begins at 11:00 a.m.
Fly, Buzz, and Honk! is a collaboration of the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project (CWPP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting city residents with wildlife and local habitats through the arts, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Community School, a division of the Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs.
The festival launched in 2016 as the Fly, Buzz & Honk Expo at Maynard Ecology Center, In 2017, the CWPP moved the event to Riverside. The project is supported this year by a grant from the Cambridge Arts Council and Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Several animal celebrities of the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project (CWPP), whose activities are supported by the Cambridge Arts Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council this year, visited picnicking families and others at Magazine Beach Park Friday for a Walk/Ride Day celebration. Stay tuned for the CWPP’s four-day Fly, Buzz, and Honk! wildlife festival, August 7–10, 2017, every day from 10:00 to 12:00 in Riverside Press Park. Art and games and performances at the festival highlight the species that live in our city.
For our last National Moth Week species, we present the Virginian Tiger Moth in its caterpillar stage.
It’s one of many moths that we have in the city of Cambridge. Now that National Moth Week is ending, we’ll be considering with a little more awareness the role of moths as prey and as pollinators in our urban ecosystem, and their contributions to biodiversity.
A summer evening at Magazine Beach…what could be more delightful? It’s the perfect time to take note of birds having their evening meal of insects by the river. And maybe you’ll find a moth or two, seeing as it’s still National Moth Week!
UPDATE: We’re moving to our rain date, Friday, July 28. Sorry to change things, but we don’t want you sitting in the wet. Tomorrow should be beautiful! See you at the park!
Come celebrate sustainable and healthy commuting at our Walk/Ride Day Eve Celebration Friday, July 28 at 6-8pm (rain date: Walk/Ride Day, Friday, July 28). Bring a picnic and enjoy treats from ice cream truck!
Boston-based band Trusting Fate will serenade us with “imaginative, unexpected music that combines elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, roots and blues into a fresh, powerful sound.” Katie Liesener from Massmouth will MC commuter-related storytelling. (Have a funny, gripping, or otherwise memorable personal story about urban biking, walking, or transit experience to share in 4-5 minutes?) Gallery 263 will host a bicycle decorating table, so bring your bikes. And be amazed by big animal puppets made by the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project. FREE!