Coronavirus update: All indoor activities are now canceled due to COVID-19. People are still welcome to come for nature walks at St Francis Farm before, during, and after Screen-Free Week but are advised to stay outdoors and keep six feet or more away from people other than those with whom they arrived.
Selkirk Shores writes, “All NYS Parks have cancelled all events until further notice. Our staff that would have been doing these events, even the story book trail, have been sent home to work as non-essential personnel. Selkirk Shores is open for “nature breaks” such as hiking and biking activities, but CDC guidelines of social distancing are to be followed. Playgrounds are closed and we have not turned on any water at the park so bringing your own hand wipes and/or hand sanitizer is recommended. If there are crowds we are asking that they go to a different area or park less crowded or come back a different day/time.
We’re sorry for the cancellations. Hoping to get together with you all next year.
What is Screen-Free Week?
Screen-Free Week (formerly TV Turnoff Week) is a giant celebration, a chance to disconnect from your TV, computer and other recreational electronics and reconnect with your family, your community and the natural world. Make time to play, read, volunteer, learn, hike or create. The idea is to really do things, not view someone else doing them.
Try this experiment:
The average American spends 7 hours a day on recreational screentime (TV, Facebook, YouTube, chat rooms, video games…) How about you? Keep a log of how you spend your free time during a normal week, including all the screens you use. Make notes of screen-free things you wish you had time for. During Screen-Free Week, step way from your screens during your free time and do some of those screen-free things. When the week is over, think about which activities satisfy you most.
Free Screen-Free Week activities in Pulaski, Sandy Creek, Orwell, Altmar, and Williamstown:
Weeklong, all day long: Storybook nature walk at Selkirk Shores: The story “Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring” by Kenard Pack will be posted at intervals along the Frog Pond Trail. Feel free to walk this at any time. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library.
Sun-Mon from 9-11 am, Tues-Fri from 9:30 am-12 noon, and Saturday 9am- 12 noon: United Friends of Homeless Animals (432 Centerville Road, Richland) welcomes visitors.
Tuesday 4/7 – Saturday 4/11 from 6:30-8 pm, weather permitting, at St Francis Farm (136 Wart Road, Orwell NY): Guided sunset nature walks. Look for salamanders and wildflowers; listen for frogs and owls; stay on at the end if you want to watch the courting flights of woodcocks. Call 315-298-2844 or email email@example.com. Arrive promptly or call ahead to let us know you’re coming. Also call if you’d like to schedule a day visit to walk trails, learn flora & fauna, help with indoor & outdoor work.
Monday, April 6:
All day long at the Ainsworth Memorial Library (6064 Main Street,Sandy Creek): Make It Monday! Easy and fun crafts for all ages. CANCELED
2 PM-6 PM at the Half-Shire Historical Society (1100 County Rte 48, Richland): The Half-Shire Historical Society and the Rural & Migrant Ministry will jointly host a variety of crafts and games as well as child-friendly dinner fare, face painting, and sundaes.
6 PM at the Williamstown Library (2877 Co Rte 17): Ricard Grange invites people in to make salt-painted snowflakes.
6:30-7:30 pm at Selkirk Shores State Park (7101 State Route 3, Pulaski): Spring into Night: On this guided hike we will explore Selkirk Shores State Park as winter melts away to spring. We’ll look for signs of wildlife along the wooded trails. Admiring the sunset over the lake will be a beautiful end to the hike. All family members are invited; please dress for the chilly spring evenings and muddy (hopefully not snowy) trails. Gather at the enclosed meeting shelter. For more information call 315-298-5737.
Tuesday, April 7:
All day long at the Ainsworth Memorial Library: Thinking Tuesday Library Scavenger Hunt for all ages. CANCELED
10 am-12 noon at the Pulaski Library (4917 No. Jefferson Street): Mandala painting class led by Kathy Peters, sponsored by the Salmon River Fine Arts Center. For ages 8 and up. Participants must preregister with the Arts Center, 315-298-7007 or firstname.lastname@example.org Only 12 can take part in the class, so register early! CANCELLED
1-3 PM: Shorebird activities at Selkirk Shores. Compete in a three-tier relay race to explore the challenges many shorebirds face in migrating to their nesting grounds! Find a mate, build a nest, and raise chicks on busy beaches! Followed with stories of our piping plovers and crafts inside the shelter (outside if weather permits). For more information call 315-298-5737 or email Kate Noonan, Kate.Noonan@parks.ny.gov
Wednesday, April 8:
10 am-11 am: Tour of Salmon River Fish Hatchery (2133 County Route 22, Altmar,), presentation on the life cycle of salmon, and paper-plate fish-making, led by Betsy Ukeritis of the DEC. Gather in the lobby of the visitor center. For more information, email email@example.com or call 315-314-0768 CANCELLED
11 am-12 noon: Same as above. CANCELLED
1-3 pm: Free drawing class at the Salmon River Fine Arts Center (4848 N. Jefferson Street, Pulaski) by Patricia A. Tanner. Learn how to draw in graphite pencil creating works of art from reference photos. The class is relaxed with a focus on precision and composition. All ability levels are welcome, all materials provided. Students are encouraged to bring their own photos. CANCELLED
Thursday, April 9:
10-11 am at Selkirk Shores: Animal Detectives: Join us as the winter woods awaken. Kids will discover how animals cope with the cold and go on a short hike to search for tracks and traces of winter wildlife. Adults must stay with children. Please dress for the weather and muddy/snowy trails. Gather at the enclosed meeting shelter. For more information call 315-298-5737.
1-2 pm at the Cogswell Free Library (1999 County Route 2,Orwell): Reading of “Lily Pad Pond,” bug/tadpole art activity, and nature games led by St Francis Farm. For more information contact Joanna at St. Francis Farm, 315-298-2844, firstname.lastname@example.org CANCELLED
2:30-4:00 pm at the Ainsworth Memorial Library in Sandy Creek: Thread Thursday: Knit and Crochet Group for all ages and levels. Instruction is provided. Materials are provided for the first class or bring your own CANCELLED
6-8 pm at the Salmon River Fine Arts Center: Free drawing class by Patricia A. Tanner and/or Julia Sentman. Artists of all ages are welcome and all materials are provided. CANCELLED
Friday, April 10:
10 am-11 am at the Pulaski public library: Preschool Story Hour CANCELLED
10:30 am at the Ainsworth Memorial Library in Sandy Creek: Little Readers Story Hour for toddlers and preschoolers. At Story Hour, children sing, do activities, have a snack, and listen to stories. CANCELLED
1-2 pm at Selkirk Shores: Twig Time: Kids, did you ever want to dress up like a twig or play twig match? Learn how to identify trees without their leaves! Adults must stay with children. Please dress for the weather and muddy/snowy trails.
2 pm-4 pm at St. Francis Farm: Come volunteer in the gardens, explore and help clear the nature trails, look for wild things. For more information, or to schedule a visit on another day, call 315-298-2844 or email email@example.com
Saturday, April 11:
All day long at the Ainsworth Memorial Library in Sandy Creek: Slime Saturday–Make and Take Slime available all day CANCELLED
10 am- 2 pm at the Salmon River Fine Arts Center : Make a wetland or woodland creature. Using a variety of colorful paints and different sized dowels, you will paint and decorate your creature with dots. Fun for all ages! CANCELLED
Screen-Free Week: The Big Picture
Screen-Free Week is a national and international celebration. Here’s the basic intro from the Center for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s Screen-Free Week page:
“A healthy childhood depends on a surprising thing: play! Through creative play, kids explore their physical world, build their curiosity, and expand their imaginations. But often, time spent on ad-supported screens displaces the kind of creative play kids need to thrive.
It was this displacement that worried Henry Labalme and Matt Pawa when they created TV Turnoff Week in 1994. Over the years, millions of kids and families joined Henry and Matt in turning off their TVs and going outside, playing, and having screen-free fun. In 2010, TV Turnoff Week became Screen-Free Week and it found a new home at Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.
During Screen-Free Week, kids and families can unplug and reconnect with the world around them. An hour that was once dedicated to TV can become an hour of make-believe, art, reading, or enjoying nature. Both parents and kids can use this week to reconsider the value of screen-based entertainment in their lives and establish year-round screen-free habits.”
(National Screen-Free Week has different dates, as you’ll see if you visit the page linked above. But here in the Pulaski area we celebrate during the school vacation.)
More Screen-Free information for families can be accessed here. If you’re trying to figure out what to do at home during Screen-Free Week, check out this list.
Screen-Free Week isn’t just for kids. To learn more about how screen time can affect health and relationships for adults, click here.
William Powers writes about ways of reconsidering screen time, and about the value of screen-free time, in his book Hamlet’s BlackBerry, available locally through interlibrary loan. There’s a short article about that here.