Nadia Harvieux, education program manager at the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, has co-created an educational website on lakes called Libraries Love Lakes along with faculty from Fairfield University and others. The site geared toward children ages 4-12 features written resources, arts and crafts projects, and more to engage children while at their local library.
Harvieux says the website’s July release also coincides with Lakes Appreciation Month, sponsored by the North American Lake Management Society, and was developed jointly with Professor of Biology Jen Klug from Fairfield University, Fairfield student Teresa Sauer, and teen advisory board member of Wood Library in Canandaigua, Olenka Duncan. “We connected through the Northeast Global Lake Ecological Observation Network (NE GLEON) undergraduate research conference with a shared goal of outreach and education about the importance of lakes,” she says.
Created for librarians to develop curriculum related to the importance of lakes in everyday life, “Our final product [features] resources for libraries to host kid-friendly events like story time, or for families to explore books on water,” says Harvieux. Also included is a suggested book list of titles on lake ecosystems, wildlife, cultural history and conservation, along with titles related to the water cycle.
The site also contains directions for child-centered craft activities such as a popsicle stick fish and paper bag animal puppets, an editable events flyer and a 17-page resource guide for librarians. “Libraries offer a chance to engage a wide variety of people who may have little knowledge of the ecosystem services provided by lakes,” says Harvieux.
Future plans for the site include expanding summer programming, creating kits of lake-related materials to distribute to libraries and collaborating with school libraries to develop programming that meets regional needs. A picture book highlighting the diversity in lakes is also on the drawing board.
NE GLEON, a group of GLEON members from northeastern North America, focuses on introducing undergraduate students to GLEON and a team approach to conducting scientific research. Libraries Love Lakes was inspired by members of the NE GLEON outreach working group who wanted to “put lakes on everyone’s radar.” Libraries Love Lakes was piloted in the summer of 2019 at Wood Library in Canandaigua, N.Y., and CH Booth Library in Newtown, Conn.
The photo above features Nadia Harvieux, education program manager at the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, sitting on the dock on Seneca Lake.