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Reuse, Recycle, and Give Back to the Community

This article appeared in the December 31, 2010 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Reuse, Recycle, and Give Back to the Community

Steven Guilfoil, 8, displays a nature mobile made from natural objects found in the park.

By Liz Shenaut
Special to the Enterprise

As the season of giving turns into the season of personal resolutions, Explorit Science Center has a feel-good way to combine those traditions. If you resolve to be more involved in your community, consider donating to Explorit something from its wish list.

Explorit Science Center’s wish list is published on its website at http://www.explorit.org/support/wish-list (link) and includes computers, tools, and supplies for crafts, chemistry, and more. Please call Explorit if you think that you might have items to donate.

Many individuals in the Davis community contribute to Explorit Science Center’s “Challenge Center,” a room stocked with recycled materials, tape and scissors, ready at all times for creative minds to build the Challenge of the Week or whatever they like.

Reusable items, such as clean plastic containers, egg cartons, cardboard tubes, coffee cup sleeves, and dental floss boxes always help keep the Challenge Center full of creative options.

One group in particular has been regularly donating large quantities of materials for the Challenge Center -- Atria Covell Gardens, a retirement and assisted living community in Davis. Explorit would like to thank everyone at Atria Covell Gardens who is involved in coordinating the collection of recyclables for the Challenge Center.

Recycled materials can make great art, especially if combined with items found in nature. Below is a family activity to try at home that combines nature and art with design principles such as balance and symmetry to build a nature mobile from found objects.

Make A Nature Mobile

Activity Goal: To collect nature items and use creativity, symmetry, and balance to create a unique mobile.

You Will Need: A large bag, fishing line, scissors, tape, a sturdy ruler, a heavy book, and an outdoor area.

Instructions: Go for a nature walk in your neighborhood with the large bag for collection and place in it interesting nature items that have fallen to the ground. During the winter there are many dry, clean items such as leaves, seed pods, pine cones, bits of bark and branches that are easy to use for a nature mobile.

When you are back at home ready to build your nature mobile, place a ruler over the edge of a table so it sticks out a few inches. Place a heavy book on top of the ruler to anchor it in place. The ruler will act as a temporary “hook” for hanging the mobile while it is in progress.

Tie a loop of fishing line around the ruler and use a piece of tape to hold it in place. Use fishing line to tie a branch in place so it balances horizontally. Tie fishing line around various nature objects, and hang them from the branch.

Experiment with different tiers of branches and objects hanging from them, always keeping in mind that the mobile must balance itself.

Be patient when it will not balance. Re-distributing the nature items until the mobile balances and looks nice will help you learn from your mistakes.

Notice that symmetrical arrangements – those that are the same on both sides – will not always balance due to the differing weights of objects. This may especially surprise some younger mobile builders.

Hang the completed nature mobile from the ceiling and show it off to your guests! Send Explorit Science Center a photo of you with your nature mobile at explorit@explorit.org.

Explorit’s coming events:

 

  • Through Dec. 31: Explorit has some new items for shoppers this holiday season. Store hours are the same as museum hours (below) and visit  HYPERLINK "http://tinyurl.com/explorit-specials/" http://tinyurl.com/explorit-specials/ to see the new items.
  • Through Jan. 2: Both floors of the museum will be open for special hours during winter break (except for the holiday on Jan. 1).  See  HYPERLINK "http://www.explorit.org/news/explorits-holiday-hours" http://www.explorit.org/news/explorits-holiday-hours for the daily hours.
  • Jan. 18: Free admission Tuesday.  The third Tuesday of each month is free to all visitors. 

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Explorit Science Center, at 2801 Second St., has two exhibitions on display: “Move It! Science in Action” and “Wheels to Wings.”  Admission is $4 general, free for teachers, and ages 3 and under.  The museum is open to school groups by reservation and to the general public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Tuesdays and 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.  For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit http://www.explorit.org.

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