If you missed the article in American Libraries Magazine in March/April 2011, check it out online or better yet read about it at http://www.natureexplorium.org/ . Middle Country Public Library (MCPL) in Centereach, NY, created a 5000 sq ft outdoor learning space adjacent to the library, in collaboration with the Long Island Nature Collaborative for Kids (LINCK) – a group of early childhood, museum, and library professionals who actively promote the development of parks, outdoor classrooms, and community places for nature education. MCPL’s Nature Explorium which opened on April 20, 2011, contains a variety of areas, all geared toward connecting children to a different aspect of nature. Some fun aspects include climbing/crawling area, messy materials area, building area, nature art area, music and performance area, planting area, gathering/conversation place, reading area, and water feature, a Book Path where donors select their favorite children’s book or quote, a Friends Bench displaying native Long Island animals and READ plaques displaying donors’ favorite quotes about Reading, Environment, Adventure, and Discovery. Check out their array of workshops and offerings in the areas of Climb It, Dig It, Plant It, Read It, Create It, Play It, and Splash It!
Check out the photos if you can’t visit the area, and better yet, brainstorm a way to create this type of natural learning space at your library!