Out & About: Library in Thetford kicks off Week of Young Child with pollinator activity

  • Liz Sauchelli. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Geoff Hansen

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/31/2023 5:17:59 PM
Modified: 3/31/2023 5:16:25 PM

Two area nonprofit organizations are joining together to celebrate the area’s youngest residents while promoting pollinators.

From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at George Peabody Library (7922 Route 113), young children and their caregivers can gather to plant purple coneflower seeds that will later be part of a native pollinator garden. Rachael Cook will read books about spring and gardening from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. There will also be free children’s books.

The event also serves as the kickoff to the Week of the Young Child, an annual event that focuses on young children, in addition to their families and educators. The Family Place, a Norwich-based nonprofit organization, is hosting events throughout the week.

There were already plans for Alicia Houk to put in a native pollinator garden at the Peabody, when Cheryl Twerdowsky, a library trustee who also serves on the board of the Family Place, suggested that the two events be connected.

“I think what we were thinking is because Earth Day is also in April, that nurturing the what, nurturing the pollinators, also having gardens thrive and the Earth thrive helps kids thrive,” Twerdowsky said. “That was the whole tie in and that ties into the Week of the Young Child.”

Houk and children’s librarian Emily Zollo were on board.

“I think it’s extremely important especially these days for kids to cultivate the connection between young children and nature and to give them experiences where they can connect with nature and the earth so we can show them how important it is to take care of our planet,” Zollo said. “Giving them these experiences as early as possible will help grow the next generation of people who will hopefully take care of the earth.”

Participants will be planting purple coneflower seeds, which Houk will care for until they’re ready to be planted in the ground. When the children come back to visit the library, they’ll be able to recognize the flowers — and maybe even seen butterflies on them.

“That’s why we wanted to go with the coneflower, because it’s something they’ll really be able to see stand out in the garden,” Houk said.

In recent years, Houk planted a small pollinator garden at Thetford’s Latham Library. The plants are labeled, giving patrons an idea of what they can plant at their own homes. The garden at Peabody will on a much bigger scale.

She estimated that around 30% of the lawn will become a garden.

“I think what’s really significant about the garden is that it’s taking up this idea of — it’s kind of flipping the script — it’s not saying, ‘Oh where do we want to put a garden’; it’s saying, ‘Where do we want lawn?’ ” Houk said. “The rest of it could be put to better use. It’s more beautiful if we can put in native plants.”

There will still be plenty of grass for the library’s much-loved Penny Carnival, lawn games and other activities.

There are tentative plans to hold an community planting event at the library on June 21, to kick off summer.

“The idea is also to plant a showcase garden so other libraries and institutions can come and take a look to see what they can do in their own space,” Zollo said.

Editor’s note: Visit familyplacevt.org/celebration-of-the-2023-week-of-the-young-child to learn about other Week of the Young Child events.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.

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