by Adeline Bellesheim, Lloyd Center Educator/Naturalist

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It is safe to say that these are strange times we are living through. With Massachusetts schools and daycares officially being closed for the remainder of the school year, feelings of uncertainty and anxiety continue to rise. The pressure on parents to care for and educate their children is intense, but we at the Lloyd Center for the Environment are happy to say that we are here to help! We are invested in the well-being of all of our past, present, and future students, and we want to be a part of their wildlife and science education even during this period of separation.

One of our favorite lessons for the students in our programs is about how animals need to adapt to their surroundings. Usually this involves conversations about the white fur of a polar bear, the spines on a cactus, or the slimy foot of a whelk. Now it is our turn to practice what we preach, and show our ability to adapt to educating our students from a distance! The Education Department at the Lloyd Center has collaborated on how we can adjust to these unprecedented circumstances. This time of year at the Lloyd Center would normally be filled with the sounds of children laughing and enjoying their Coastal Field Studies. Instead, our students are safe at home, and our lessons have gone virtual.

Every afternoon at 1:00 pm, the Lloyd Center Education staff will be sharing a post through our Facebook and Instagram pages. Our postings are not just any old social media posts. We are dedicated to making educational posts that can substitute as a lesson for your children. Everything that we share is science and nature based, and fun for the whole family to participate in. These lessons include things that can be done inside, or ways for the family to get outside while still practicing social distancing.

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We understand that not everyone has access to social media, or maybe you just began to follow our page and missed the last few weeks of posts. We would like to share a few of our favorite lessons with our readers so you can try a few out for yourselves. Although the activities and articles are geared towards children, many will agree that they are fun for people of all ages! Our staple lessons include Camouflage Thursday, and Feature Creature Friday, with a variety of topics being covered Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Camouflage Thursday challenges are for followers to see if they can find the creatures in our pictures. We always tell you what you are looking for and fun facts about them, but it is your job to find them! Feature Creature Friday focuses on one particularly interesting creature and many facts that you may not have known about them. We have covered wildlife typically found in South Coast Massachusetts, as well as some of the Center’s resident critters, including Koko, the Eastern Screech Owl, and Gator, the Snapping Turtle. It is always an excellent way to end the week.

To help rid our friends of the Monday blues, we like to tackle fun topics. On days that the weather has not been so forgiving, we have provided indoor activities, such as creating turtles from egg crates, and vertical gardens from recycled materials. On the days that the sun is shining and the sky is blue, we like to encourage our friends to get outside! We have turned mundane neighborhood walks into Spring Flower Scavenger Hunts, Bird Bingo, and gathering materials to build your own beaver dam. The staff at the Lloyd Center want to do their part in helping everyone stay safe, happy, and educated. Tune into our daily lessons, and feel free to leave a message about anything you’d like to know more about!