The recent visit of Indiana University School of Education Uplands Maker Mobile to the Jackson County Public Library created a buzz.
On day one, all ages were given different sizes of cardboard boxes to assemble and use in building a city.
The bees were the center of attention the other two days. First, the children painted tin cans and filled them with bamboo to make a bee house. Second, they have created a larger bee habitat that will be placed at Westside Park in Seymour.
The last two activities were all collaborative.
Andrew Woodard, Manufacturer Education Specialist for Uplands Maker Mobile, used a laser cutting machine to help kids create other little bee houses with pictures they drew by hand.
Along with the bee habitat, George Good, 10, of Seymour, a member of Cub Pack 526, received help from den leader Webelos Marty Schwab to build the frame. Caylin Davis, 12, from Seymour drew bees that were etched onto a thin piece of wood to use as a sign on the front of the habitat, and Kaytlin Stout, 13, from Seymour helped fill in the slits with bamboo, sticks, straw and wood. .
The library contacted Stacy Findley, director of the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department, and discovered that the habitat could be placed at Westside Park. Findley in turn has worked with Charlotte Moss with Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, which has a group of teenagers who want to add a butterfly garden, pollinating plants, and a bench near the habitat.
“We were going to keep the bee habitat here, but honestly we don’t have enough pollinating plants,” said Lola Snyder, the library’s youth services manager. “We wanted it to be a place where bees can actually use it, pollinators can actually use it.”
Findley said Westside Park was chosen because it is “a blank canvas” and underdeveloped and needs more amenities.
The teens contacted the Vallonia State Nursery to see what types of plants could be placed in the butterfly garden.
Findley said she was excited to see what the teens are able to do there.
“The idea is for the group of teenagers to own it,” she said. “At the beginning when they plant them, we can be there to help them, but the idea is that it would be their garden, they will do the maintenance, they will have to weed the garden.”
The bench will be similar to the powder coated ones around downtown Seymour, and teens will choose a logo for the back. The bench will be put in concrete.
“The idea is to pull resources from all the different avenues because I don’t think a single entity could have done it all on their own,” Findley said of the project.
Snyder and Janet Hensen, head of information services for the library, were happy that Woodard had asked to bring the Uplands Maker Mobile to the library for programming.
“When we found out, I was like, ‘Yeah, our kids would love that. Let’s let them down,” Snyder said.
Launched in 2020, Uplands Maker Mobile was a project out of the UI’s Center for Rural Engagement designed to help educators in Indiana engage young people in tech-rich maker training.
The vehicle is loaded with a full suite of manufacturing tools, including three-dimensional printers, laser cutters, Cricut machines, sewing machines, CNC routers, electronics, hand tools and tools. ‘crafts and carpentry. It brings manufacturing to schools and organizations through workshops with children or adults, development and training of professionals or teachers or assistance with events and projects.
“Almost any group or organization that really wants to focus on creating or adding creation to their program or project or their summer camps,” said Woodard.
The bee habitat project was the first of its kind for Woodard, but he has a few more planned in other locations this summer.
“This is one of the biggest projects that we are starting to come up with,” he said. “We’re really interested in bringing manufacturing to the community at large, so doing it with your hands, using technological tools as well as a cardboard die-cutting tool. It’s not just high tech. It’s low tech too, just getting dirty, rolling up your sleeves. “
The habitat will attract solitary bees, including land or mason bees, which live on ledges, in the ground or in sticks and piles, Woodard said.
“Mason bees are basically solitary bees, a kind of wild bee. They will come in and take nests in these holes or in the spaces in between,” he said of how they will use it. ‘habitat. “They’ll bring mud and create a mud wall, and they’ll lay their eggs and they’ll put more mud, so they’ll make about six to seven chambers in one of them.”
The young people who helped with the project were happy to have this opportunity.
“I have bees in my house and wanted to know more about them,” Stout said of what drew her to the library. “It helps the people a lot because they collect the pollen and move it around, so that you can get more flowers and not all the plants will die.”
Davis said she liked the variety of programs offered at the library, including bee habitat.
“It’s just helping the animals and everything. I love the animals, so it’s good to help them… knowing that I was able to help the community and help (the bees) to repopulate themselves”, a- she declared.
Snyder hopes Woodard returns to the library with Uplands Maker Mobile.
“Once we are allowed to be inside he has different things that he can show,” she said. “There are all kinds of things we should be able to do.”
In one look
For more information about the programs offered at the Jackson County Public Library, call 812-522-3412, option 2, follow the library on Facebook, or visit myjclibrary.org/events.
For more information on Uplands Maker Mobile, email Andrew Woodard at [email protected] or visit education.indiana.edu/community/maker-education/maker-mobile.