Nature Explorations

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Basic Information

Address: 28 Main Street 2C Monson, MA 01057
Phone Number: 413 267 4757
Director: Kevin Kopchynski

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Additional Information

Grade Levels: K-5, 6-8, 9-12
Length: 30-60 minutes
Travel:

Travel fees for destinations beyond 60-minute travel time are charged

Pricing: $150 minimum 2 classes, $40 each additional class
Setup: 45 minutes before first program
Takedown: 30-45 minutes after las program
Equipment: All equipment supplied
Highlights:

Life Underground
At first, the idea of life underground may seem impossible. It is dark, damp and surrounded by dirt. Yet, many creatures, including ants, worms, and moles call the underground their home for all or part of their lives. We see and admire trees, but we see only part of them. Underground, their roots interact in fascinating ways. Many creatures live their lives in caves without ever seeing the light of day. Some bacteria live inside of rocks, and over 400 lakes are deep underground in Antarctica. We will explore these many facets of the underground biosphere.

For young audiences we will focus on familiar creatures such as ants, worms, and moles. Older audiences will enjoy a tour of the entire range of underground life.

MicroWorlds (Available April-October)
Discover the hidden world in a drop of pond water and other micro marvels. We use photographs and illustrations to preview the expedition ahead, then we journey into the microscopic world with live microscopic images projected on a screen for easy group viewing. I use real microscopes fitted with a video camera for quality images. The pictures at the bottom of the Vernal Pools article give a sample of what might be viewed. I can also offer a micro scavenger hunt option where children can gather samples to be viewed. This will require a longer program time and appropriate outdoor access.

Nature's Designs
Discover the many patterns, shapes, and designs in nature. The plants and animals around us are design engineers. The show features photographs and computer demonstrations of the many patterns found in the natural world. We feature spirals and leaf vein patterns as examples of design optimization in nature.

Incredible Insects (Available May-September)
Insects are our hidden neighbors. We will learn how to find a variety of these creatures, how to identify them, and details of their weird and wonderful lives. Photographs and live images are magnified on a screen for easy group viewing. Program is available with live demos May through September only.

Solar System Tour

Our solar system has a variety of intriguing worlds with unique characteristics. Enjoy a ramble through the solar system with NASA images and computer simulations featuring highlights from the latest missions. Learn about conditions on the planets and their moons, and explore the often overlooked Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud.

Stories of the Night Sky
Learn about the stars, constellations, and planets in your night sky. We will focus on what is visible in the season the program is given, and then give a preview of the coming seasons. This program is given with a planetarium program projected from a computer, and so is not dependent on the weather. We can couple this with an outdoor observing session as well.

Learn about the stars, constellations, and planets in your night sky. We will focus on what is visible in the season the program is given, and then give a preview of the coming seasons. This program is given with a planetarium program projected from a computer, and so is not dependent on the weather. We can couple this with an outdoor observing session as well.

Understanding seasonal change in the sky is a key to learning the constellations. The ancients used the sky and their stories to track the seasons. We use many examples from ancient star lore to illustrate the concepts.

A Look at Black Holes
When exploring black holes we encounter warped space, quantum particles, and other topics once found only in science fiction. We will gain a better understanding of these once theoretical objects while preserving the wonder around them. This is best for ages 10 and up.

Mission Statement:

To help connect people to the natural world through innovative education.

Philosophy/Belief Statement: "Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either one." -Marshall McLuhan
Testimonials: I wanted to let you know how much the teachers and students enjoyed Kevin’s STARLAB presentation at Clough last week. I was able to briefly speak with each of teachers when they came out and their comments were “excellent”, “informative” and “just right for the kids”. From my perspective everything went according to plan, Kevin was all set up and ready to greet each class as it arrived. He was very accommodating with the space that he used in the gym and how promptly he took the STARLAB down so that the incoming gym class could use the whole space. There is one other thing that happened that clearly demonstrated Kevin’s generosity and commitment to kids’ education. As you can imagine the STARLAB piqued the interest of anyone that came into the gym. At one point a special education teacher saw the dome and asked me what it was for. When I explained to her why it was there and what was happening that morning she asked me if 2 of the special education students could go in and experience a few minutes of the show. I was hesitant to ask Kevin as this would impact his departure time and it was above and beyond what he had committed to doing that day. Anyway, the teacher asked Kevin and he very graciously offered to spend some time allowing the 2 boys into the STARLAB after the last show. The teachers and I were very appreciative of Kevin’s kindness toward the special needs students. Thank you for helping me arrange a very successful event at our elementary school. And a big Thank You to Kevin, he is truly invested the kids science experiences.
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