Wooded reading

Keith Syrett with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reads a story to young children at the Beacon Falls Library Tuesday. The children made nature journals afterward and checked out various finds from nature on display. –RA ARCHIVE

Keith Syrett with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reads a story to young children at the Beacon Falls Library Tuesday. The children made nature journals afterward and checked out various finds from nature on display. –RA ARCHIVE

BEACON FALLS — Children explored the outdoors Tuesday without leaving the inside of the Beacon Falls Library, as part of its science-themed summer reading program.

Around 20 children between the ages of 4 and 6 participated in the event, titled “In the Woods: Who’s Been Here?” The program was presented by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Kellogg Environmental Center.

“The goal is to show (the children) what is in the environment in their own back yards,” said Keith Syrett, a seasonal interpreter for the DEEP. “They don’t need to go far to see all of the things they learn about.”

Syrett read the book, “In the Woods: Who’s Been Here?” by Lindsay Barrett George, a story that follows two siblings on a walk through the woods as they encounter different plants and animals. Syrett then invited children to examine various nature artifacts, ranging from pine cones and butterfly wings to a beaver skull and a bird’s nest. Children were provided with nature books to help chronicle their findings.

Program librarian Shari Merrill said the event helped include younger children in the summer reading program.

“There were so many items for them to freely explore,” she said. “With so much technology, some children are not as curious and don’t have as much time to explore the outdoors, so I love having them exposed to it and have someone with the knowledge present it.”

Jamie Marcella of Naugatuck brought her three children after learning of the program on the library website.

“We live on a property that borders a state park,” she said. “I thought it’d be nice if they could learn about some of the things in our own backyard.”

Her 6-year-old son, Jonathan, said he’s interested in science and, although he mostly likes “experiments that blow up and explode,” he enjoyed learning more about nature during the program.

“I learned about animals and that grizzly bears have really big claws,” he said.

He even drew his interpretation of a grizzly bear paw in his nature book, which he said he plans to add to in the future.

Beacon Falls resident Amanda Benoit said she has brought her children to the library’s programs for the past five years and also said she thinks the program will help her kids be more curious about their surroundings.

“I think this program will help them to appreciate nature and look for different things they wouldn’t have thought of before,” she said.

The library’s closing program will be held Aug. 4.

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