A resource for families in Santa Cruz County
Forward! ...with J K Rowling and Dolly Parton
Dear Parents,

The Latest on Camps from the County Health Services Agency, May 26, 2020 includes: "Childcare is now allowed for children of workers and volunteers in all open sectors , not just essential services . Guidance details on childcare facilities can be found here."

Several larger organizations have constructed plans in coordination with the Santa Cruz County Health Department for opening their camps. For examples, check the safety regulation statements of Capitola Recreation, Santa Cruz City Recreation, Santa Cruz County Parks and The Boys and Girls Club.

Also a number of private camps are opening and have announcements on their websites. If you are choosing to participate in camp experiences this summer, use our CAMPS 2020 and visit your favorite websites.

I'm inspired to make a phenology wheel. You too? If you want to learn more about bats tune into the kickoff of the library's summer reading program!

What do Dolly Parton and J K Rowling have in common? Scroll down, you'll find out!

Our CALENDAR is filling. It's for YOU! Check it out. Almost every event is virtual. How does your family balance screentime, outdoors, reading, chores, rambunctious play and quiet time?

I hear you...thinking and talking about "school" this fall. No doubt, it's a big decision and one that could be different for each of your children. Fortunately Santa Cruz County offers many quality choices. Make notes on your options, your family needs, your children's needs. Build your list of questions and ask for answers. After you have gathered information, sort, contemplate and discuss. Allow the best decision to reside with you for a bit as you connect head and heart.

Have a great weekend including a park or beach walk or run or perhaps build a slide for/with the kids, Parmalee
Read J.K. Rowling's "The Ickabog"

You’ve arrived at the website of my new story, The Ickabog.

I had the idea for The Ickabog a long time ago and read it to my two younger children chapter by chapter each night while I was working on it. However, when the time came to publish it, I decided to put out a book for adults instead, which is how The Ickabog ended up in the attic. I became busy with other things, and even though I loved the story, over the years I came to think of it as something that was just for my own children.

Then this lockdown happened. It’s been very hard on children, in particular, so I brought The Ickabog down from the attic, read it for the first time in years, rewrote bits of it and then read it to my children again. They told me to put back in some bits they’d liked when they were little, and here we are!

The Ickabog will be published for free on this website, in installments, over the next seven weeks, a chapter (or two, or three), at a time. It isn’t Harry Potter and it doesn’t include magic. This is an entirely different story.

The most exciting part, for me, at least, is that I’d like you to illustrate The Ickabog for me. Every day, I’ll be making suggestions for what you might like to draw. You can enter the official competition being run by my publishers, for the chance to have your artwork included in a printed version of the book due out later this year. I’ll be giving suggestions as to what to draw as we go along, but you should let your imagination run wild.

I won’t be judging the competition. Each publisher will decide what works best for their editions. However, if you, your parent or your guardian would like to share your artwork on Twitter using the hashtag #TheIckabog, I’ll be able to see it and maybe share and comment on it!

When the book is published in November, I’m going to donate all my royalties to help people who have been affected by the coronavirus. We’ll give full details later in the year.

I think that’s everything you need to know. I hope you enjoy reading it and I can’t wait to see your pictures!

Love, J K Rowling"
SC Museum of Natural History recommends:
Create Your Own Wheel!
Phenology Wheel Activity

All around us, things are constantly changing. Spring rains come and bring new flowers, baby birds are hatching from eggs, and new green leaves emerge on trees. Can you think of some ways you have observed changes in nature?

Artwork by Ivy Kae from The Art of Nature Exhibit

  • Phenology is the study of cycles and patterns in nature. You can practice phenology by making observations in nature and noticing how things change over time! Create a phenology wheel of your own as a tool to record your observations about a natural phenomenon in your own life! 
  • A phenology wheel is simply a way to keep track of the observations you are making about your chosen subject in nature.
  • Here is a detailed guide for creating your own wheel.
  • Or you can use this template!
  • To use the wheel, spend some time making observations in nature for a day, week, month, or even an entire year! You can focus on one species or a special spot outside your window or place of your own choosing

Here are some prompts to help inspire you to create your own wheel! Check out the detailed guide below for even more ideas.
  • Look outside your window each day for a week. What do you notice? What has changed? 
  • Look up at the sky! Each night, record your observations of the moon throughout its phases on your phenology wheel.
  • What’s the weather? Track the weather where you live for a week/month/year. 
  • Do you see any animals regularly near your home? Such as a bird? What do you think it is doing?

Thank you to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for this special activity! Remember to check out their Nature Explorers Camps!
|Recurring Event (See all)
Graciela Vega will be offering a virtual Ballet Folklorico class every Friday for ages 5+. Videos will be posted to the library YouTube page – links to come soon.
Complete List of California State Parks Open in Northern California Ready to go camping, but where?! Over last weekend, California State Parks quietly began opening parking lots to parks as the state dips its toes into Phase 2 of Covid reopening. The parking lots to 27 state parks were opened without announcement, with most of them only holding 50 percent of usual capacity. Details
Angles Inside Shapes, Angles Outside Shapes, Middle School and higher - All lessons are 11am PT, 12pm MT, 1pm CT, 2pm ET
May 30 @ 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Many people might fear bats, especially now. But bats are very beneficial creatures with a bad rap! Join us for a live, interactive program via Zoom with Corky Quirk of NorCal Bats. NorCal Bats is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of bats throughout Northern California.
FashionTeens will be presented virtually this year. Students will create videos from their homes which will then be edited into one fun, fantastic video. We hope to be back on the runway at the Civic Auditorium next year. In the meantime, stay safe, have fun and be creative!
June 3 @ 11:30 am - 1:00 pm
|Recurring Event (See all)
Virtual CA United States + Google Map
Ask questions about your newborn, share your joys and challenges while sheltering in place, and a Mindfulness Meditation exercise at the end to start the afternoon off right!
|Recurring Event (See all)
Interested in a virtual book club? Next week’s topic/theme on Weds, May 20th is Science Fiction & Fantasy – sign up by filling out the form or by calling 831-833-7555.
Attend Part 1 of this FREE virtual Triple P workshop to learn and share tips to:
* Provide reassurance to children during the COVID-19 pandemic
* Adapt and maintaining everyday family routines
* Keep children engaged with interesting activities at home
Are you new to homeschooling or interested in starting?
June 12 @ 7:00 pm
Are you new to homeschooling or interested in starting? Or have you been homeschooling for a few years and find yourself needing a fresh perspective? Details>>>
Rockin' Pop-up with the Geology Gents, Every Wednesday 3pm
Join the Geology Gents, Gavin and Graham, for weekly conversations about rocks live on Facebook. Each week we'll explore a different geologic topic, from Santa Cruz formations to tips for being a more effective rockhound. Details>>>
From Camping To Dining Out: Here's How Experts Rate The Risks Of 14 Summer Activities
It has been around two months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But what's safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household.

One big warning: Your personal risk depends on your age and health, the prevalence of the virus in your area and the precautions you take during any of these activities. Also, many areas continue to restrict the activities described here, so check your local laws.

And there's no such thing as a zero-risk outing right now. As states begin allowing businesses and public areas to reopen, decisions about what's safe will be up to individuals. It can help to think through the risks the way the experts do.

"We can think of transmission risk with a simple phrase: time, space, people, place," explains Dr. William Miller , an epidemiologist at Ohio State University.

Here's his rule of thumb: The more time you spend and the closer in space you are to any infected people, the higher your risk. Interacting with more people raises your risk, and indoor places are riskier than outdoors.

Dr. Emily Landon , a hospital epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist at University of Chicago Medicine, has her own shorthand: "Always choose outdoors over indoor, always choose masking over not masking and always choose more space for fewer people over a smaller space."

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Exercise should be a key element in any wellness routine—but unfortunately, not everyone has the time to pull away from their desks, let alone complete a 60-minute sweat session three times a week. But if there’s one thing anyone can more easily incorporate into a busy schedule, it’s walking 10,000 steps per day. Read about the benefits>>>>>

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It goes without saying that we are living through exceptional times, a kind of medieval experience in a time of technological wonder. We’re advised to avoid other people like the lepers of antiquity but encouraged to stay in touch with miraculous technology. There’s a kind of dissonance in all this. It’s not easy to get used to. And the hardest part, for a lot of us, is the uncertainty of it all. How long will this go on? Will we ever return to “normal”? Opinions>>>>