Branch Out

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Ashley Atkinson
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Backyard Challenge: Brooke's Botanical Bookmark

By Brooke Stoneman, Former FCPL Librarian

bookmark made with pressed flowers in a book held open by a handThis activity combines two wonderful summer activities: reading and exploring nature! Take a walk in the woods, next to a stream, or in your own backyard. Find leaves, small twigs and flowers that interest you. Follow these instructions to turn the items you gather into a botanical bookmark.

  1. Collect items: Items that can be easily flattened are best.
  2. Press and dry leaves and flowers: Find a heavy book such as a dictionary or cook book. Place your treasures between two sheets of copy paper and then close them in the book. Make sure to space out the items. Place something heavy on top of the book to weigh it down more. The leaves and flowers will be dry after 2-3 weeks.  
  3. Prepare bookmark paper: Cut a piece of heavy cardstock to the desired height and width of your bookmark. It is easiest if the width does not exceed the width of your roll of packing tape (see step 4).
  4. Decorate and seal the bookmark: Arrange your items on the cardstock and carefully place clear packing tape over the front and back (if needed, you can glue down your items first to hold them in place while you apply the tape). Trim the tape around the edges of your bookmark. 
  5. Enjoy! Go read outside with your new botanical bookmark!

Get Outside, Count Some Leaves!

Discover valuable reasons and ways to motivate kids to venture outdoors. 

By Brooke Stoneman, Former FCPL Librarian

Reengaging With the Earth

In her poem “Foolishness? No, It’s Not,” Mary Oliver recounts an entire day spent climbing branches to count the leaves of a single tree. She describes being outside until she is “roaring with laughter, full of earth-praise.” 

After a cold winter, a wet spring and the long days of virtual or in-person school, our kids may need a bit of extra encouragement to venture back outdoors a

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