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FEBRUARY 2021 10 COOL THINGS TO DO THIS MONTH

IDENTIFYING EVERGREENS

GRANDPARENTING IN THE PANDEMIC

CHOCOLATE TARTLETS FOR V-DAY

Strengthen Our Democracy! SCORECARD INSIDE PAGE 15

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COURTESY OF BARB KOREIN

EDITOR’S NOTE STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS Cathy Resmer

CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES.

cathy@kidsvt.com

Rich and decadent every time.

COPUBLISHER

Colby Roberts

colby@kidsvt.com

BENJAMIN ROESCH, “ONE TO WATCH” COLUMNIST

MANAGING EDITOR

Alison Novak

alison@kidsvt.com ART DIRECTOR

Kirsten Thompson

My all-time favorite sweet treat is SALMIAKKI, which is actually a salty black licorice candy from Finland. In Vermont, it’s basically impossible to find, so my current favorite is Lake Champlain Chocolates’ maplebutter pecan ice cream.

MARKETING & EVENTS DIRECTOR

Corey Grenier

corey@kidsvt.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Kaitlin Montgomery kaitlin@kidsvt.com PROOFREADER

Carolyn Fox PRODUCTION MANAGER

John James CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Don Eggert DESIGNERS

ELISA JÄRNEFELT, “MOM TAKES NOTES” COLUMNIST

Alison’s parents and kids on a hike in New York during pre-pandemic times

CIRCULATION MANAGER

Matt Weiner BUSINESS MANAGER

Marcy Carton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Keegan Albaugh, Meredith Bay-Tyack, Cat Cutillo, Heather Fitzgerald, Elisa Järnefelt, Matt KillKelley, Astrid Hedbor Lague, Emily Jacobs, Thea Lewis, Brett Ann Stanciu PHOTOGRAPHERS

Andy Brumbaugh, Cat Cutillo ILLUSTRATOR

Jeanie Williams

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What’s your favorite sweet treat? It’s hard to beat the Red Onion’s CHOCOLATE WHITE

COPUBLISHER/ EXECUTIVE EDITOR

John James, Rev. Diane Sullivan

CONTRIBUTORS’ QUESTION

Hope on the Horizon

L

ate last month, I received a text message I wasn’t expecting that gave me a burst of joy and hope. “We have been vaccinated!” my dad wrote in our family group chat. “In the just in case waiting room now. All good!” My parents are in their late sixties and live in New York — where those 65 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. But the last I’d heard, they hadn’t managed to snag an appointment until April, at a racetrack in Queens. What they didn’t tell me was that they’d eventually found another vaccination site where they could get jabbed a whole lot earlier. Hence my dad’s surprise text. The last time I saw my mom and dad was last summer; they came to visit us in Vermont for a few days when the coronavirus numbers were low. The stretch of time since then has been the longest I’ve gone without seeing them in my entire life, and also the longest my kids have gone without seeing their grandparents. The announcement that they’d received their first dose of vaccine was the shot in the arm I needed to get through the rest of this long and lonely winter. It’s still likely months before we’ll see them again, but it feels like progress. In this issue, Burlington grandmother of seven Thea Lewis writes about how she’s stayed connected to her grandchildren — ranging in age from 5 months to 21 years — during this time, from bonding over Hamilton via Zoom to gifting them with books and toys she would have liked as a kid. Find her essay, “A Grand Challenge,” on page 31. February means Valentine’s Day, and in “Mealtime” on page 10, Astrid Hedbor Lague shares a recipe for decadent ganache tartlets that sound to me like the perfect way to celebrate. And in “Art Lessons” on page 21, Emily Jacobs writes about how to make a sentimental still life for a loved one. (It would make a great grandparent gift.) This month, we’ve relaunched our calendar page, with a list of 10 ideas for familyfriendly events and activities. Find that on page 26, followed by a list of virtual field trips offered by local and national museums, zoos and science centers on page 27. In “Growing Up Green” on page 11, Meredith Bay-Tyack writes about the importance of seeing the abundance in our daily lives. I’ll be honest: These days, it feels hard to fully embrace that mindset. But as the weeks go on, and more and more people get vaccinated, perhaps it will become a little bit easier.

The frozen SUGAR SHACK LATTE from Vivid Coffee is out of this world! It has espresso, maple syrup, whipped cream and is 100 percent vegan! Definitely the best caffeinated beverage I’ve ever had. KEEGAN ALBAUGH, “POP CULTURE” COLUMNIST

I love the CHOCOLATE-COVERED PRETZELS from Vermont Nut Free Chocolates — a delicious go-to for foodallergy families like mine. CAT CUTILLO, “VERMONT VISIONARIES” COLUMNIST/COVER PHOTOGRAPHER

CONTRIBUTOR’S NOTE JEANIE WILLIAMS (illustrator for “Good Nature,” page 12) now calls the shores of Lake Michigan home after living in Vermont for 10 years. She is a sketchbook artist, water protector, group facilitator, transformational coach and standup paddleboarder.

ALISON NOVAK, MANAGING EDITOR KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

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FEBRUARY 2021

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Vermont Visionaries

JUST FOR KIDS Coloring Contest! Three winners will each receive an annual family membership to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. Send Kids VT your work of art by February 15. Be sure to include the info at right with your submission. Winners will be chosen in the following categories: (1) ages 5 and younger, (2) ages 6-8 and (3) ages 9-12. Winners will be named in the March issue of Kids VT. Send your highresolution scans to art@kidsvt.com or mail a copy to Kids VT, P.O. Box 1184, Burlington, VT 05402.

Coloring Contest Winners .........29 Puzzle Page ........................................ 30

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Just for Kids

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Good Citizen Challenge Scorecard

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Coloring Contest Coloring Contest Winners Matching Puzzle Puzzle Answers

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TRENDING Jen Ellis, the second grade teacher from Essex Junction who made Sen. Bernie Sanders’ inauguration mittens, whipped up three more pairs to auction off for charity. After she finished her report cards, of course.

Baby names such as Cairo and Milan are on the rise, “perhaps reflecting a longing to travel during lockdown,” the New York Times reports. When Hackensack starts gaining popularity, we’ll know people are getting desperate.

Kraft has created a limited-edition, candy-flavored pink macaroni and cheese in honor of Valentine’s Day. As if the bright orange weren’t obnoxious enough.

IN THE CLASSROOM

A Vision for the Future BY ALISON NOVAK

W

hen Joseph R. Biden was inaugurated as the nation’s 46th president on January 20, people viewed the proceedings live from their kitchen tables, couches, home offices and workplaces. Or, in the case of many Vermont schoolchildren, from their classrooms. Becca Shute’s fifth graders at Sheldon Elementary School in Franklin County were among them. Shute said her students watched the swearing in of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as Biden’s speech and national youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman’s recitation of her poem “The Hill We Climb.” The class also talked about how Harris was the first vice president of Black and South Asian descent. “I got really emotional,” said Shute, noting that students expressed their excitement, too. After the inauguration, students shared what they learned or noticed from the ceremony, and many thanked her for giving them the experience, Shute said. Biden’s Inaugural Committee had prompted Americans to share their vision for the country’s future in eight words or less, so Shute’s class made signs displaying their messages and filmed a video set to music by Taylor Swift in which they held up their signs. Said Shute of her students: “They make me really proud to do my job and make the challenges that have come with teaching — especially in a pandemic and through the political and social heaviness we have faced lately — so worth it, because they remind me every day why I came into this profession in the first place.”  Clockwise, from top: “Stay home, stay safe, wear a mask,” Cassie; “Make the world a better place,” Gracie; “I would like to better gun control,” Grayson; “Kindness and love is all you need,” Hazel; “I hope you can help those in need,” Keiran; “Help me change the world,” Ethan; “I hope you help LGBTQ+ and BLM community,” Alaunna

#INSTAKIDSVT Ben & Jerry’s has a new ice cream for dogs; Lake Champlain Chocolates is now selling vegan truffles. Your move, Cabot and King Arthur Baking.

Thanks for sharing your photos with us using the hashtag #instakidsvt. We loved this sweet shot of 4-year-old Juni of Burlington enjoying a yummy meal of assorted snacks and cheese fondue. Share photos of your family having fun this month.

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Post your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #instakidsvt. We’ll select a photo to feature in the next issue.

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

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POP CULTURE B Y KE E GA N A L BA UGH

COURTESY OF KEEGAN ALBAUGH

The Favorite Parent What to do when your child prefers your partner

A

ll right, time to get out!” I exclaimed, lifting my 2-year-old daughter, Penelope, out of the tub. As I dried her off, her giggles quickly turned to cries when she realized how cold it was. “Just a moment, Penny,” I told her. I quickly toweled her off, wrapped her up and carried her to her bedroom while she vocalized her displeasure. There, I attempted to get Penelope’s pajamas on, typically a quick and easy process. On this night, though, my daughter was crying and wet enough to make slipping on pajamas difficult. I tried to move quickly, but it wasn’t fast enough. “I want Mommy,” cried Penny. “It’s OK, Penny. I can help you,” I responded. “I want Mommy!” cried Penny, once again.

The last thing you need to feel is that someone in your own home doesn’t like you. “We’re almost done, Penny! Just give me another minute,” I pleaded. “Mommy! Mommy!” My partner, Stephanie, had been in the other room listening to the situation unfold. She was walking the line of letting me take care of our upset daughter versus knowing when to step in. At this moment, she decided it was time to intervene. “Can I help?” Stephanie asked, popping her head into the doorway. Regardless of my answer, I knew Penny had seen her mother and it was time for me to tag out. I left the room and let Stephanie take over. I felt defeated and upset. It was just another example of Penny expressing her preference for Stephanie over me. Because this was a moment of distress, it was understandable that Penny cried out for the parent she prefers. But there are so many other times she asks for her mother instead of allowing me to assist her: when it’s time to read a bedtime story, when she needs her face cleaned after dinner, and even when she needs her butt wiped after using the potty. Most days, Penny reminds me dozens 8

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

of times that she prefers her mother over me. And it hurts. A lot. It hurts because I feel like I am giving Penny and her 4-year-old sister, Coraline, so much of myself. I drop them off and pick them up from school almost every day. I cook for them and pack their lunches. I read them stories and take them on hikes. But no matter what I do, I usually feel like I’m a second-class parent. According to Dr. Jennifer Bragg, a neonatologist at New York City’s Mount Sinai Health System, “most babies develop a preference for their mother within 2 to 4 months of age. From birth, the combination of sight, smell, and sound likely all help babies distinguish their mother from others. Breastfeeding is the perfect distance between mom’s eyes and baby’s eyes, and babies like to look at their mother’s face while they breastfeed. Then there’s clearly smell, and the sound of their mother’s voice, which they’ve been listening to the entire time they were in the womb.” That all makes sense. I understand why a child may be naturally inclined to prefer their birth mother over anyone else. Combine that with the fact that Stephanie was able to take 12 weeks of maternity leave after each child was born, and it’s obvious there was a lot of bonding happening. But also, according to research published in 2013 in the academic journal Infant Behavior & Development, toddlers show a preference for their primary caregiver when experiencing distress. I guess it depends on how you define “primary caregiver,” but I feel like I’m the parent who spends more face-to-face time with our children. So shouldn’t they prefer me most of the time? It isn’t always clear why children have a preferred parent. It could be who gave birth to them. It could be who feeds them more snacks. It could be who makes the best voice when reading a book or who gives the best kiss on a boo-boo. It could even be who dances best to MC Hammer in the kitchen or who more closely resembles their favorite character in a television show. And that preference ebbs and flows. One parent may be the favorite for a week. Or a month. Or a year. But from what I hear from parents of older children, a child’s parental preference can bounce back and forth many times over the years. That being said, navigating those moments of rejection is hard. And these days,

Keegan with his family

nearly a year into a global pandemic, the last thing you need to feel is that someone in your own home doesn’t like you. Here are some tips for getting through it. • Remember that it’s not about you. It’s easy to feel bad about your parenting when you’re the second choice, but this is also totally normal in a child’s development. • Balance the time as much as possible. Do what you can to ensure that both parents are spending plenty of quality time with the kids. Additionally, make sure one parent isn’t always doing the “fun” things while the other focuses on the necessary things, such as feeding, bathing, trimming nails and brushing hair. • Get on the same parenting page. Similar and consistent responses from both parents can help children understand they’ll get the same message regardless of the messenger. If, for example, one parent takes a class on raising children with emotional intelligence and the other doesn’t, it’s easy for divides to form. When you learn new strategies, share them with your partner.

• Establish routines. When kids know what to expect, they’re less likely to feel distressed and seek out the parent with whom they feel safest. Predictable routines for occasions such as bath and bedtime help kids understand the plan and who is responsible for each role. • Build up excitement. For a while, Penny wasn’t letting me put her to bed at night. So at breakfast, I started pointing to her and saying, “Hey! Guess what? It’s Daddy’s turn to put you to bed tonight!” and then doing a little dance. It’s been great to see her go from crying at the idea of me putting her to bed to laughing and clapping her hands. Recently, I had a successful bedtime experience with Penny. We read stories, sang songs and both cracked up as she tried to “eat” the strings on my sweatshirt. Two hours before, she had been crying as I tried wiping her after she used the potty, saying emphatically that she wanted Mommy to do it. The preferences of a toddler can be all over the place, even within a few hours. And that’s normal. I just need to keep telling myself not to take it personally. 


MOM TAKES NOTES BY E L I S A J Ä RN E F E LT

H

ow do you teach your child to swim in a thunderstorm?” This is a question I’ve been pondering a lot lately. Our current events — the mix of the pandemic, white extremism, racial division and the climate crisis — make this time feel like a dark ocean that is constantly being pounded by thunder and lightning. Avoiding these waters is impossible and, in many ways, I feel that wading in the water and admitting the presence of these issues is important. However, my feelings as a parent are more confusing and contradictory. At the age of 3.5, my daughter has started to increasingly gather information about the world and make her own inferences. I have promised myself that I will be honest with her, but sometimes her questions are heartbreaking. They give me the urge to lie to her, to tell her the water is completely safe and storms can never reach us. But I know that this would not help her. Eventually someone would tell her about the thunder and the rain, and they might do so unkindly. So, when my daughter asks about the storms, I tell her about them. I tell her there really are thunderstorms over these waters sometimes, and yet we still must learn to swim. But I also tell her about the lifeguards. No matter how stormy the waters are, there are those who never stop trying to help. You can still feel safe in the storm. That is not a lie. K

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

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MEALTIME BY A S T RI D H E D BOR L A GUE

French Chocolate Ganache Tartlets G anache. Just the word sounds luxurious. It’s also one of the easiest chocolate confections to make. All you have to do is take good-quality chocolate, chop it finely and pour heated cream over it so that it melts. From this simple creation, you can make a rich and creamy cake filling, luscious chocolate truffles, a whipped frosting or, in this case, a perfect base for a chocolate lover’s dream tart. You will want to use good dark chocolate; chop up a bar or buy high-quality dark chocolate chips. Just be sure to choose something that doesn’t have ingredients other than chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter and milk. Use at least 53 percent cacao, but not more than 65 percent, as the ganache can get bitter. To make the filling less dense, I added an egg. Mini desserts always make me happy. In this case, I made sweet little tartlets in special tart pans with removable bottoms. (I purchased a set from Amazon, but you might be able to find them locally at Kiss the Cook in Burlington.) I also tried making them in a plain muffin pan, and that worked, though they were a little more difficult to remove and weren’t as decorative. I decided to use pistachios in the crust, and my family all loved that addition. You could absolutely

CHOCOLATE TARTLETS (makes approximately 8 servings)

INGREDIENTS: For the crust: •

3/4 cup (100 g) pistachios

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup (163 g) flour

1/3 cup (35 g) confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup butter, cold

1-1 1/2 tablespoons very cold water

For the ganache filling:

10

2 cups (12 oz.) dark chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter

1 egg

freeze-dried raspberries

fresh raspberries for garnish

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

DY AN

substitute almonds, pecans or hazelnuts. Topped with raspberries and an optional heart decoration made from freeze-dried raspberry powder and a simple homemade stencil, these tarts are the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you have extra ganache after filling your tart shells

GH AU MB U BR

like I did, pour it into greased ramekins, and you’ll have another luscious chocolate dessert to enjoy with fresh raspberries or whipped cream. The best thing about these cute confections? You can easily deliver them to your friends and family to share the love, even if you can’t be together. 

DIRECTIONS: To make the crust:

1. Grind the pistachios and salt in a food processor or blender until they form a fine meal. 2. Whisk together the pistachio meal, flour and confectioner’s sugar. 3. Using a box grater or a grater attachment to a food processor, grate the cold butter coarsely. 4. In either a food processor or a stand mixer, mix the ingredients until just combined. Drizzle in cold water slowly while mixing, until the dough forms a ball that is workable but not sticky. You may need a little more water depending on your kitchen’s humidity. 5. Form the dough into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes. 6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare tartlet pans or muffin tins by spraying with a thin coating of cooking spray. 7. Separate the dough evenly into about nine pieces and press into the pans or tins (about 1/8-1/4 inch thick). Trim any excess dough from the top to make a clean edge, using the leftover dough for additional crusts. For me, this recipe made six 4-inch tartlets and three additional muffin-tin tarts. 8. Prick the bottom crusts a few times with a fork so air can escape while baking. Place on a baking sheet and put in the freezer for 15 minutes, then bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely before filling.

To make the ganache filling:

1. Place chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a metal mixing bowl. 2. Heat cream, either on the stovetop or in the microwave, until it is hot but not boiling (about 90 seconds in my microwave). 3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, cover and let sit for 5 minutes before mixing. 4. Whisk the mixture until the chocolate is entirely melted. Add the butter and whisk until incorporated. Finally, whisk in the egg.

To assemble:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 2. Pour the ganache filling into the cooled tart shells until just under the edge of the shell. 3. Bake for around 20 minutes, or until the filling just barely wiggles in the center. 4. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until ready to serve. 5. To garnish, if desired, make a heart stencil by cutting a small heart out of a piece of paper. Sprinkle freeze-dried raspberry powder over the stencil and lift carefully to reveal a heart design. Repeat for remaining tarts. Top with a few fresh raspberry halves. 6. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.


GROWING UP GREEN BY M E RE D I T H B AY -T YAC K

© DREAMSTIME.COM/ SABELSKAYA

Cozy Does It Eco-friendly tips for a comfortable winter home

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ike many, I’ve been swimming against an unfamiliar current since the pandemic set restrictions and lifestyle changes in motion last March. I am choosing to see the winter months as an opportunity to cultivate joy and comfort in my home. I know there won’t necessarily be quiet and stillness — I do have two exuberant kids at home, after all — but I hope to reclaim some peace in my heart and mind. Over the years, I’ve learned some lessons about how to create a comfortable home. Below, find a few of the ways my family has been able to experience contentment while hunkering down during the winter months, keeping eco-friendly practices and mindfulness front and center.

CHOOSE HYGGE You may know the Scandinavian term hygge (pronounced HOO-gah), meaning cozy. Lighting a candle, enjoying a cup of tea, wrapping up in a soft blanket and pulling on thick wool socks are a few things that might help you achieve this feeling. While Pinterest often makes it seem like we need to be alone in a picturesque cabin in the woods to find this state of being, it’s really about everyday moments. There are two ways I make it easier on myself to find hygge during this busy season of life. The first is to set up or decorate small corners in my home in a way that gives me a cozy feeling. I might string up twinkle lights or arrange a small collection of art and trinkets in a previously blank corner. When my eyes alight on a scene like this, I experience a moment of delight. The second is to ignore everything around me, even if it’s only for a minute, and focus on the coziness of what’s right in front of me. Maybe there’s a stack of papers on my kitchen counter that needs to be addressed, but instead I’ll turn my attention fully to the feeling of my feet in fuzzy socks or the warmth of my coffee mug. There’s no need to buy a special new candle or blanket in order to fulfill your search for hygge

USE (AND SHARE!) WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE If conversations with friends are any indication, many of us have been trying to buy ourselves and our kids out of the pandemic. If only we had a specific game, this one fluffy pillow, that new rug, it would make all of this uncertainty more bearable. I’ve certainly let the pendulum swing in that direction, but I’m more than ready to pull it back. Even in my small home, I often forget about the things I’ve stored away. Before buying games, art supplies or décor, I try to see if I can pull out an item we already have to fulfill the need for something “new.” If you’re comfortable with it, you can also swap games, books and other items with close friends and family. Avoid future awkwardness by being up-front about the terms of the swap. Are you passing on the item indefinitely, or do you expect it to be returned? If you find yourself with extra games, activities or other items you think others may want but can’t find a friend to take them, donate! When I’m looking to give something away, I try to be intentional about where it goes. Search for “Buy Nothing” and “Gifting” groups on Facebook. Many towns and neighborhoods have their own forums, too. I tend to prioritize donating to ReSOURCE, a nonprofit with multiple locations across the state, because I appreciate its mission to ethically support its employees and the communities it serves. Other places that accept donations in Burlington that you may not have heard of are Possibility Shop and Shalom Shuk. There are also local mutual aid organizations in many areas that can help find a new home for your items.

TRIAL WITHOUT FIRE If you’ve been eyeing a low-waste practice but aren’t sure it will work with your lifestyle, now might be the time to try it. If you’re working from or spending more time at home and aren’t seeing people in close proximity, test out a shampoo bar and apple cider vinegar “conditioner” without having to worry that you smell like a salad while your hair gets used to a new technique. Now might also be the perfect time to start using a menstrual cup or natural deodorant, cook and bake more from scratch, or take on a food-waste challenge. Fight the slow rot of leftovers and half-eaten produce by bringing them to the forefront of your fridge with an “eat me first” label. Use up fruit ends and that last bit of yogurt for smoothies. Make stock from veggie ends you’d typically throw in the compost. Some of the eco-friendly things in my home that bring me the most comfort are the simplest. I like the aesthetics of a wooden and natural bristle dish brush, but I also like that it’s helping me limit my impact on the Earth. And it will last a lot longer than its plastic counterpart.

BRING IT WITH YOU Outdoor recreation continues to be one of the only steadfast activities we can engage in. Let’s all commit to bringing our reusables along for the ride. You likely have a reusable water bottle and coffee mug (or 10 of them!) at home, but do you remember to bring them with you? Build the habit, and soon you’ll remember your water bottle as easily as you do your keys, wallet and face mask. Supporting small businesses is important now, but it’s also not as easy to pop into a café or shop, especially with kids in

tow. If you used to spend your Saturday morning going for a walk or bike ride, then stopping into a bakery for special treats, plan ahead and bring some treats with you — or find a place where you can preorder goodies for a socially distanced pickup. Follow the same idea for road trips. Fewer or no stops is the goal these days, so pack what you need in reusable containers before you go.

PRACTICE ABUNDANCE A lot of these tips come down to trying to see the bounty in our daily life. Because social media and advertising may lead us to compare ourselves to others and want what we don’t necessarily need, it definitely takes ongoing practice. But low-waste and eco-friendly lifestyle choices can help us truly appreciate what we have. Take this example: In the early days of the pandemic, many of us waited in line at the store only to find that basic necessities such as toilet paper were sold out. I’m not a trained therapist, but I know that scarcity triggers fear in many of us, and that is a valid feeling. Now, think of something you own that can be reused many times. Then picture stacks of the disposable version of that same item. You would have had to buy, store, manage and dispose of all those items. Then they would head to the landfill to sit for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Something that can be reused many times may look like less, but it actually represents abundance.  KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

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GOOD NATURE B Y H E AT H E R F I TZ GE RA L D • I L L U S T R AT IO N S B Y J E AN IE W IL L IAM S

O Tannenbaum A simple guide to Vermont’s most common evergreens

A

lthough everyone makes a big deal about evergreens in December, I think they’re just as vital in the later months of winter. They offer shelter from the wind and a welcome taste of green. February is a great time of year to get acquainted with Vermont’s evergreens. If you find yourself needing a break from the news, bring a few twigs home from a walk in the woods and invite your kids to join you at the kitchen table to figure out what they are. Even if they don’t fully engage, I’m willing to bet useful tidbits will slip out of your mouth and into their ears, and they will grow up knowing that not all cones are pine cones! To start, know that most evergreens are conifers — they grow their seeds inside cones instead of flowers. They also drop their needles little by little, rather than all at once, leaving them always green. I think evergreens are easier to tell apart than hardwoods. The first step is not to be tricked by our society’s careless use of the word “pine.” With the simple awareness that most of Vermont’s evergreens are not, in fact, pines, you’ll open your eyes to the many varieties of evergreens in your midst. However, if you look at the needles on an evergreen and find they come off in bunches, then you are actually are looking at a pine. In Vermont, there are three kinds of pines: White pine is our most common pine. Its needles look feathery and occur in bunches of five. (A memory trick is that there are five letters in the word “white.”) Pitch pine is fairly rare in Vermont — it is associated with areas that have burned — and its needles come off in bunches of three. (You can remember: “Three strikes and you’re out!”) Sometimes you can find needles growing right out of the trunk. Red pine has red bark in smooth, puzzlepiece shapes, and its longer, beefier needles come off in bunches of two. If the needles don’t come off in bunches, you are looking at an evergreen that is not a pine. These are the most common non-pine evergreens you’ll find in Vermont’s forests: Northern white cedar: You’ll find this on cliffs and in swamps. It also can grow out of rock! Instead of needles, it has what botanists call “scale-like leaves.” It also has stringy bark that looks like it’s been used as a scratching post by a cat. Eastern hemlock: This species tends to grow in groves on low-elevation northern and eastern slopes. The needles are short but so densely packed together that almost nothing can grow on the forest floor beneath them. Look for needles that lie flat like the pages of an open book, and also for upside-down needles (white stripe up) that run along each twig.

12

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

Pine varieties

Balsam fir: These trees look a lot like hemlock, but the needles are longer and look like they attach to the stem with little suction cups, with none running parallel to the twigs. The bark is smooth, except for pods of sap (you can pop these!), and they grow in colder places than hemlocks — at higher elevations and in the Northeast Kingdom. Spruce: We have several species of these trees, which also grow in the mountains and the Northeast Kingdom. Since they tend to grow together with firs, I remember the saying “sharp spruce, friendly fir” to distinguish the two. Firs are soft, but spruce needles are pointy and will hurt you if you squeeze a twig! You can also look at the bark, which is much rougher than fir. One last thing: The cones on all of these trees are just as different as the twigs, once you stop to notice. So if you catch yourself saying “pine cone,” check and see if it’s attached to a pine! Cedar and hemlock cones are tiny. Pine cone scales are woody; spruce cone scales are more papery. Fir cones grow upright instead of hanging down. If you want more help with tree identification, Vermont Master Naturalist Program executive director Alicia Daniel and forester Ethan Tapper both made excellent videos last spring. You can find the slideshow “Identification of Common Vermont Trees With Ethan Tapper” on the Chittenden County Forester YouTube channel and Daniel’s “Spring Tree Walk in the Champlain Valley” on the Vermont Master Naturalist YouTube channel.  Heather Fitzgerald teaches field ecology and environmental science at the Community College of Vermont, University of Vermont and Saint Michael’s College.


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PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MARK SUSTIC

ONE TO WATCH B Y BE N J A M I N ROE S CH

What’s Old Is New A Burlington teen shares her passion for traditional music

S

ixteen-year-old Maeve Fairfax has a bright future ahead of her. But as a musician, she feels deeply connected to the past. The Burlington High School junior is working to keep traditional music alive and well into the 21st century. Maeve’s love for traditional roots music started in elementary school, sparked by a CD of Irish music her parents often played in the house. She was instantly captivated by the music’s infectious rhythm, acoustic instrumentation and beautiful melodies. Soon, Maeve was trying out every traditional instrument she could get her hands on, eventually settling on the fiddle. She also plays flute and pennywhistle and loves to sing. When her parents saw how much Maeve and her younger sister, Gillian, enjoyed traditional music, they enrolled them in music camps, including Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival’s Academy for Kids in Oak Hill, N.Y. Maeve quickly fell in love with the inviting, generous spirit of the traditional music community. “There’s an emphasis on playing together; everybody teaches everybody,” said Maeve, describing lively rooms packed with people playing guitars and fiddles and singing their hearts out. Whereas classical music tends to focus more heavily on technique and accuracy, Maeve said traditional music has more of a “let’s just see what we can do” ethos. Instead of pursuing formal lessons, Maeve sought opportunities to play with others and to perform live, which is how she first discovered Young Tradition Vermont. With more than 30 programs for kids to choose from, the organization’s mission is to bring traditional music and dance to Vermont youth for little to no cost. During sixth and seventh grade, Maeve played in the Fiddleheads, a program that introduces young fiddlers to traditional music and playing with others. In eighth grade, she joined Young Tradition’s Touring Group. She performed around the metro New York/ New Jersey area and even traveled to Scotland, where the group opened for the well-known Scottish quartet Rant. During the trip abroad, Maeve learned everything she could from guest artists, mentors and fellow musicians, and she came home with a long list of songs to add to her growing repertoire of folk and traditional music. Young Tradition’s executive director, Mark Sustic, was struck by Maeve’s passion, talent and maturity from the start. “She is inspiring to be around,” he said, and “able to take on musical challenges of all shapes and sizes with a maturity missing in musicians two, three and four times her age.” In the past several years, Maeve has taken a leadership role with Young Tradition. She taught Fiddle Club to third, fourth and fifth graders at Edmunds Elementary School, played for the Children’s Memorial Service at Ira Allen Chapel, was a youth leader at Young Tradition’s annual summer camp, and was named the inaugural apprentice for Young Tradition’s partnership 14

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

with the Vermont Folklife Center, during which she worked with and learned from mentor Pete Sutherland. Recently, Maeve was also named NAME: MAEVE FAIRFAX Young Tradition’s 2020/2021 artist for AGE: 16 TOWN: BURLINGTON the second annual Youth Commission, in which, according to the organization’s website, a young musician “is charged with creating a small ensemble ... and a program of original compositions and arrangements with mentors/master artists of their choosing.” Though COVID-19 restrictions have made it tough for Maeve’s ensemble to rehearse in person, her versatile group continues to stay connected and hone its repertoire through online rehears-

Maeve (second from right) with fellow ensemble members

als. In spite of a pandemic, Maeve is determined to make the most of her experience as a first-time bandleader. She’s developing a program of music focused on folk songs and learning from the likes of multi-instrumentalist Sutherland, composer/banjoist Moira Smiley and singer Deb Flanders. Eventually, the group plans to hold a virtual concert and hopefully release a CD. As she hones her craft, Maeve says her favorite part of playing music continues to be connecting with fellow musicians. “I love jamming,” she said. “It’s awesome to come together and just see what happens.” Since many traditional tunes aren’t written down, but instead are passed down from generation to generation, Maeve has focused more on developing her ear and learning from others than on sight reading or music theory. “Most of my improvement has come from playing with and watching better musicians,” she said. She takes her passion for music into her learning, as well. As a student in her high school’s Burlington City & Lake Semester program, which uses placebased learning and community partnerships instead

of traditional classrooms, Maeve focused her final inquiry project on music education and the question: How diverse and equitable is the music education in Burlington schools, and how can we make it better? Through interviews with local musicians and educators, she found that while the district has worked hard to create an accessible, inclusive curriculum, there’s still room to grow, especially in bridging barriers such as transportation, money for lessons, and access to a quiet place to practice. Looking ahead, Maeve hopes to share her passion as a music teacher someday. “So many people have helped me and taught me over the years,” she said. “I would love to be a part of sharing that with other people.” No matter what this young musician takes on next, many will be watching with excitement and listening with open ears. “She’s already made a great contribution,” said Sustic, “and I fully expect it’s only the beginning.” K Learn more about Young Tradition Vermont at youngtraditionvermont.org.


2020-21 GOOD CITIZEN AT-HOME CHALLENGE SCORECARD

Eligibility & Guidelines

This winter, take the At-Home Challenge! This pandemic winter has been tough. We’re all spending more

time at home than usual, so Kids VT and Seven Days have collected a wide variety of activities — many from our Good Citizen partners — to keep you occupied. This new Challenge will help you learn more about your state and your country and give you a chance to help others, as well.

How it works:

1 2

Form a team and pick a name. Your team can be just

one person or a whole household or class. It can include both youth and adult members. We encourage adult-child teams! This is a great project to do with your kids, grandkids or students.

Do at least one activity,

and you’ll be eligible for monthly prize drawings. Submit your evidence at goodcitizenvt.com. The more activities you submit, the more chances you have to win! We’ll keep track of entries on the website’s public leaderboard and hold our final prize drawing on February 17 to recognize outstanding work and to give away gift cards and other prizes.

Pass the Citizenship Test. Get 12 answers correct on

3 4

the sample U.S. Citizenship test on the back page of this scorecard or at goodcitizenvt.com. If you don’t pass on the first try, take it until you make it!

Finish four activities (one in each category) and pass

the citizenship test before March 5, 2021, and your team will be eligible for the grand-prize drawing on March 17. The winning team will receive a $500 gift card to a local business of the winner’s choice!

• Participants can submit an entry for every activity done by a member of their team. Activities can be completed as an individual or a group. Each completion counts as an activity submission. If a team of 15 does an activity, there are 15 completions for that activity. • Adults may participate on a team with at least one K-12 student. • Participants may submit multiple activities monthly to be eligible for prizes, but they will only be entered once in the grand-prize drawing. • Only submit photos and comments that can be used online, in print or broadcast by Good Citizen media partners. We’ll use this material to inspire others to be Good Citizens. • Be sure to proofread your work — we’ll highlight outstanding submissions in Kids VT and Seven Days! • All activities must be completed and submitted online — or postmarked — by Friday, March 5, 2021, to be entered in the grand-prize drawing. • We strongly encourage you to submit activities online at goodcitizenvt.com. If you can’t access the internet, mark your work on this scorecard, collect any physical evidence you want to share and mail it to: Good Citizen Challenge Kids VT/Seven Days, 255 S. Champlain St., Suite 5 Burlington VT 05401

Powered by:

Extra credit: The team that completes the most activities during the Challenge will be able to make a $500 donation to a Vermont charity of its choice. In the event of a tie, a winner will be chosen at random from among those tied for the top spot.

More prizes! We’ll give away other prizes along the way, including gift cards to locally owned independent bookstores, publication subscriptions and copies of the comic book This Is What Democracy Looks Like: A Graphic Guide to Governance. Everyone who completes an activity will receive a Good Citizen Challenge sticker.

With support from:

Empowering Vermont’s youth to close the opportunity gap.

Partners in the Good Citizen At-Home Challenge include:

Questions? Contact us at 802-865-1020, ext. 14 or goodcitizen@kidsvt.com.

Find this scorecard and get email updates at goodcitizenvt.com.

CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

15


2020-21 GOOD CITIZEN AT-HOME CHALLENGE SCORECARD

History Learning about history can help us better understand the present and put it in perspective. And knowing how people got through hard times in the past can help us get through the difficulties we’re facing today. 1.

Visit a memorial in your city or town and find out who put it there and why. Do you recognize any of the names on it?

2.

Research the name of your street, your school or a local park. What can you find out about when and how it was named? Does it reference a person? If you can’t find information online, try contacting your local historical society or town offices. You could also have an adult pose the question on your Front Porch Forum.

3.

Draw a portrait of one of these notable Vermonters from history. Research them online first to find out about who they were and what they contributed to Vermont. Reminder: Wikipedia is a good starting place, but always verify the information you find there through other sources, such as libraries, universities, historical societies, etc. Try to incorporate what you’ve learned into your artwork. •

George Aiken (1892-1984)

Alexander Twilight (1795-1857)

Consuelo Northrop Bailey (1899-1976)

James Hartness (1861-1934)

Lucy Terry Prince (1730-1821)

4.

Learn about the biggest natural disaster in state history by listening to “Vermont’s Great Flood,” an episode of the podcast “Before Your Time.” Produced by the Vermont Historical Society and Vermont Humanities, it explains how the flood killed 84 people, devastated the state and was an important turning point. It even inspired Plymouth Notch-born president Calvin Coolidge to deliver his famous speech, “Vermont Is a State I Love,” in which he describes it as a “brave little state.” Find it at beforeyourtime.org. The Abenaki people were here in Vermont long before European colonists arrived. Find out more about their cultural heritage and the struggles they have faced by attending a free virtual event, “We Are Still Here,” part of Vermont Humanities’ First Wednesdays series, on February 3, 2021. Find more information at vermonthumanities.org.

5.

Find more activities at goodcitizenvt.com! 6.

Test your knowledge of Vermont by playing Virtual Vermont Trivia. The Vermont Historical Society hosts these free, all-ages competitions on Zoom on Wednesday nights in January. Each night focuses on a different theme: Geography and Place Names, Famous Vermonters, People and Customs, and Vermont Miscellany. A championship on February 3 requires an entry fee — and includes prizes. Find more information at vermonthistory.org/calendar. Send in a Good Citizen entry each time you play.

7.

Help document the history of the coronavirus pandemic by contributing your own photographs, stories, poems and videos to the Vermont Historical Society’s COVID-19 Archive. On its website, the VHS asks, “What’s different in your community — empty streets and empty shelves, signs and restrictions, people talking to each other across the street? What’s different in your own home — new routines, new office setups, new hobbies?” Find more information and a form explaining how to contribute at covid-19.digitalvermont.org. Send in a Good Citizen entry for each contribution you make.

Want to win prizes? Complete activities and submit evidence online at goodcitizenvt.com.

Government Democracy is not a spectator sport! For it to work, you have to get off the sidelines and take action. Here are some activities that will help you understand how our government of the people, by the people and for the people actually works — and how you can participate in it.

1.

16

Much of local and state government has moved online during the pandemic. Find out how you can watch your city council or school board meeting online and join the meeting. If you can’t view the meeting while it’s happening, watch one on TV or online via your local cable access channel. Don’t know when these happen? Look on your city website, call the town offices or have an adult post a question about it on your local Front Porch Forum.

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

2.

Stream the 2020 documentary Boys State (rated PG-13). Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for a documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the movie follows 1,000 teenage boys as they attempt to form a government during a weeklong summer camp in Austin, Texas. Available on Apple TV+.

3.

Find out how you can use your local library during the pandemic. What resources are available? Check out an item or attend a remote class or event. Be sure to return any items you borrow on time.

4.

In October, Vermont Public Radio’s “But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids” released an episode answering questions about the election. Listen to this episode, called “Why Can’t Kids Vote?” Find it at butwhykids.org.


Community Service Vermont’s state motto is “Freedom and Unity.” In other words, while we prize our independence, we also recognize the importance of working together and looking out for one another. These activities will help you help others. That will make you feel good, too! 1.

Shovel snow for a neighbor. Don’t know who needs help? Have an adult pose a question to your Front Porch Forum to find out.

2.

Make a card or mail a care package to an elderly person you know — or, with an adult’s help, find elderly Vermonters you don’t know who might appreciate a card. COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for people over 65, so many of them have been isolating themselves over the past few months. This winter is a great time to remind them that they haven’t been forgotten.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Conduct a socially distanced donation drive for your local food shelf. Invite your family, friends and neighbors to contribute. If you want to broaden your reach, have an adult promote it on your Front Porch Forum. Learn to make cloth face masks and donate masks to people who need them. Send in a Good Citizen entry each time you donate masks. Masks must be made by students or by a student-adult pair. Find a mask-making tutorial at kidsvt.com/ make-masks. Listen to or read Willem Lange’s Favor Johnson: A Christmas Story. This tale — about a Vermont farmer, his dog and a flatlander doctor — shows the ripple effects of a good deed. Find a recording of the story, which is broadcast every December on VPR, at vpr.org.

Read This Is What Democracy Looks Like: A Graphic Guide to Governance, a comic book about democracy produced by the Center for Cartoon Studies, based in White River Junction. Download it at cartoonstudies.org/cartooningprojects/ democracy. “Gerrymandering” is the practice of drawing congressional districts in a way that favors one political party over another. Learn how this practice affects elections by playing GerryMander: A Voting District Puzzle Game by Vermontbased GameTheory. Find the game at gametheorytest.com/gerry.

7.

7.

Write a thank-you note to an essential worker who has helped you or your family during the pandemic. Send in a Good Citizen submission for each note you send.

8.

Make a brightly colored sign to put in your yard or your window to cheer up passersby.

9.

Paint a rock with a message of hope and leave it outside for someone else to find.

10.

Organize a fundraiser or donation drive with someone who disagrees with you politically, or bring two opposing sides together to do something positive that benefits the community. Be creative! Show that Vermonters can work together for the public good.

Vermont is one of several states that has a part-time legislature. In a typical year, the Vermont House of Representatives and the Vermont Senate meet at the Statehouse in Montpelier from January until May or early June. How does this schedule affect who is able to serve in the Vermont legislature? Find out by listening to “Low Pay, Weird Schedule: Who Exactly Can Pull Off the Legislator Lifestyle?” an episode of VPR’s podcast “Brave Little State,” available at bravelittlestate.org.

Being a Good Citizen means keeping up with current events and seeking out responsible, fact-based local journalism. As our lives increasingly move online, being a Good Citizen also means understanding how the technology platforms we use every day influence the information we see and our reactions to it — and the information that others have about us. 1.

Tune in to one of the governor’s twice-weekly press conferences about COVID-19 on VPR. Pay attention to how the governor and other state officials explain what’s going on, and how the reporters ask them to clarify and expand on the topics. Send in an entry every time you listen. Find more information about how to listen at vpr.org/term/coronavirus. You can find all of the press conferences archived at the ORCA Media YouTube channel.

2.

Journalism isn’t just about reporting facts; it’s also about telling a compelling story. After an outbreak of the coronavirus killed 21 residents at Birchwood Terrace Rehab and Healthcare, Seven Days reporters Derek Brouwer and Colin Flanders reconstructed how it happened. Read their story, “It’s in the Building: How COVID-19 Overwhelmed a Burlington Nursing Home,” from the June 3, 2020, issue. Find it at sevendaysvt.com. Did it give you a better understanding of the pandemic and its effect on nursing home residents and staff? If so, how?

3.

How do journalists interview and draw out their subjects? How are they doing their jobs in this difficult time? Erica Heilman, host and producer of the podcast “Rumble Strip,” which airs on VPR, will tackle these questions and more during her free virtual talk, “Making Rumble Strip in My Closet,” on Wednesday, January 6. Attend or watch a recording of the event, which is part of Vermont Humanities’ First Wednesdays series. Find more information at vermonthumanities.org. Find out more about the podcast at rumblestripvermont.com. NEWS LITERACY CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

2020-21 GOOD CITIZEN AT-HOME CHALLENGE SCORECARD

5.

Green Up Day is a Vermont tradition. On the first Saturday in May, thousands of volunteers help pick up trash along the state’s roadways. Green Up Day 2021 will take place on Saturday, May 1. Help inspire people to participate by entering the Green Up Day Poster Art and Writing Contests. Art submissions must be received by February 1. Poem and essay submissions are due on March 1. This year, Green Up Day added a contest for a 60-second video and a jingle. Those are due on April 1. Contests are open to all K-12 students, and you can enter them all if you’d like. Winners receive prizes. Find details at kidsvt.com/green-up-daycontests. Send in a Good Citizen submission for each contest you enter.

6.

News Literacy

17


News Literacy (CONTINUED)

Watch the 1999 documentary The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (not rated), which recalls the pioneering — and largely forgotten — efforts of Black journalists who chronicled Black lives prior to the civil rights movement. Available for rent on Vimeo.

An adult who wasn’t born a U.S. citizen and wants to become one must first get 12 correct answers on a 20-question civics test. Applicants study the answers to 128 possible test questions, not knowing which of those will appear on the test. Find all of the questions at uscis.gov/citizenship/2020test. You can also take the test at goodcitizenvt.com.

Get 12 correct answers to be eligible for Challenge prizes! 1.

____ What is the supreme law of the land?

2. ____ What amendment gives citizenship to all persons born in the United States? 3. ____ What U.S. war ended slavery? 4. ____ What is the name of the national anthem? 5. ____ Name the three branches of government. 6. ____ What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?

Watch the documentary-drama hybrid The Social Dilemma (PG-13). This 2020 film explores how social media platforms manipulate users’ emotions. It includes numerous interviews with some of the people who created these tools who are now alarmed by the effect their creations are having on society. Available on Netflix.

7.

Get a copy of your community newspaper in print or visit its website. Read five stories. Do you recognize any people you know? Find a list of Vermont’s 10 daily and three dozen nondaily newspapers at the Vermont Press Association website, vtpress.org.

8.

Make your own newsletter for your family, neighborhood or school. What stories would be important to tell? How would you document this pandemic winter? What kinds of information do you and your readers need today? Interview people you see every day about what they’re doing differently this winter. Be sure to check your facts before you publish them.

7.

____ How many voting members are in the House of Representatives?

8. ____ What does the president’s Cabinet do? 9. ____ The president is in charge of which branch of government? 10. ____ How many amendments does the U.S. Constitution have? 11. ____ Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 12. ____ What founding document was written in 1787? 13. ____ What territory did the U.S. buy from France in 1803? 14. ____ Why does the U.S. flag have 13 stripes? 15. ____ What is Memorial Day? 16. ____ Who was president during the Great Depression and World War II? 17. ____ Why did the U.S. enter the Persian Gulf War? 18. ____ James Madison is famous for many things. Name one. 19. ____ The president of the United States is elected for how many years? 20. ____ What is the capital of the United States?

Answers:

6.

Watch the 2020 documentary Coded Bias (not rated), which reveals widespread discrimination in artificial intelligence. Common Sense Media labels it as appropriate for ages 11 and up. Find information about virtual screenings at codedbias.com.

1. U.S. Constitution; 2. 14th; 3. the Civil War; 4. the Star-Spangled Banner; 5. legislative, executive and judicial or Congress, president and the courts; 6. the Senate and the House of Representatives; 7. 435; 8. advises the president; 9. executive; 10. 27; 11. Thomas Jefferson; 12. the U.S. constitution; 13. the Louisiana territory/Louisiana; 14. to represent the 13 original colonies; 15. a holiday to honor soldiers who died in military service; 16. Franklin D. Roosevelt; 17. to force the Iraqi military from Kuwait; 18. “Father of the Constitution,” fourth president of the United States, president during the war of 1812, one of the writers of the Federalist Papers; 19. 4; 20. Washington, D.C.

5.

ENTRY FORM

Local Resources

Team Name: __________________________________

This is how we’ll keep track of your entries during the Challenge. •

Team Member Names: __________________________

_____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ Hometown: ___________________________________ This is the Vermont city or town where you live, or where most of your team lives.

CONTACT INFO

• • •

Podcasts •

This is how we will contact you to send you a sticker and to let you know if you won a prize.

Address/town/zip: _____________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________ Email: _______________________________________ Phone: _______________________________________

Find this scorecard and sign up for email updates at goodcitizenvt.com. 18

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

We strongly encourage you to submit activities at goodcitizenvt.com. If you can’t access the internet, mark your work on this scorecard and mail it to: Good Citizen Challenge, Kids VT/Seven Days, 255 S. Champlain St., Suite 5, Burlington, VT 05401.

Front Porch Forum, frontporchforum.com Green Up Day, greenupvermont.org Seven Days, sevendaysvt.com Vermont Historical Society, vermonthistory.org Vermont Humanities, vermonthumanities.org VPR, vpr.org Vermont Press Association, vtpress.org

“Before Your Time,” beforeyourtime.org “Brave Little State,” bravelittlestate.org “Buy Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids,” butwhykids.org “Rumble Strip: Good Conversation That Takes Its Time,” rumblestripvermont.com

Films • • • •

The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords Boys State Coded Bias The Social Dilemma

2020-21 GOOD CITIZEN AT-HOME CHALLENGE SCORECARD

4.

U.S. Citizenship Civics Test


2020-21 GOOD CITIZEN AT-HOME CHALLENGE SCORECARD

History Learning about history can help us better understand the present and put it in perspective. And knowing how people got through hard times in the past can help us get through the difficulties we’re facing today. 1.

Visit a memorial in your city or town and find out who put it there and why. Do you recognize any of the names on it?

2.

Research the name of your street, your school or a local park. What can you find out about when and how it was named? Does it reference a person? If you can’t find information online, try contacting your local historical society or town offices. You could also have an adult pose the question on your Front Porch Forum.

3.

Draw a portrait of one of these notable Vermonters from history. Research them online first to find out about who they were and what they contributed to Vermont. Reminder: Wikipedia is a good starting place, but always verify the information you find there through other sources, such as libraries, universities, historical societies, etc. Try to incorporate what you’ve learned into your artwork. •

George Aiken (1892-1984)

Alexander Twilight (1795-1857)

Consuelo Northrop Bailey (1899-1976)

James Hartness (1861-1934)

Lucy Terry Prince (1730-1821)

4.

Learn about the biggest natural disaster in state history by listening to “Vermont’s Great Flood,” an episode of the podcast “Before Your Time.” Produced by the Vermont Historical Society and Vermont Humanities, it explains how the flood killed 84 people, devastated the state and was an important turning point. It even inspired Plymouth Notch-born president Calvin Coolidge to deliver his famous speech, “Vermont Is a State I Love,” in which he describes it as a “brave little state.” Find it at beforeyourtime.org. The Abenaki people were here in Vermont long before European colonists arrived. Find out more about their cultural heritage and the struggles they have faced by attending a free virtual event, “We Are Still Here,” part of Vermont Humanities’ First Wednesdays series, on February 3, 2021. Find more information at vermonthumanities.org.

5.

Find more activities at goodcitizenvt.com! 6.

Test your knowledge of Vermont by playing Virtual Vermont Trivia. The Vermont Historical Society hosts these free, all-ages competitions on Zoom on Wednesday nights in January. Each night focuses on a different theme: Geography and Place Names, Famous Vermonters, People and Customs, and Vermont Miscellany. A championship on February 3 requires an entry fee — and includes prizes. Find more information at vermonthistory.org/calendar. Send in a Good Citizen entry each time you play.

7.

Help document the history of the coronavirus pandemic by contributing your own photographs, stories, poems and videos to the Vermont Historical Society’s COVID-19 Archive. On its website, the VHS asks, “What’s different in your community — empty streets and empty shelves, signs and restrictions, people talking to each other across the street? What’s different in your own home — new routines, new office setups, new hobbies?” Find more information and a form explaining how to contribute at covid-19.digitalvermont.org. Send in a Good Citizen entry for each contribution you make.

Want to win prizes? Complete activities and submit evidence online at goodcitizenvt.com.

Government Democracy is not a spectator sport! For it to work, you have to get off the sidelines and take action. Here are some activities that will help you understand how our government of the people, by the people and for the people actually works — and how you can participate in it.

1.

16

Much of local and state government has moved online during the pandemic. Find out how you can watch your city council or school board meeting online and join the meeting. If you can’t view the meeting while it’s happening, watch one on TV or online via your local cable access channel. Don’t know when these happen? Look on your city website, call the town offices or have an adult post a question about it on your local Front Porch Forum.

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

2.

Stream the 2020 documentary Boys State (rated PG-13). Winner of the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for a documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the movie follows 1,000 teenage boys as they attempt to form a government during a weeklong summer camp in Austin, Texas. Available on Apple TV+.

3.

Find out how you can use your local library during the pandemic. What resources are available? Check out an item or attend a remote class or event. Be sure to return any items you borrow on time.

4.

In October, Vermont Public Radio’s “But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids” released an episode answering questions about the election. Listen to this episode, called “Why Can’t Kids Vote?” Find it at butwhykids.org.


Community Service Vermont’s state motto is “Freedom and Unity.” In other words, while we prize our independence, we also recognize the importance of working together and looking out for one another. These activities will help you help others. That will make you feel good, too! 1.

Shovel snow for a neighbor. Don’t know who needs help? Have an adult pose a question to your Front Porch Forum to find out.

2.

Make a card or mail a care package to an elderly person you know — or, with an adult’s help, find elderly Vermonters you don’t know who might appreciate a card. COVID-19 is particularly dangerous for people over 65, so many of them have been isolating themselves over the past few months. This winter is a great time to remind them that they haven’t been forgotten.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Conduct a socially distanced donation drive for your local food shelf. Invite your family, friends and neighbors to contribute. If you want to broaden your reach, have an adult promote it on your Front Porch Forum. Learn to make cloth face masks and donate masks to people who need them. Send in a Good Citizen entry each time you donate masks. Masks must be made by students or by a student-adult pair. Find a mask-making tutorial at kidsvt.com/ make-masks. Listen to or read Willem Lange’s Favor Johnson: A Christmas Story. This tale — about a Vermont farmer, his dog and a flatlander doctor — shows the ripple effects of a good deed. Find a recording of the story, which is broadcast every December on VPR, at vpr.org.

Read This Is What Democracy Looks Like: A Graphic Guide to Governance, a comic book about democracy produced by the Center for Cartoon Studies, based in White River Junction. Download it at cartoonstudies.org/cartooningprojects/ democracy. “Gerrymandering” is the practice of drawing congressional districts in a way that favors one political party over another. Learn how this practice affects elections by playing GerryMander: A Voting District Puzzle Game by Vermontbased GameTheory. Find the game at gametheorytest.com/gerry.

7.

7.

Write a thank-you note to an essential worker who has helped you or your family during the pandemic. Send in a Good Citizen submission for each note you send.

8.

Make a brightly colored sign to put in your yard or your window to cheer up passersby.

9.

Paint a rock with a message of hope and leave it outside for someone else to find.

10.

Organize a fundraiser or donation drive with someone who disagrees with you politically, or bring two opposing sides together to do something positive that benefits the community. Be creative! Show that Vermonters can work together for the public good.

Vermont is one of several states that has a part-time legislature. In a typical year, the Vermont House of Representatives and the Vermont Senate meet at the Statehouse in Montpelier from January until May or early June. How does this schedule affect who is able to serve in the Vermont legislature? Find out by listening to “Low Pay, Weird Schedule: Who Exactly Can Pull Off the Legislator Lifestyle?” an episode of VPR’s podcast “Brave Little State,” available at bravelittlestate.org.

Being a Good Citizen means keeping up with current events and seeking out responsible, fact-based local journalism. As our lives increasingly move online, being a Good Citizen also means understanding how the technology platforms we use every day influence the information we see and our reactions to it — and the information that others have about us. 1.

Tune in to one of the governor’s twice-weekly press conferences about COVID-19 on VPR. Pay attention to how the governor and other state officials explain what’s going on, and how the reporters ask them to clarify and expand on the topics. Send in an entry every time you listen. Find more information about how to listen at vpr.org/term/coronavirus. You can find all of the press conferences archived at the ORCA Media YouTube channel.

2.

Journalism isn’t just about reporting facts; it’s also about telling a compelling story. After an outbreak of the coronavirus killed 21 residents at Birchwood Terrace Rehab and Healthcare, Seven Days reporters Derek Brouwer and Colin Flanders reconstructed how it happened. Read their story, “It’s in the Building: How COVID-19 Overwhelmed a Burlington Nursing Home,” from the June 3, 2020, issue. Find it at sevendaysvt.com. Did it give you a better understanding of the pandemic and its effect on nursing home residents and staff? If so, how?

3.

How do journalists interview and draw out their subjects? How are they doing their jobs in this difficult time? Erica Heilman, host and producer of the podcast “Rumble Strip,” which airs on VPR, will tackle these questions and more during her free virtual talk, “Making Rumble Strip in My Closet,” on Wednesday, January 6. Attend or watch a recording of the event, which is part of Vermont Humanities’ First Wednesdays series. Find more information at vermonthumanities.org. Find out more about the podcast at rumblestripvermont.com. NEWS LITERACY CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

2020-21 GOOD CITIZEN AT-HOME CHALLENGE SCORECARD

5.

Green Up Day is a Vermont tradition. On the first Saturday in May, thousands of volunteers help pick up trash along the state’s roadways. Green Up Day 2021 will take place on Saturday, May 1. Help inspire people to participate by entering the Green Up Day Poster Art and Writing Contests. Art submissions must be received by February 1. Poem and essay submissions are due on March 1. This year, Green Up Day added a contest for a 60-second video and a jingle. Those are due on April 1. Contests are open to all K-12 students, and you can enter them all if you’d like. Winners receive prizes. Find details at kidsvt.com/green-up-daycontests. Send in a Good Citizen submission for each contest you enter.

6.

News Literacy

17


News Literacy (CONTINUED)

Watch the 1999 documentary The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (not rated), which recalls the pioneering — and largely forgotten — efforts of Black journalists who chronicled Black lives prior to the civil rights movement. Available for rent on Vimeo.

An adult who wasn’t born a U.S. citizen and wants to become one must first get 12 correct answers on a 20-question civics test. Applicants study the answers to 128 possible test questions, not knowing which of those will appear on the test. Find all of the questions at uscis.gov/citizenship/2020test. You can also take the test at goodcitizenvt.com.

Get 12 correct answers to be eligible for Challenge prizes! 1.

____ What is the supreme law of the land?

2. ____ What amendment gives citizenship to all persons born in the United States? 3. ____ What U.S. war ended slavery? 4. ____ What is the name of the national anthem? 5. ____ Name the three branches of government. 6. ____ What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?

Watch the documentary-drama hybrid The Social Dilemma (PG-13). This 2020 film explores how social media platforms manipulate users’ emotions. It includes numerous interviews with some of the people who created these tools who are now alarmed by the effect their creations are having on society. Available on Netflix.

7.

Get a copy of your community newspaper in print or visit its website. Read five stories. Do you recognize any people you know? Find a list of Vermont’s 10 daily and three dozen nondaily newspapers at the Vermont Press Association website, vtpress.org.

8.

Make your own newsletter for your family, neighborhood or school. What stories would be important to tell? How would you document this pandemic winter? What kinds of information do you and your readers need today? Interview people you see every day about what they’re doing differently this winter. Be sure to check your facts before you publish them.

7.

____ How many voting members are in the House of Representatives?

8. ____ What does the president’s Cabinet do? 9. ____ The president is in charge of which branch of government? 10. ____ How many amendments does the U.S. Constitution have? 11. ____ Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 12. ____ What founding document was written in 1787? 13. ____ What territory did the U.S. buy from France in 1803? 14. ____ Why does the U.S. flag have 13 stripes? 15. ____ What is Memorial Day? 16. ____ Who was president during the Great Depression and World War II? 17. ____ Why did the U.S. enter the Persian Gulf War? 18. ____ James Madison is famous for many things. Name one. 19. ____ The president of the United States is elected for how many years? 20. ____ What is the capital of the United States?

Answers:

6.

Watch the 2020 documentary Coded Bias (not rated), which reveals widespread discrimination in artificial intelligence. Common Sense Media labels it as appropriate for ages 11 and up. Find information about virtual screenings at codedbias.com.

1. U.S. Constitution; 2. 14th; 3. the Civil War; 4. the Star-Spangled Banner; 5. legislative, executive and judicial or Congress, president and the courts; 6. the Senate and the House of Representatives; 7. 435; 8. advises the president; 9. executive; 10. 27; 11. Thomas Jefferson; 12. the U.S. constitution; 13. the Louisiana territory/Louisiana; 14. to represent the 13 original colonies; 15. a holiday to honor soldiers who died in military service; 16. Franklin D. Roosevelt; 17. to force the Iraqi military from Kuwait; 18. “Father of the Constitution,” fourth president of the United States, president during the war of 1812, one of the writers of the Federalist Papers; 19. 4; 20. Washington, D.C.

5.

ENTRY FORM

Local Resources

Team Name: __________________________________

This is how we’ll keep track of your entries during the Challenge. •

Team Member Names: __________________________

_____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ Hometown: ___________________________________ This is the Vermont city or town where you live, or where most of your team lives.

CONTACT INFO

• • •

Podcasts •

This is how we will contact you to send you a sticker and to let you know if you won a prize.

Address/town/zip: _____________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________ Email: _______________________________________ Phone: _______________________________________

Find this scorecard and sign up for email updates at goodcitizenvt.com. 18

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

We strongly encourage you to submit activities at goodcitizenvt.com. If you can’t access the internet, mark your work on this scorecard and mail it to: Good Citizen Challenge, Kids VT/Seven Days, 255 S. Champlain St., Suite 5, Burlington, VT 05401.

Front Porch Forum, frontporchforum.com Green Up Day, greenupvermont.org Seven Days, sevendaysvt.com Vermont Historical Society, vermonthistory.org Vermont Humanities, vermonthumanities.org VPR, vpr.org Vermont Press Association, vtpress.org

“Before Your Time,” beforeyourtime.org “Brave Little State,” bravelittlestate.org “Buy Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids,” butwhykids.org “Rumble Strip: Good Conversation That Takes Its Time,” rumblestripvermont.com

Films • • • •

The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords Boys State Coded Bias The Social Dilemma

2020-21 GOOD CITIZEN AT-HOME CHALLENGE SCORECARD

4.

U.S. Citizenship Civics Test


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19

1/26/21 4:25 PM


Gail Marlene Schwartz (left) and Lucie Gagnon

A Cross-Cultural Pandemic Tale Two mothers collaborate on a chapter book for early readers

W

hen the U.S.-Canada border closed last March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Burlington writer Gail Marlene Schwartz had to make a quick decision. Schwartz’s former wife, Lucie Gagnon, and their 10-year-old son were living across the border in Québec. Determined not to be separated from her son for a prolonged period of time, Schwartz, who is a dual citizen, gave up her life in Vermont and settled with Gagnon and their son in the border town of Saint-Armand, where the couple jointly owns a chalet. Fortunately, Schwartz and Gagnon — a retired library technician — had maintained a good relationship. Although the two had collaborated in the past to make videos, cards and gifts for family and friends, they had never professionally worked together. However, last spring they cowrote a short children’s chapter book, Clementine in Quarantine, illustrated by Joannie Laroche. The book also appears in French as Clémence au temps du coronavirus. Released in September 2020, the book features 11-year-old Clementine, who lives with her single mom. As a result of

20

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

the pandemic, Clementine’s mother loses her job at a makeup counter. Clementine also misses her grandmother, who used to spend time with her after school. The story, written for emerging chapter book readers, showcases the creativity of Clementine’s family as they navigate new ways to stay connected. Now living in Montréal, Schwartz shared part of her personal story with Kids VT.  Kids VT: The pandemic has been difficult for everyone. How did it uniquely affect your family? Gail Marlene Schwartz: It was a shock when COVID hit and I learned that the border would be closing. We made the decision very fast, in 24 hours. My son does not have an American passport, and there was no way I wanted to risk an extended separation [from] him, which would have been the case had I not left. Nobody at that point thought it would be long-term, but once I read an article coming out of the Imperial College in London, I knew a vaccine could be a year and a half out, so I predicted it would be months, if not years.

So, as painful as it was to leave Vermont, I knew right away that it was necessary. And as homesick as I’ve been, I know it was the right thing to be where my son is and to continue parenting him. KVT: Could you share a little about your publisher? GMS: Facile à lire is a small independent publisher run by Noémi Berlus, whom I know from homeschooling, and her partner Christian Roy. It was founded in 2003 with the goal of helping children learn to read. Their books are geared toward children who struggle with reading, and their desire is to create books that kids are excited to read, because so many of the “Dick and Jane” type of books in French are boring (according to the kids). It was also important to them that the characters be diverse, an important shared value — and, finally, they invited us to make promotional videos and get creative with it, which was great fun. KVT: How did the book come to be published in French? GMS: When Noémi asked about me writing this book for Facile à lire, and she

said they would need to translate it into French, I immediately thought that perhaps Lucie and I could do it together. And because each of us was writing first drafts of chapters in our mother tongues (she in French and me in English), the process was pretty wild and super interesting. We would swap draft chapters and translate and, in that process, find little nuggets that helped evolve the whole story, things we would not have discovered if we had been writing in one language. This is why we say that neither the French nor English versions are translations. KVT: What’s it like raising a bilingual child? GMS: Something I’ve enjoyed about living [in Canada] is that most people have at least two languages … but many, especially the younger immigrant kids, have three, four or even five. Having the capacity to move in and out of two languages gives you an early experience of moving between cultures that I think is fabulous.  For more information about Schwartz and Gagnon, visit lugalit.com/en.

COURTESY OF GAIL MARLENE SCHWARTZ

BOOKWORMS BY BR E T T ANN S TANCI U


ART LESSONS B Y E M I LY J A COBS

The Object of Your Affection Show your love with a sentimental still life ARTWORK COURTESY OF EMILY JACOBS

A

s Valentine’s Day approaches, perhaps you’re looking for a way to show a loved one just how much you treasure them. One way to convey your feelings is to gather together some of their treasures and arrange them as the subject of your own still life. A still life is a work of art in which the subject is still, unmoving and inanimate. Such artwork can contain mundane, arbitrary objects, but an artist can also infuse a still life with special meaning — even love — by selecting the objects with care and attention. By choosing objects of sentimental significance, or ones that represent important memories, an artist can create a still life that calls to mind special moments, places and interests. If you are a young artist seeking to create a personalized gift for someone you love, perhaps a still life drawing or painting is the way to go! If your valentine loves to cook, you could include spices and utensils in your still life. For an avid reader, you might include a stack of their favorite books. For a gardener, perhaps flowers and gardening gloves.

Dani, age 12

Sereen, age 12

Maddie, age 12

Still life by Ellie, age 11

Consider selecting objects that represent memories you have shared — shells you collected together during a day at the beach, a snow globe or mug bought on a special trip, or some other beloved travel souvenir. Finally, if you’re feeling clever, you might even hide a coded message within your still life. You can use symbolism to

communicate a loving message through the objects in the image you create! To show that your love blooms eternal, you might include candy hearts to represent “love” and a flower to mean

“blooms,” along with an hourglass representing “for eternity.” The possibilities are endless when it comes to symbolism in art — and to communicating your affection. K

GETTING STARTED Materials needed: Pencil, drawing paper Optional additional materials: Colored pencils, specialized drawing pencils in a range of values (from very light 2H to a bold, dark 6B), watercolor paint

STILL LIFE STEPS 1.

Choose your objects. Look for objects that:

• • • •

have special meaning to your loved one represent shared memories represent your loved one’s interests and personality communicate a hidden message through symbolism

2.

3.

Do not space the objects too far apart, or your artwork may not look cohesive. Place the objects close together, maybe even with some leaning on or placed on top of one another.

NOW YOU HAVE A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT CHOICES... A) Draw from life •

Look closely at the arrangement of objects. Lightly

Once you have drawn the outlines of your objects, add details. Notice any special features or textures on the objects, and do your best to draw them. Now, color or shade in your drawing. You can shade in graphite, keeping your drawing “black and white” in tones of gray (this is called grayscale), or you can add color using colored pencils or watercolor paint. Pro tip: As you add color or shade in your picture, notice how light hits the objects or casts shadows. Try to show the light and shadow by shading darker for the shadows and leaving lighter spaces where you see highlights on the objects.

Arrange the objects in an interesting way on a flat surface (a table, chair or open space on the floor) Pro tip: Choose a spot near a window and create your still life in daylight. Natural sunlight is best for still life drawing.

tape your drawing paper over the image. You should be able to see the major outlines of the objects through the paper if the sunlight is shining through. Very lightly, trace the major outlines of each object.

draw their outlines. Notice which objects are in front and which are behind, as well as the size of each object in relation to the others.

Once you have traced all major outlines, carefully un-tape both papers from the window.

Looking closely at each individual object in the photograph, add the details of each object to your own drawing. It may also help to lightly outline any shadows you see.

Once you have carefully outlined every detail, add value (shades from dark to light) or color to complete your picture. Pro tip: Don’t forget to color and shade all of the shadows you see, as well as the different shades of color on an object caused by the way light hits different parts of it. Create different values or different shades of color on an object by pressing harder on your pencil to darken the shade, and lighter for lighter areas. If any highlights are so bright they appear white, leave them white. Shade it how you see it.

B) Draw from a photograph •

Digitally photograph your arrangement of objects. (I use my smartphone!)

Print your image. If you plan to keep your still life drawing black and white, using only graphite, print the image in black and white. If you plan to use color, print it in color so you can use the photo to match each shade.

You can now choose to draw from the photograph just by looking at it or save some time by tracing the major outlines of the objects. To trace the image outlines, tape your printed image to a window. This must be done in daylight. Then,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES •

tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/s/still-life

art-is-fun.com/still-life-paintings

artyfactory.com/still-life/still_life_pencil.html KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

21


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The Kids VT team is rounding up resources for parents looking to entertain and educate their children at home. Find inspiration in the Wee-Mail newsletter.

Subscribe at kidsvt.com 6h-WEEMail1120.indd 1

1/29/21 11:52 AM

CAMP ABNAKI We’re excited for summer . . . join us!

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CAT CUTILLO

Watch a vide o featuring San ti Fernandez at kidsvt.com an d on WCAX-T V

Santi Fernandez A ski instructor on teaching a sport he loves BY CAT CUTILLO

T

wenty-year-old Santiago “Santi” Fernandez has been working as a ski instructor at the Middlebury Snow Bowl since he was 15. The Weybridge native graduated from Vermont Technical College last May with a degree in landscape design, with plans to continue teaching the sport he loves for years to come at the Snow Bowl, which he calls his home away from home. Fernandez started skiing in his backyard at age 4. By 5, he was following his father’s tracks at the Snow Bowl. It’s a bit ironic, he said, that he’s now teaching others to ski, since he’s never taken a formal lesson. “I didn’t understand the ropes of ski instructing at all before I walked into it,” he said.

ON HIS PASSION FOR SKIING: Skiing has been everything for me. I shaped my life around it. I decided to be a part-time seasonal worker that works landscaping in the summers and skiing in the winters, because all I want to do is ski. It is the ultimate relaxation and stress relief.

WHAT HE’S LEARNED FROM TEACHING: Initially I thought, I can make money while I ski. [But] I realized it wasn’t really about the money with ski instructing, but more about the relationships and teaching something I love. We have a saying in the instructors’ room: “To teach is to learn twice.” I had to go back to that foundation and learn from scratch, essentially. I had

Santiago “Santi” Fernandez

to be a beginner again, and that was eye-opening. My 15-year-old attitude had to go out the window because I had to start dealing with 5- and 6-year-olds who really don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s taught me. I enjoy it just as much as the kids enjoy it.

ON THE TRICKS OF THE TRADE: Every kid is different, and that’s what I love — getting to know students and dissecting where they have weaknesses and where they have strengths. Sometimes you’re putting kids on snow for the first time. Sometimes you’re putting kids in a group for the first time. You’re opening their eyes. There’s so much to unpack when you’re bringing them up to a mountain that looks so steep and so tall and trying to bring their fear level down. Some kids are afraid of heights, and so the chairlift can be especially difficult. You’ve really got to connect with your student. If somebody is a musician, they might work on rhythm a little bit better, so you can talk about their feet working in synchronicity. Or if they like playing certain sports, you can implement different movements. Getting to know your student is crucial. If you can build trust with your student, the fear drops right away, and you can get them to do pretty much anything.

THE BRIGHT SIDE OF TEACHING DURING COVID-19: We can’t be within six feet of [students], so those independent struggles that they have to go through happen a lot quicker. When a student falls, it can be tough to teach them how to get back up. But, ultimately, these challenges that kids are going through are only going to help them. If they can get up by themselves quicker and understand it easier down the road, then they’re going to have no problem. Once they get it at a beginner stage, they’re going to have that for the rest of their skiing life.

ON WHAT MAKES THE MIDDLEBURY SNOW BOWL SPECIAL: You can come up to the Snow Bowl and have your parents drop you off in the parking lot at 7 years old and ski with your friends the whole day for Snow School lessons or with the Middlebury Ski Club. You can have that independence up here and explore all these trails with your friends. It’s a really unique place. I think the ski industry can be a little bit intimidating, but here it is more of a family environment that is very open to beginners and young families.  Visit middleburysnowbowl.com to learn more. KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

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Vermont’s

News Literacy #7

Lead the Way

“We found our kindergarten teacher and an old classmate in the Bridge! My friend’s mom wrote the comic!”

Good Citizens Learning about history, keeping up with the news, helping out their neighbors: Dozens of students across Vermont are doing all of these things this winter as part of the Good Citizen At-Home Challenge. At a time when the country is deeply divided by politics, these young people are focusing on the American values we all share —

and inspiring us in the process! Participants can choose from more than 40 activities in History, Government, Community Service and News Literacy. Find out more on the scorecard on page 15, or at goodcitizenvt.com.

Read five stories in your community newspaper.

Pierce’s Peeps, MONTPELIER

Community Service #7

Here are some of our favorite entries so far:

Write a thank-you note to an essential worker who has helped you or your family during the pandemic.

“I learned that it doesn’t take a lot of time to be kind to others. I know my thank you notes will make those people smile through the tough times!”

“I shoveled part of my neighbor’s driveway and then I sanded it so it didn’t become clear ice.”

Ethan Bishop, CLARENDON

member of SACS Team USA, ST. ALBANS

Community Service #1 Shovel snow for a neighbor.

“I shoveled the walkway at school to help the 8th graders.” member of SACS Team USA,

“I shoveled snow for an elderly neighbor. I cleaned off her front porch and shoveled her walkway. She lives by herself and I will continue to check on her over the winter.” Leo Circosta,

ST. ALBANS

GREENSBORO

Congratulations to the winners of our January prize drawing: Pierce’s Peeps, who won a $50 gift card to Bear Pond Books; 5th Grade Mary Hogan, who won a $50 gift card to the Vermont Bookshop; and The Artists, who won a one-year print subscription to The Week Jr.! Submit activities

today to be eligible for the

History #3 Draw a portrait of one of these notable Vermonters from history. Research them online first to find out about who they were and what they contributed to Vermont. Try to incorporate what you’ve learned into your artwork.

“I learned about Lucy Terry Prince and the history of her life as well as the importance of her poems and writings.” Natalie Lyon,

SOUTH BURLINGTON

Louis and Audrey Barnard, NORTHFIELD

next drawing on February 17. Powered by:

“We learned that George Aiken was a Vermont Governor and he was in the House of Representatives.” (He was also a horticulturalist.)

With support from:

Partners in the Good Citizen At-Home Challenge include:

Empowering Vermont’s youth to close the opportunity gap.

Find more activities and take the Challenge at goodcitizenvt.com. KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

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CALENDAR

FEBRUARY

10 Cool Things to Do ATTEND Kids VT’s 26th annual Camp & School Fair.

EXPLORE a new trail.

READ ALOUD a Vermont-grown story.

Strap on some spikes or snowshoes and take a snowy winter hike. Great options for younger children include Sucker Brook Hollow Trail in Williston, Mount Tom in Woodstock, Wheeler Pond Trail in Barton and Robert Frost Interpretive Trail in Ripton (featured on this issue’s cover). Many local libraries have snowshoes to borrow. Find more winter hiking trails at greenmountainclub.org.

Connect with reps from local summer programs and schools in a new virtual format. Ask questions or just listen in. Friday, February 5, and Saturday, February 6, via Zoom. Register for free 30-minute sessions at kidsvt.com.

Curl up under a blanket and crack open a book from one of Vermont’s esteemed authors. Liza Woodruff’s picture book, Once Upon a Winter Day — in which main character Milo follows a snowy trail of mouse prints through the woods — celebrates nature and imagination. Dayna Lorentz’s new release Of a Feather — a middle-grade novel about a lovable great horned owl and a young girl sent to live with an aunt she’s never met — is set in a fictional town near Rutland and features local destinations such as the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Fletcher Free Library’s youth librarian Megan Butterfield also recommends Ashley Wolff’s Only the Cat Saw, Sarah Dillard’s I Don’t Like Rain! and Jason Chin’s Your Place in the Universe.

COURTESY OF

INDULGE in delicious baked goods.

HOLIDAY HOUSE

PUBLISHI NG

COURTESY OF HIGHLAND CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Pick up doughnuts from St. Albans’ Hangry the Donut Bar, Burlington’s Kru Coffee or Woodbury’s Local Donut. Or try one of the new direct-toconsumer bakeries that’s popped up recently: Pie Society in South Burlington offers sweet and savory pies; Small Oven Pastries in Shelburne sells French-style almond macarons that look almost too pretty to eat; and Belleville Bakery in Burlington serves up authentically French delicacies such as tarts and brioche.

BUILD a snow shelter. Learn about winter dwellings and construct a quinzhee snow shelter with your household pod under the tutelage of Sterling College Outdoor Education student Brian Emery. The $10 ticket fee includes a hot beverage. Saturday, February 20, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at Highland Center for the Arts, Greensboro, highlandartsvt.org.

MARVEL at the lights.

Download a scorecard, then complete — and provide photo documentation of — activities in categories including “Snow Play” and “Hunker Down” to be entered into weekly prize drawings. Online through February 26 at waterburywinter fest.com.

GROOVE to the music of Bhurin Sead. As part of the Music and Movement series from Morrisville’s River Arts, Blue Man Group performers and musicians broadcast live on the first Saturday of every month. Saturday, February 6, noon, on River Arts’ Facebook page, facebook.com/ riverartsvt.

A Pullman porter

LEARN about the Black porters’ fight for social justice. The education department at Hildene — the Manchester home of Abraham Lincoln’s eldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln — presents a virtual history program designed for grades six to eight. Focused on the time period from 1863 to 1963, students will learn about what it was like to work on a Pullman car and Black porters’ involvement in the Black labor and civil rights movements. $25 per homeschool family or $3 per student for the school program. hildene.org.

COURTESY OF HILDENE

COMPETE in the Wanderlust Challenge.

Ooh and aah over decorative lights and art installations as part of the South End Glow Up in Burlington, every night through the end of the month. Start at ArtsRiot at 400 Pine Street, then venture behind the building to see more creative installations. artsriot.com.

SAVE THE DATE:

BE WOWED by circus performers. Circus Spectacular! is a fundraiser for the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro featuring high-flying circus artists from Cirque du Soleil, Cirque Éloize and Pilobolus, who will join the virtual show from around the world. Saturday, March 6, 7 p.m. $15 per individual ticket; $25 for a group ticket. necenterforcircus arts.org.

THIS IS JUST A SAMPLING OF THE STATE'S IN-PERSON AND VIRTUAL HAPPENINGS IN THE COMING MONTH. BROWSE OUR ONLINE CALENDAR AT KIDSVT.COM FOR MORE. IF YOU'RE PLANNING OR PROMOTING A FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENT IN VERMONT, PLEASE SEND DETAILS OUR WAY FOR A FREE ONLINE LISTING. SUBMIT YOUR MARCH EVENTS FOR PRINT BY FEBRUARY 15 AT KIDSVT.COM OR CALENDAR@KIDSVT.COM. 26

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021


EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES B Y M ATT KI L L K EL L EY

COURTESY OF NASA

Virtual Visits

Online field trips to embark on this winter

D

o you miss going places? Join the club. As the pandemic chugs along and we sink into the depths of the winter months, chances are you’re craving a change in scenery more than ever. We propose a virtual field trip. Many of the locales that draw in families during normal times are now offering a robust lineup of online offerings to enrich and entertain — and give you something to look at besides your humble abode. The diverse options below include places that will satisfy all types of interests — from art to music, science to history — and they’re appropriate for all ages. And, to sweeten the deal, most of it is free.

3. MONTSHIRE MUSEUM OF SCIENCE montshire.org/montshire-at-home The Montshire at Home program includes instructional videos on everything from making gargantuan bubbles to experimenting with candy. Additionally, the museum offers virtual multi-week workshops via Zoom for $100 per session; participants receive a kit of materials they’ll need to join in at home. Montshire also offers a science story time twice a week, with topics ranging from ice fishing to seeds. And if you miss the clacks and chimes of the museum’s Rube Goldberg-inspired “Odyssey of the Spheres” kinetic sculpture, the museum Mars Rover

1. ECHO LEAHY CENTER FOR LAKE CHAMPLAIN

vermontartonline.org This site was created early last spring to let people explore the state’s art museums and galleries from the comfort of their homes during the pandemic. Explore more than 30 locations across the state, from Cold Hollow Sculpture Park in Enosburg Falls to the Middlebury College Museum of Art. Clickable icons provide information on specific works of art. Activities and lesson plans are also available.

7. SAN DIEGO ZOO

has made it available to watch on its YouTube channel.

4. AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY amnh.org/explore/ology amnh.org/plan-your-visit/field-trips The venerable Big Apple institution runs OLogy, a science website for kids — also available as an app for the iPad — with oodles of activities and videos on topics ranging from genetics to zoology. Additionally, four virtual field trips geared to different grade levels provide detailed teacher’s guides, videos, worksheets and activities. Virtual tours are also available, allowing you to digitally stroll through the museum, minus the New York City hustle and bustle.

A turtle at the New England Aquarium

including fish of all shapes and sizes, octopuses and squids, turtles, and penguins. Enjoy the aquarium’s virtual exhibits, which range from educational tours to crafts and activities featuring your favorite critters. New videos from the aquarium are served up three times a week, meaning you’ll never experience a drought of content. Trust us, watching Tatoosh the octopus float languidly around its tank is strangely comforting.

5. NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM

6. JAZZY ASH VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP

neaq.org/visit/ at-home-events-and-activities This Boston institution is home to numerous underwater inhabitants,

powayonstage.org/event/jazzy-ash Celebrate Black History Month by delving into jazz with the San Diego-based arts nonprofit Poway OnStage. For the

COURTESY OF NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM

2. VERMONT ART ONLINE

Bubbles at the Montshire Museum of Science

month of February, the organization is offering a musical online field trip hosted by New Orleans family jazz band Jazzy Ash. For $15 per family, you’ll have access to an assortment of music videos, interactive games, story readings and art workshops focused on Afrocentric music genres, such as jazz and the blues.

COURTESY OF MONTSHIRE MUSEUM OF SCIENCE

echovermont.org/events-programs/ echo-at-home-learning This popular science center, located on the Burlington waterfront, hosts a diverse selection of weekly activities through its ECHO at Home learning platform. If you’re looking for hands-on activities, try “Science Spotlight” for experiments in which easy-to-find materials such as coins and eggs are used to teach about concepts like centripetal force and diffusion. In “Engineer It! at Home,” ECHO educators provide step-by-step instructions for building boats, rockets and towers. In weekly video series, including “Science & Stories With Elizabeth” and “Take Action! Citizen Science Challenge,” kids learn about different nature topics. There’s also a cache of videos about animals; some of them are live feeds of the fish, reptiles and amphibians housed at ECHO. The center is also open for in-person visits; just register for a time slot in advance.

kids.sandiegozoo.org/videos The San Diego Zoo Kids website provides a wealth of videos, stories and activities centered on its inhabitants. A major highlight is the live cams, through which you can observe animals you'd never encounter in Vermont. Trade out your friendly neighborhood cows for apes, hippos, giraffes, tigers and koalas. There’s a ton of fun to be had watching longtime residents Kalluk and Tatqiq, two celebrity polar bears, go about their day.

8. ACCESS MARS accessmars.withgoogle.com If you were to travel to Mars today, it would be an estimated seven-month voyage to the crimson curiosity. NASA and Google have partnered to provide the astronomically curious with an immersive experience on Mars’ surface, straight from your computer, mobile device or even virtual-reality headset. If you really want to inhabit the role of an astronaut, visit shopnasa.com to buy a dehydrated ice cream sandwich to munch on while you explore the fascinating planet. K KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

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JUST FOR KIDS Coloring Contest! Three winners will each receive an annual family membership to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. Send Kids VT your work of art by February 15. Be sure to include the info at right with your submission. Winners will be chosen in the following categories: (1) ages 5 and younger, (2) ages 6-8 and (3) ages 9-12. Winners will be named in the March issue of Kids VT. Send your highresolution scans to art@kidsvt.com or mail a copy to Kids VT, P.O. Box 1184, Burlington, VT 05402.

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KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021

Coloring Contest Winners .........29 Puzzle Page ........................................ 30

Title _______________________________________ Contest sponsored by

Artist _____________________________________ Age ______________ Town __________________ Email _____________________________________ Phone _____________________________________


COLORING CONTEST WINNERS Our judges were wowed by the fabulous submissions mailed in as part of this month’s coloring contest. Ivy, 10, decked out her spotted, snowboarding bear in all the fresh winter fashion colors. Eight-year-old Oria amazed us with fine details — including a mask on her calico bear for safe social distancing at a winter fair. Ada, 5, sent us a multicolored bear looking at home in the cool blues of a snowy winter scene. Thanks to all who entered! We can’t wait to see what you have in store this month.

HONORABLE MENTIONS “GREEN EYES”

Leo Nichols, 5 Milton

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JUST FOR KIDS HEDGEHOG HAT HUNT BY MARC NADEL

Strawberry! Blackberry! Raspberry! Blue! Twelve happy hedgehogs wear hats just for you! All are quite lovely, Only two are the same. Can you find the twins? That’s the point of this game!

ANSWER P.31 30

KIDSVT.COM FEBRUARY 2021


USE YOUR WORDS B Y T H E A L E WI S

A Grand Challenge Staying connected with grandkids while waiting to see them again

L

ast April, I saw a news story about a Ventura, Calif., couple who donned plastic trash bags and scuba gear so they could hug their grandchildren. I chuckled. Like most grandparents during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic, I missed in-person contact with my grandchildren. I just hadn’t reached the point of donning personal protective equipment that looked like a makeshift Jacques Cousteau costume in order to see them. Fast-forward 10 months, and I’m feeling all their feels. The pandemic has dragged on for a year, and nearly everyone is craving that human touch. It feels especially poignant not to be able to hold hands or snuggle with a grandchild. While grown-ups may joke that life seems like the movie Groundhog Day, life for little people is still one discovery after another. It’s hard not to feel, quite keenly, the milestones we are missing. My husband and I have seven “grandbabies” ranging in age from 5 months to 21 years. The oldest of the crew is Jonathan, a bona fide adult who lives in another state. We haven’t seen him since the virus turned everything upside down, but we get regular reports on his progress from my daughter and his dad. They relay news of his job and the car he’s restoring, and I get to be freaked out from a distance by his plans to buy a motorcycle. Our next two, chronologically, are teens. Zavier, who will be 16 in May, lives about 40 minutes away. Annika, newly 15, is by necessity part of our pandemic “bubble” since I’m the official (masked) afterschool chauffeur for her and her younger brother a few days a week. While neither Zavier nor Annika are prickly by any means, hugging and having someone make a fuss over them are things they both prefer to avoid. Zavier, who would rather be coding than cuddling, rarely checks his texts, so his mom fills me in on major life events. I try to keep track of Annika’s world by asking not-too-nosy questions during our 10-minute car rides — and by sharing unpunctuated text messages, because, according to parenting website Grown and Flown, adding symbols to the ends of sentences like “How are you doing?!” is stress-provoking to modern teens. “Avoid using periods. They make your kids nervous and your meaning unclear,” a post on the site states. (Apparently we’ve reached the end of

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Thea Lewis with grandson Andre

an era when it comes to the end of a sentence.) It’s been easy and fun to spice up the socially distanced lives of both kids with gift cards or treats, like the baby goat stuffed animal named Patrick I ordered for Annika, who would, of course prefer a real goat but is allergic to most fourlegged critters. Annika’s younger brother, 9-year-old Andre, is the grandchild with whom I get to spend the most time. He’s a singer who, before the pandemic, was one of the youngest buskers on Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace. Around that time, he went through a period of fascination with the show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and, because I was helping him with his gigs, he began referring to me as his “gramager.” Andre is the reason I’ve become somewhat proficient in Zoom. Missing our in-person adventures, he would send me regular invitations to meetings so we could laugh, rehearse and talk about the musical Hamilton, since we are both rabid fans. Because Andre is so musically inclined (he has his own home “studio”), it’s hard to stop gifting him with different instruments — most recently a kazoo. When my daughter complained, citing the harmonicas, accordion and bongos I’ve bought him over the years, I got defensive. “I realized the other day he doesn’t have a pennywhistle, but I resisted buying one!” I told her. She responded that if I had, my son-in-law might have considered stuffing me in a duffel to be a justifiable act. Our two youngest granddaughters, sisters Olivia and Addie — 9 and 4, respectively — live a long drive away. We talk on the phone, and I send them fun, interesting books and toys I would like. You read it right: I would like — or already do. Books like Anne of Green Gables and Peter Pan for Olivia, who is

kind, funny and smart, and The Little Engine That Could and Ferdinand the Bull for Addie, a ringleted firecracker with a big imagination. I’ve sent them a boom box with a CD of dance tunes, head lamps for reading under blanket forts, and beach towels and pillows emblazoned with unicorns. (If you can’t experience the childhood you always wanted vicariously through your grandchildren, you might as well melt down your credit card.) Olivia and Addie’s little brother, A.J., is our youngest grandchild. His absence from our lives is especially tough to bear. He was born during the pandemic, so we haven’t officially met him yet. We get to see pictures that keep us updated on his progress. We know he’s cooing and smiling and that he adores his big sisters, but it’s not enough. Recently, my husband, Roger, and I were watching a trailer for an upcoming movie. In one scene, someone placed a tiny infant in the arms of the main character, who was about my age. Watching that clip, I could almost feel the heft and warmth of that child. It made the absence of my little bundle seem suddenly unbearable. In that instant, I felt totally bereft. I turned to Roger and burst out, “It’s just killing me that we’ve got a perfectly good baby just a 40-minute drive away and I don’t even get to hold him!” I know this too shall pass, though I don’t know when. We’ve got a vaccine now, and my fingers are crossed that, with its effectiveness and the public’s cooperation, we’ll return to normal someday soon. In the meantime, all I can do is what I’ve been doing: Stay connected with the grandkids any way I can, let them know I still love them — and try to forget that the last time I saw Andre, he mentioned wanting a trombone. K

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Profile for Kids VT

Kids VT, February 2021  

Identifying Vermont's Evergreens; Grandparenting in the Pandemic; Chocolate Tartlets for Valentine's Day;

Kids VT, February 2021  

Identifying Vermont's Evergreens; Grandparenting in the Pandemic; Chocolate Tartlets for Valentine's Day;

Profile for kidsvt
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