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Storytime goes online

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Emily Herring, left, and Carrie Barr, right, work together to teach children about nature with Nature Story Hour.

The story goes on at Grimes Farm and Conservation Center. The center has put on Nature Story Hour for more than ten years, according to Naturalist Emily Herring of the Marshall County Conservation Board.

The storytime is offered the first and third Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. and usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes.

While the Story Hour’s in-person component has been canceled until the risk of COVID-19 decreases, technology is allowing the Conservation Board to continue teaching the community.

The storytime has been moved online through live videos on the Marshall County Conservation Board’s Facebook page.

Herring said it is important to continue the program because it encourages people to get outside.

“Part of it is just to remind people that nature is still there,” she said.

With plenty of beautiful parks in the Marshalltown area, spending time in nature is a great way to get out of the house while still social distancing. Many summer activities have been canceled, but the outdoors are open and full of exciting pastimes.

The most recent Nature Story Hour, posted on Facebook on June 18, was on beetles. Carrie Barr read the book A Beetle is Shy, which highlighted many different kinds of beetles. Afterward, Herring gave a lesson on beetles.

Herring noted that there are activities posted on the Marshall County Conservation Board for children. These included a Find a Beetle Bingo sheet, which encourages kids to go outside and try to find different types of beetles, and a beetle life cycle sheet to color.

“Although lots of things are closed and different now, you can still go outside and explore. And we hope you do,” Herring said in the Facebook video.

The videos are streamed live to Facebook, but people can watch them whenever it is convenient.

“They are live, but the videos are saved,” Herring said.

While the storytime is meant for children, it can be an interesting lesson for adults as well. A few community members commented questions they had about beetles, which Herring answered at the end of the video.

The next Nature Story Hour on July 2 will be on turtles. Following topics are hummingbirds, rocks and snakes. Barr and Herring will continue to work together to teach on these topics.

Herring noted that the books featured in the videos are available at the Marshalltown Public Library for those who want to check them out.

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Contact Anna Shearer at 641-753-6611 or ashearer@timesrepublican.com.

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