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Science workshop program expands

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 3rd, 2011

Larry Ventura, 11, gets help from Aurora Torres with building a birdhouse Tuesday at the Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop in Marinovich Park. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula)

The tapping of a hammer, the buzz of a jigsaw, the gritty rhythm of sandpaper shaping a homemade birdhouse and the hum of a sewing machine are common sounds emanating from the City of Watsonville’s Environmental Science Workshop in Marinovich Park.

On Tuesday, newly made piñatas and papier-mâché masks dangled from the ceiling, rats roamed in a cage, and paint was still drying on several new paintings by young kids inside the hands-on, drop-in workshop. A cluster of kids teamed up on repairing their skateboards as another worked on repairing their bikes.

“These kids choose to be here and they are doing what they want to do,” Science Workshop Coordinator Curt Gabrielson said. “This is what kids here lack and need — not an overly structured curriculum, but rather an opportunity to experience a rich environment to express themselves in which to explore and discover. It’s the traditional garage shop, but innovative in that it’s public. Some of these kids need a place to develop skills and to learn from it from real stuff.”

The workshop, which has now branched out to several new locations in Watsonville and expanded into a mobile van has successfully boomed for 14 years. The expansion is largely due to a newly formed statewide Community Science Workshop Network that has led to six distinct programs in the Pajaro Valley that serve about 18,000 kids per year.

For the complete article see the 08-04-2011 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-04-2011 paper.

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