Category Archives: Puppets

Finishing up the Puppets

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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Art, Camps, Children's Art & Science Classes, Puppets


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Dreaming about the Water Cycle

Here is one of the short skits about water the elementary school kids have been working on for the past month or so. This project is a collaboration with the Berkshire Environmental Action Team, Dr. Augie’s and the Taconic Foundations Berkshire Environmental Endowment Fund. These students designed and made their own puppets, directed their show and here they are performing as the puppeteers. Nice work Emma and Ashley!!

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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Art, Camps, Children's Art & Science Classes, Puppets


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Lichen Puppet

lichen puppet 1Our after-school program focuses on water and the environment. We all made our own paper mache ball puppets, decorated them with all kinds of recycled materials and now we are going to create, write, re-write and practice, practice, practice our plays. Yes I did learn something from the New England Puppet Intensive last summer.

My puppet is the lichen puppet. Lichens are usually made up of two organisms a fungus and green alga or cyanobacterium  growing together in a symbiotic relationship.

Scott Le GrecaThis puppet was inspired by two things, well one person and one thing. My colleague and friend Scott La Greca that works at the
L. H. Bailey Hortorium Herbarium at Cornell University is a lichen specialist and has introduced me to the wild and unusual world of lichens.

my cathedralThe second reason is that one cool, humid and foggy days the trunks of trees in the Berkshires are alive and glow green with photosynthesis of lichens. Let alone are they making energy, but they seem to create light to the undergrowth. Amazing organisms.

lichens microscopic

“Lichenes” from Ernst Haeckel’s Artforms of Nature, 1904

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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Art, Berkshire BioBlitz, Children's Art & Science Classes, Nature Curios, Puppets


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Hand Puppets

ice balls 027The puppets are done! Next week the kids will be writing and practicing, practicing and practicing their skits for the mini puppet shows about water.

The players will be a dragon, frog, a vampire jelly bean and a bunch of characters that are too complex to explain.

Stay tuned for the show!



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Thinking about Giant Puppets

I couldn’t sleep last night so I set my mind to working on this year’s theme for the Pittsfield 4th of July Parade: America the Beautiful – The Land That I Love.

177826_3753755916056_1901040085_oMy tired brain didn’t come up with any ideas. Last year the theme was Classic Movies and the theme of the city was Moby Dick. The idea was easy. Making a giant Moby Dick puppet, not so easy. There was a lot of designing, experimenting, researching with local folks about appropriate materials. Must say I learned a lot about making big puppets but most of all I learned that people think giant puppets are cool. The folks from the Pittsfield Cultural Commission and Greylock Credit Union carried the leviathan.

While I was building the monster I took the opportunity to listen to Herman Melville‘s book Moby Dick on CD. What a treat, actively learning about local history while making some of my own. I highly recommend the book. Of course it needs to be followed up by at trip to Arrowhead, Melville’s house where he wrote the book, and the book Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund.

Now when I just mention the Moby Dick puppet, eyes go wide, faces light up with the memory , “I saw that in the parade!”

Here is a picture of the model and the final product. Just don’t ask how long it took to make it.

before after

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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Puppets


Giant Salamander

ca last day 011

Commissioned by the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT), this 4 foot + giant salamander is making its way from the west coast out to the Berkshires to do some serious and fun environmental science education.

BEAT logo

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Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Berkshire BioBlitz, Children's Art & Science Classes, Puppets


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Science, Art and Media

sing about dr augieThe classes have begun!
This week two of Dr. Augie’s after-school programs were off to a great start!

The elementary program sponsored by the Berkshire Environmental Action Team and funded by the Berkshire Taconic Foundation’s “Berkshire Environmental Endowment” focuses on the Water Systems and the environment. The group quickly realized they were water experts¬†by listing everything they could think about water.

tv station 005The high school kids did some brainstorming about what they want their science TV show to be like. This program is part of the 21st Century Learning Centers grant. The core group did a great job convincing our new students how fun an adventure this will be. We are excited to get a tour of the public access station next week. Lynn Shortis of the Pittsfield Public Schools and Tim LaPort, electrical engineer, will be joining me with directing these awesome students as they pilot their own TV science show!


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