Evy Nordley Candidate Profile #5: Marine Library Association

For nature science lovers, the area around Marine on St. Croix offers an embarrassment of riches. Located just south of the popular William O’Brien State Park along a scenic stretch of the St. Croix River, the township is home to the Minnesota chapter of Watchable Wildlife, a watershed research station, and the St. Croix River Association.

For their latest and greatest programming challenge, the Marine Library Association (MarLA) decided to lean into this strength by crafting a children’s nature science day camp. All activities and presenters drew from the impressive local resources already available in northern Washington County.

A team of six planners began preparations in February, in hopes of having an impressive curriculum – and a full class to enjoy it – by June. Registration opened almost immediately, in recognition of the fact that families begin plotting out their summer activities months ahead of time.

Next came presenter logistics. For special guests, the organizers tapped three local science teachers. They offered talks or demonstrations on solar energy, geology, and insects, respectively. In addition, a volunteer from the St. Croix River Association contributed a presentation on river health, and the nearby Warner Nature Center offered a popular program on reptiles and amphibians.

As a capstone experience, The Friends took their campers on a field trip to the Minnesota Food Association farm in Wilder Forest to learn about groundbreaking agricultural practices.

Even though the camp was new and the model untested, the inaugural Children’s Science and Art Camp reached capacity the same day registration opened to the public. Nearly all participants hailed from Marine or nearby Scandia.

The Friends felt that their camp was somewhat akin to a more traditional summer reading program – which the Library puts on at the same time. “We believe it is important to keep children active and learning during the summer months,” explained Board member Loralee DiLorenzo.