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Kristina Ellis will walk attendees through the learning process on the trails of Quarrybrook Learning Center during their open house event. Courtesy photo.




Open House

Where: Quarrybrook Outdoor Learning Center, 39 Roulston Road, Windham
When: Saturday, Nov. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free
Call: 890-1222
Visit: quarrybrook.org




Field experience
Quarrybrook Outdoor Learning Center opens

11/06/14



The Quarrybrook Outdoor Learning Center is bringing learning back to its roots. To celebrate the construction of its new learning center, Quarrybrook is hosting an open house Saturday, Nov. 8, for participants to explore the facility, both inside and out. 

“Up to this point we’ve been a really small staff working with a handful of schools to refine the program model,” said Kristina Ellis, the education director at the learning center. “The opening of the center is going to be a new thing. We’re at a point where we’re looking to develop school programs as well as community and family programs in the springtime.”
Ellis said the open house will be an introduction for families and teachers to the way the learning center employs its “experimental learning” techniques. During the open house, Ellis said, center educators will be walking through some of the field class programs that they feature during the school year.
Guests can embark on a family-friendly hiking tour of the trails behind the learning center. Ellis said the tours feature hands-on activities that will introduce the interactive style of learning that Quarrybrook promotes.
The main topic of discussion during the open house tour will be hibernation, fitting for the season. Participants will have a chance to learn about the race against time that most animals experience when setting themselves up for the cold winters, Ellis said.
“We’re breaking up our learning stations to explore the adaptive behaviors and qualities of animals,” she said. “We’re breaking the tour into separate learning stations, where one will focus on fur, another on fat, and another on shelter.”
Ellis said there will be ample talk about beavers, so for the shelter building station, students will race against the clock to build shelters out of sticks. Participants will work with a couple different types of shelters they can make in order to understand not only the importance of constructing a shelter, but also which shelters are effective and why.
“When we teach a science topic, we want to replicate the field experience, like how a scientist would do research in the field,” Ellis said. “We like to introduce elements like role play, analyzing data, expeditions. It’s academically driven, but we’re incorporating fun through field science techniques.”
Quarrybrook will also host other interactive games inside the facility. The arts and crafts table will help participants identify some of the most common trees that can be found in New Hampshire by collecting maple and oak leaves and creating a splatter painting. Participants can visit the “touch tables” to see and feel natural objects such as antlers, fur and geological specimens. 
Ellis said parents and kids are also encouraged to take a tour of the indoor facilities as well, which will showcase the green technologies that Quarrybrook has employed, including the solar photovoltaic roof and the geothermal energy system, and the learning gardens in the back.
“We want to introduce ourselves to the neighborhood and share our ideas with folks about our future family programming,” Ellis said.
Quarrybrook will also offer festive fall treats such as apple cider and kettle corn during the open house. 
 
As seen in the November 6, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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