Explore More at Pritchard Park is an interdepartmental collaboration to activate Pritchard Park through spaces, services, and programs related to environmental education and STEAM learning. It includes outdoor natural play areas, a collection of nature backpacks for kids and families, a series of environmental programs, and a selection of tools, equipment, and resources for citizen science. Citizen Science is the collaboration between the scientific community and the general public, who collect and share data about the natural world.

Check out the upcoming programs below!

  • Meet the Animals
    February 19, 2018
    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    - Join friends from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences for an interactive program about the native animals and natural objects that live outside our door. Get up close to live animals, including turtles, snakes, and amphibians! For kids in grades K-5. Sign up for the 2:30 session here!
  • Meet the Animals
    February 19, 2018
    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    - Join friends from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences for an interactive program about the native animals and natural objects that live outside our door. Get up close to live animals, including turtles, snakes, and amphibians! For kids in grades K-5. This session is full.
  • Frogs & Toads
    March 22, 2018
    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    - Learn about local frog calls and habitats followed by a listen outside! Starting in Meeting Room B and then moving outside to Pritchard Park. For ages 8 to adult!
  • Creating Rain Gardens
    March 24, 2018
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    - A workshop and a workday! Learn how to create a backyard rain garden and then help with a planting session to rejuvenate the large bio-retention basin outside on library grounds. Starting in Meeting Room B and then moving outside to Pritchard Park.
  • Scientific Tools - prek-2nd
    March 27, 2018
    1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
    - Learn about and work with a variety of measuring tools used every day by scientists around the world. Meeting Room B. For prek-2nd grade. Registration required. This session is full.
  • Scientific Tools - grades 3-5
    March 27, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    - Learn about and work with a variety of measuring tools used every day by scientists around the world. Meeting Room B. For grades 3-5. Registration required. This session is full.
  • Birds of a Feather
    April 10, 2018
    2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    - Discover the world of birds using replicas and study specimens to learn about their adaptations and become familiar with the songs and behaviors of common North Carolina species. Starts in Meeting Room A and, weather permitting, concludes outside as we look for some bird together. Capped at 20 participants, including adults. *Note: this program does not include live animals. For ages 4 and up. Sign up for the 2:30 session here!
  • Birds of a Feather
    April 10, 2018
    4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    - Discover the world of birds using replicas and study specimens to learn about their adaptations and become familiar with the songs and behaviors of common North Carolina species. Starts in Meeting Room A and, weather permitting, concludes outside as we look for some bird together. Capped at 20 participants, including adults. *Note: this program does not include live animals. For ages 4 and up. Sign up for the 4:00 session here!
  • Star Party
    April 20, 2018
    7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
    - Join us for fun and family friendly crafts and activities, out of this world movies, stories, and skywatching as part of the NC Science Festival. We'll meet in the traffic circle near the main entrance and learn about stars, constellations, and space with our partners from the Morehead Planetarium & Science Center.

    We will provide multiple telescopes and star maps so that plenty can take a turn exploring the skies. This will be an evening activity outdoors, so dress for cooler temperatures.
  • Backyard Birds
    April 21, 2018
    11:00 am - 12:00 pm
    - Attracting & Supporting Backyard Birds" is an education program led by Tracy Atkins Rehberg, owner of Chapel Hill's Wild Bird Center.

    Get habitat and feeding tips for attracting the broadest variety of wild birds to your backyard. Includes seasonal best practices and will provide a practical understanding of the many types of bird feeders, foods, and baths available today.

    We'll highlight easy, low-cost options for beginning to feed birds, as well as ideas for taking your bird feeding enjoyment to the next level by learning to identify many common feeder guests and how to keep an eye out for some popular, less frequent visitors, too.

    Meeting Room B
  • Fairy Garden Workshop
    May 5, 2018
    11:00 am - 12:00 pm
    - Enter the world of fairies as you make a fairy house of your own. When your creation is complete we will venture into Pritchard Park to leave it for fairies (and humans) to find! Saturday, May 5 in Meeting Room B and then outside in Pritchard Park. For ages 4 and up. This program is full.
  • Fairy Garden Workshop
    May 5, 2018
    1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    - Enter the world of fairies as you make a fairy house of your own. When your creation is complete we will venture into Pritchard Park to leave it for fairies (and humans) to find! Saturday, May 5 in Meeting Room B and then outside in Pritchard Park. For ages 4 and up. This program is full.
  • Playwork
    June 9, 2018
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    - This 3 hour workshop examines ways children, young people and families engage in and benefit from outdoor play and how we can take advantage of the many affordances provided by the outdoors. Using approaches employed in the playwork profession, participants will explore open-ended creative ways to encourage and expand opportunities for exploration, discovery and play in nature.

    The workshop includes lots of hands on activities. Expect to have fun inside and out.

    Linda Kinney, Education Specialist and Manager of Playful Pedagogy North Carolina Zoological Park, will lead the workshop.

    This program will count for NCEE criteria II credit for those seeking hours.
  • Goats!
    June 21, 2018
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    - Welcome a herd of 30 visiting goats with a special goat-themed story time, Q&A session, and crafts. The goats are here to clear overgrown vegetation in parts of Pritchard Park. See live animals in action and learn more about what they eat, how they interact with humans, and how their behavior can be beneficial.

    We livestreamed this event. Check it out here.
  • Butterfly Release
    September 22, 2018
    12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
    -

    Celebrate the success of our new Pollinator Garden with the release of Monarch butterflies!

    Phyllis Simon and husband Bruce Taggart, who live in northern Orange County, will describe their monarch raising operation and bring in their hatchery, which will have caterpillars, chrysalises, and--hopefully--newly hatched monarchs ready to be tagged and released.

    Dan Stern and Amanda Mixon from the UNC Botanical Garden, who designed and installed the library's pollinator garden, will offer tours of the garden and provide information and handouts on pollinator plants suitable for the piedmont.

    We'll also have activities and more details on how you can get involved in citizen science projects that report sightings of adults, eggs, captive-reared, and wild butterflies.

    Come learn the life cycle of monarchs, what they feed on, etc. and help us release some Monarchs outdoors!
  • NanoTech
    October 13, 2018
    11:00 am - 3:00 pm
    - Celebrate National Nanotechnology Day! Explore the world at the nanoscale with the Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network.

    Visitors will get a crash course on nanotechnology and use microscopes to examine bugs, flowers, and other materials up close. Participants are encouraged to bring their own samples to view. Other hands-on activities will help visitors relate to nanoscale phenomena and get an idea of techniques used to make things on this size scale. Join us to make nano ice cream, try on a clean room suit, design a photomask, and more!

    This is a family friendly event but it's geared toward middle school and high school age kids. (little kids won't be able to do some of the activities because of their size). The nano ice cream is for everyone and scheduled from 1:00-2:00, first come, first served.

    Meeting Room B
  • Arbor Day
    November 16, 2018
    9:00 am - 11:30 am
    - On this Friday morning, Mayor Pro Tem Jessica Anderson will read the Arbor Day Proclamation and accept the Tree City USA Award from the North Carolina Forest Service’s Orange County Office.

    Then, Miss Furey's 3rd grade class from Estes Hills will take the lead in helping plant a new tree here in Pritchard Park. You can toss a shiny new penny and a shovelful of dirt to help the Sugar Plum tree grow.

    Afterward, we’ll hand out our new guide to Explore More, a brochure with hand-drawn illustrations of local trees’ bark and leaves.

    Outside the library's main entrance
  • Shinrin-Yoku
    November 17, 2018
    10:00 am - 10:30 am
    - Shinrin-yoku is a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Annie Howell, NC Dept. of Natural and Cultural Resources, will lead a shinrin-yoku guided walk as part of Chapel Hill’s Arbor Day festivities.
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