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Library welcomes heroes

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Every Hero has a Story

Town library welcomes guest heroes to summer program


The Bayard Public Library welcomed 35 to 40 students on a daily basis from the Cobre School District, as well as Hurley, Santa Clara, San Lorenzo, Mimbres and Las Cruces. Students ranging in ages from 1 to 14 years participated from June 1 to July 3 as part of the library’s hero themed summer program.

A Bayard Public Library reading program participant works on a project during the last day of the summer event. (Photo by Elva K. Österreich)

On the first week cartoonist Ralph Bakshi visited with the children. Bakshi worked on such projects as “Wizards,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Mighty Mouse” and “The Mighty Heroes.” He is world renowned for his action hero cartoons. Bakshi who is in his 80’s and still working, took the time to put on a presentation, sign autographs, critique the children’s drawings, and even drew a personal picture for several students in the program.

The program consisted of various STEM and socio-anthropological activities. STEM week kicked off with engineering day. It was the girls against the boys in a hands on building competition. The assignment was to first come up with an idea that would make positive social change; draw the design, and then building the project. The girls won. They built a greenhouse and seedbank to sustain their community. The boys created a field hospital for wounded soldiers. The students learned about Jane Goodall’s scientific contributions and wrote lovely narratives of how they could make a difference in the world.

Wolf awareness week featured special guest Deidre Wolf, from Wolfsong Sanctuary (featured in the very first online Desert Exposure). Wolf put on a demonstration and told “wolf stories” for the students. She brought in a live wolf hybrid as a visual aid and the children were enthralled. The students had the opportunity to touch the wolf “Sun catcher” and ask a real wolf expert their questions. Our wolf activities included making pop- up wolf biology cards, scientific drawings and wolf acrostic poems.

Children participating in the summer program at the Bayard Public Library create Medusa masks as
the final project of the program.
(Photo by Elva K. Österreich)

The students also participated in Native American Culture Week which consisted of reading about Native American Folklore and making dream catchers. In addition, we had Navajo artist and Cobre High School art teacher, Romaine Begay, give a demonstration over printmaking and monographs.

As part of Native American culture week, potter Robin Parson demonstrated Mimbres pottery. Her husband Fred Pinetta gave a demonstration on how to paint the famous Mimbres Indian designs using traditional brushes made from human hair. The students had the chance to experience hands on archaeology when the Native society from Tucson-based Archaeology of the Southwest’s professor Allen Denoyer taught the students how to make ancient tools, weapons, and jewelry.

Marie Elena Sanchez and historian Neta Pope spoke about Luis Armijo, an Apache Indian from Santa Clara, who was a Code Talker during WWII.

The students also experienced Irish culture through storytelling, dance and art; African day where the students were introduced to a beautiful Nigerian story about a folk hero; and programs about Mexico and Greece, Frieda Kahlo and Greek mythology.

Local heroes, Gila Regional Medical Center EMT’s, gave a presentation and talk to the students. They discovered how to take their pulse rates and how much math is involved in medical work.

July 2 was a day of science including a New Mexican geology experiment, an archaeology dig, salt experiments, and buoyancy experiments. July 3 was the end of Summer Reading Program party. Head librarian Sonya Dixon and librarian assistant Marivel Medel were also integral parts of the program.

Raven Rooney just finished up her master’s program at Western New Mexico University for elementary education.The summer reading program was her first teaching job out of school.


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