Curious learners can once again have their own “Magic School Bus” experience through a Niagara-on-the-Lake geology club.
St. Davids residents Francesca and Nicholas Sorrenti have relaunched the Kids Rock Club in partnership with the Niagara Peninsula Geological Society to teach inquisitive young minds all about rocks, minerals and fossils.
IN THE ROUGH: The Kids Rock Club offers educational programming, recommended for children ages 4 to 11. Through direct engagement with experiments and investigations, the club emphasizes fun and allows children to develop appreciation and respect for the natural world and their surroundings.
With an annual cost of $20 per child, club membership includes monthly meetups and all materials required for crafts and activities, a National Geographic rock book, a new geological sample every month and a rock collection box to store specimens.
Before the pandemic, about 60 children took part in monthly club sessions in Niagara Falls at Firemen’s Park and the MacBain Centre. For the new set of classes, the club will take place at a rock-solid new location: the NOTL Community Centre.
The next session is Sunday, Dec. 11 at 1:30 p.m.
At its recent first session, the new iteration of the club began with an introduction to several knowledgeable rockhounds, including local geologist Becky Olheor and geological society member Jonathan Vasilyev.
These experts helped the children to learn the difference between rocks and minerals, explore a variety of samples and create their own geological time scale.
Vasilyev brought his amazing collection of selenite and explained that the name of this crystal comes from the Greek word “selḗnē,” meaning “moon.”
This month, students from Brock University’s Department of Earth Sciences will be sharing their expertise with the club.
NOT TAKEN FOR GRANITE! The Kids Rock Club is a culmination of the generosity of many different organizations and individuals. Many knowledgeable and passionate teachers have volunteered their time to lead club sessions.
Hosts and geological society executive members Francesca and Nicholas are extremely grateful to the society for its support, as well as financial help from Walker Industries to enable the club’s relaunch.
The club also is indebted to the St. Catharines Book Outlet for donations of rock books.
The club welcomes any additional support for this unique children’s earth science learning opportunity: if you can share any fun rock facts, or can lend or support the purchase of instructional materials, contact the club directors at email@example.com.
They hope to acquire demonstration equipment, such as microscopes and display boxes, as well as field trip safety equipment and tools.
ON SHALE NOW: Registration is open and ongoing for this down-to-earth program. To enrol, go to bookwhen.com/cocoandclay.
Kyra Simone is a PhD student in environmental science, with master’s degrees in biology and science communication. When not researching climate change, she advocates for a sustainable future, picks up litter and makes recycled jewelry.