Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bees: Pollinators and Master Communicators

by Scott Hynek

Carol Cottrill, master beekeeper, president of the Maine State Beekeepers' Association and the guiding light behind the highly successful school for beekeepers given annually by the Western Maine Beekeepers' Association, spoke to the WMSC on Tuesday, April 23 at the Mahoosuc Mountain Lodge. She related a few of the many interesting things about bees, but focused on their importance as pollinators.

Renting bees to farmers as pollinators is how professional beekeepers make most of their income. Indeed, were honey bees to vanish (unfortunately, not impossible) most of the plants we eat would either cease to exist or become both limited in number and stunted.

Carol touched lightly on what beekeepers must know about bees, demonstrated how modern beehives are put together, and discussed how it is that bees can effect mass communication in dark, noisy hives: namely, with odors known as pheromones. 

One of these odors is given off naturally by larvae, and its strength indicates to the older, foraging bees the need to stress the gathering of pollen, on which the larvae but not the adult bees feed. Another odor is given off intentionally, to sound the alarm of impending danger to the hive. Still another is given off as a result of stinging, which act destroys the bee that stung, but which odor directs the attention of other suicide stingers. 

Carol also told us what to do if stung (scrape away the embedded stinger with a thumbnail or a credit card, do NOT pinch the stinger to remove it) and how to distinguish honey bees from hornets and the like (honey bees are fuzzy, the others are glossy).

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at http://sad44.maineadulted.org/western_mountains_senior_college

Monday, April 22, 2013

Music and Youth Volunteers at the 10th Anniversary Celebration

by Lorrie Hoeh

 The Telstar Middle School ArtReach Group has been hard at work on intergenerational projects with area seniors from Western Mountains Senior College and Bethel Senior Citizens. Some of those projects will come to fruition on Thursday, May 2, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at Telstar, when WMSC will continue the celebration of its tenth anniversary year with “Bridging the Generations—or What do Your Grandparents do all day?”

The Mahoosuc Community Band comprises members from middle school age to senior citizens, according to Kathleen DeVore. A small group from the band is planning a performance at the celebration. The group will consist of mostly flutists, along with percussion and a baritone horn, playing just a few pieces, about five minutes’ worth.

Steve Wight works with Telstar’s Interact, a high school service organization associated with Rotary Club. They are helping the Middle School ArtReach group to organize a volunteer day in the Bethel area. The idea is to help senior citizens with yard clean-up and other home projects. Come on May 2 to sign up for services with the Bethel Senior Citizens group.

In addition to the above mentioned projects, there will be displays of collaborative projects in art, creative writing, technology, gardening, and cooking. (There will be goodies to taste!) Other community organizations will have displays, and there will be an opportunity to become a regular member of the local food ordering group. At 3:30 there will be brief presentations and entertainment. Telstar cafeteria 3:00-5:00 on Thursday, May 2 - Hope to see you there!

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at http://sad44.maineadulted.org/western_mountains_senior_college

Monday, April 15, 2013

Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

by Barb Dion

Is your glass half empty or half full?  The latest To Your Health offering, “Good Mind: Good Mood,” answered that question in a fun, insightful way.

Our first presenter, Lynn Arizzi, spoke about ways that “Music Makes the Soul Soar,” even through troubling times. She led the audience in singing many familiar songs, including “Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” “We Shall Overcome,” and even “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 
Lynn concluded her session by inviting everyone to circle around a large, colorful parachute which had been placed in the center of the floor. They were asked to hold on and raise and lower it while she played an aria sung by Leontyne Price. The soaring notes lent a beauty to the gentle fluttering of the parachute.

Making the parachute soar.....
.... to the skies!
The next topic, “Staying Positive: Maintaining Connections through Movement,” was a fun and eye-opening audience participation presented by Janet Willie. She explained how important it was at this age to maintain good joint health, and demonstrated ways to stay flexible and learn how to relax. Janet encouraged the audience to join her in stretching and flexing exercises and gave many hints on how these can be performed at home. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the instruction, if the amount of laughter was any indication! 
Strectching with Janet Willie
Lastly, Ellen Crocker presented “Homework for Old Age: What’s the Assignment Now?” She reflected about growing older and how to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. Ellen said this is the time of life to look back; to acknowledge the good and bad things we have done, and realize that right now is extremely precious. She mentioned it is not what we have, but what we enjoy. She then asked the group to comment on two questions: what was hard for you in going from one stage of life to the next and, what makes you happy now. A lively and heartfelt discussion followed and capped off this enlightening evening. 

Ellen Crocker, Janet Willie, and Lynn Arizzi
photos by Barb Dion

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at http://sad44.maineadulted.org/western_mountains_senior_college

WMSC 10th Anniversary Update

by Lorrie Hoeh

Preparation for “Bridging the Generations,” a celebration of the tenth anniversary of Western Mountains Senior College at Telstar on May 2nd, continues. Telstar Middle School students who are members of Ms. Prescott’s cooking and gardening group have set a goal of working with representatives of WMSC and Bethel Senior Citizens to plan and prepare refreshments for the event.

The group has met with seniors twice, and together they have set April 25th as the date for preparing food for the May 2nd event. Members of WMSC and Bethel Senior Citizens are helping students decide on the menu and how jobs will be distributed among students and seniors. A quick glance at some of the proposed foods makes one’s mouth water. 

If any WMSC members would like to join the students in baking on Thursday, April 25, from 2:30 to 5:00 pm at the Bethel Alliance Church, you are more than welcome. Suzanne Dunham, the TMS cooking club manager, says it's fine to just show up, but if you would like to speak with her first she can be reached at 664-2967 or 515-0516.

Another group at TMS is learning about the proposed dog park in Bethel. They met with Steve Wight of Rotary and the dog park supporters’ group. They learned about the location for the park and that it will be divided in two parts. One will be for small dogs, and the other for large ones. Moreover, they learned about the proposed rules for the park. 
Steve Wight meets with TMS students interested in the proposed Bethel dog park. photo Melissa Prescott

Current goals are to meet with representatives who are supporting the dog park; to learn about their work so far; share some of their creative ideas for the park; and learn how to help in implementation. Among those ideas are getting doggy bag dispensers; a swimming lake for dogs; and making sure that dogs and owners are having fun in a safe environment. 

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to put May 2nd, 3:00 to 5:00, on your calendar. And watch this space for more information about cross-generation cooperation in Bethel, Maine.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at http://sad44.maineadulted.org/western_mountains_senior_college

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Bridging the Generations" WMSC's 10th Anniversary Community Celebration

by Nancy Davis

On Thursday, May 2, from 3:00-5:00 in the Telstar High School Cafeteria, the Western Mountains Senior College will sponsor "Bridging the Generations - or What do your grandparents do all day?" The public is invited to attend this event, which WMSC is featuring as part of its 10th Anniversary celebration. 

Major players in this event are members of the Telstar Middle School ArtReach class, under the direction of teacher Melissa Prescott. Each year, students in the Advanced Art Class at Telstar Middle School select and design an arts-integrated service-learning project. This year, students chose to help and work with seniors in our area.

The students have designed a website telling the ongoing story of how the project is proceeding. It showcases the work they are doing connecting youth and elders in the Bethel community; visit their website at http://artreach13.wix.com/2013. The students explain that "We have split up into groups that revolve around the individual focuses of this project. For example, we have a group called the Visual Arts Group, whose focus is on partnering with the Western Mountains Senior College Art Class to create works of art.”

A similar group combines members of the WMSC Creative Writing class and the Middle School class; their product will certainly be entertaining and will be featured at the May 2nd event. Other displays or live presentations will feature drama, music, technology, gardening, and good food. One group is working on volunteer projects for the future, with youngsters helping seniors in the community.

The Senior Citizens Group of Bethel, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, will have a display at the event, and some of their members are helping in the planning sessions.  Watch the ArtReach website and the WMSC blog for updates as the project continues. 

At the May 2 celebration you will be treated to refreshments cooked by seniors and students together. A group of Telstar Middle School students meet with WMSC and Bethel Senior Citizen members to plan the menu for the celebration.      photo by Melissa Prescott.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at http://sad44.maineadulted.org/western_mountains_senior_college