Mar 25, 2020 9:45 PM

Shafer Gallery and the Kansas Wetlands Education Center win award

Posted Mar 25, 2020 9:45 PM
Gallery Director Dave Barnes leads a group of children on an imaginary wildlife expedition as part of the Our Connected World: Biodiversity in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest Van Kempen Exhibit.
Gallery Director Dave Barnes leads a group of children on an imaginary wildlife expedition as part of the Our Connected World: Biodiversity in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest Van Kempen Exhibit.

Story by Joe Vinduska

The Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) and The Shafer Gallery have been awarded the National Association of Interpretation (NAI) Region Six 2019 Outstanding Special Event Award for their collaborative art events “Frogs: Sounding the Future” in 2016 and “The Connected World: Biodiversity in the Art of Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen’’ in 2019.

NAI Region 6 is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the profession of heritage interpretation and currently serves more than 1,000 members in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Members include those who work at parks, museums, nature centers, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, historical and cultural sites, commercial tour companies, and theme parks. Commercial and institutional members include those who provide services to the heritage interpretation industry.

The 2019 Outstanding Special Event Award is given for events of exceptional interpretive quality. The events celebrated with elements at each location were a local success with more than 1,700 visitors participating. The Van Kempen Biodiversity Exhibit was part of the Shafer Gallery Art and Science Encounters series, which was underwritten by CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions. Nominated events had to meet NAI's principles of interpretation, which is defined as: "a mission-based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meanings inherent in the resource."

Events were judged for their originality, creativity, clarity, consistent theme or message and the ability to reach target audience and appropriateness for the site. KWEC Education Specialist Pam Martin said the judges were very gracious in their comments about the efforts of both the Gallery and the KWEC.

“The judges said, ‘This is how interpretation should be done,’” she said. “The cooperative effort actually began in 2011 resulting in four show/events focused on flora and fauna of Cheyenne Bottoms. We’re so appreciative of Dave Barnes being open to trying something beyond the ordinary scope of an art gallery. Not only did the two organizations partner to showcase the plight and marvels of local wildlife but additional partners also donated time and energy, providing artistic and immersive experiences for diverse audiences.”

Shafer Gallery Director David Barnes said the gallery is always excited to collaborate on exhibits as it unlocks what would otherwise be an unknown yet often times fantastic result.

“There is wonderful synergy that develops when institutions with different visions and functions work together to create an event,” he said. “The very intention of collaboration seems to set in motion a surge of creativity and innovation that would not have occurred had the Wetlands Education Center and the Shafer Gallery worked in isolation. It was very cool to be a part of that dynamic process. It is easy for an Art Museum to silo itself in the safety of beautiful objects. However, with the encouragement and partnership of the Kansas Wetlands Educational Center I think we have succeeded in showing our communities what a collaborative, interactive and environmentally meaningful event can look like.”

Barnes added that the awe-inspiring element of nature is something that lends itself to an artistic exhibit.

“It was also important to try and foster an appreciation of the natural wonder and beauty that exists all around us,” he said. “Art and science working together can disseminate information and also provoke wonder in ways neither can do alone.”

For more information, contact Barnes at (620) 792-9342 or [email protected] or Martin at (620)  or [email protected]  (877) 243-9268.

Continue Reading Great Bend Post
Mar 25, 2020 9:45 PM
Plan meals before shopping during a quarantine, expert says
Photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash

Food provides opportunities for fun, reassurance at home

MANHATTAN – In normal times, most consumers don’t think twice about a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up a few items.

But these are not normal times. With the threat of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, hanging over most of the country, “social distancing” has become a commonly understood term, one that makes planning trips to the grocery more important.

“In our home, the new object of the game is to see if we can put off a trip to the store,” said Sandy Procter, a nutrition specialist with K-State Research and Extension. “We are challenging ourselves to not make the quick, short trip, if that’s still possible, and to wait until we have a more complete list. It’s our way of trying to minimize those trips and the (social) connections that we are supposed to avoid right now.”

Procter said “it makes more sense than ever to have a plan” when shopping for a quarantine or during a time when we should avoid being around others.

“And then we need to follow that plan and utilize what we have on hand before we make what used to be a second-natured, quick trip to the grocery store,” she said. “We need to be a little more intentional in how we shop; do some work ahead of time to plan meals, then use what we have on hand so that we can keep our distance until things get better.”

Planning a week’s worth of meals isn’t always easy for some. “I have friends who write day-to-day menus in their normal life, and that works well for them,” Procter said.

“But for others – and especially those of us who may have multiple people in our homes for meals that we don’t normally serve – it’s going to take some adapting on the fly.”

Procter offered a few tips for planning meals:

  1. Buy items in bulk. Instead of buying grab-and-go breakfast bars, buy a box of bulk oatmeal instead. You can provide a lot of servings at once, and it’s often less expensive.
  2. Start with the basics, such as sugar, flour or other items that help you make food from scratch. “Quick meals are maybe not as important right now as much as having enough variety on hand to make flexibility a key part of menu planning,” Procter said.
  3. Buy shelf-stable foods. Fresh produce is great, but to avoid multiple trips to the store during the week, be sure to buy canned goods too. “Foods that are in cans or frozen are packed at their peak of nutritional value, so we know that those are healthy foods,” Procter said. “Use the fresh items first, then incorporate those that will keep longer.”
  4. Include kids in meal planning. “They will probably have some good ideas, and there are lessons that can be shared, too,” Procter said. It’s one of those times that we will think back on and you’ll appreciate having the time to hang out with the kids and teaching them to cook.”

“All of this may be a little hard to adjust to,” Procter said, “and you’re probably going to have some cabin fever setting in soon, if it hasn’t already. But think of family activities that are going to be welcome and reassuring, like cooking or baking or cleaning up together after you’ve had a food experiment or activity.”

Planning meals will also help consumers use common sense and avoid the temptation to hoard goods: “Don’t purposely clear out a shelf in the grocery store of something you need,” she said. “If there are six on the shelf, and you need just one or two, don’t take all six. Leave some there for the next guy.”

“Take what you need, use it, plan well, incorporate everything you have into those menus and be smart about using all of our resources now.”

For more information, visit the K-State Research and Extension food nutrition and safety webpage.

K-State Research and Extension has compiled numerous publications and other information to help people take care of themselves and others during times of crisis. See the complete list of resources online.

Local K-State Research and Extension agents are still on the job during this time of closures and confinement. They, too, are practicing social distancing. Email is the best way to reach them, but call forwarding and voicemail allow for closed local offices to be reached by phone as well (some responses could be delayed). To find out how to reach your local agents, visit the K-State Research and Extension county and district directory.