“Music Therapy! What’s that?!”

Tune In For Music Therapy

Clap along if you feel like you know what MT’s do. Someday, people will know what a music therapist actually does. Scratch that! TODAY is the day!

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is defined as the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music therapy, an established health profession, uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs in an individual and group setting. Music therapy can be used across the lifespan of those with varying diagnoses. In short, music therapists use music to help individuals work on non-musical goals. (Image: Northwestern University, 2018)

Oh, Oh It’s Magic…

There is a difference between music AS therapy and music IN therapy. Music AS therapy is a broad use of music to appeal to a wide range of behaviors, emotions, and well-being. Music used AS therapy is not directed at a specific outcome, and it is frequently used by those who consider themselves music therapists but have not been formally trained. Music IN therapy is music used to achieve a specific goal or set of goals. Music IN therapy consists of different techniques based on the best evidence available. Those that use music IN therapy are highly trained both in music and in therapeutic techniques. Until the middle of the 20th century most music therapy practice followed the music AS therapy model. It has only been in the past 60 or 70 years ago that we see more attention paid to music IN therapy.

(Ali Blackwood Illustration)

Follow the yellow brick road….for a degree in music therapy

         (Image: AMTA website)

Music therapists that receive a bachelor’s degree or higher, have to complete an approved program at a university or college, including a clinical internship of 1200 hours. Then they are allowed to become credentialed (Music Therapist-Board Certified) through the Certification Board of Music Therapists. Music therapists not only study music, but they also study psychology and medicine. The music therapy field is an evidence-based profession with a foundation in research. Music therapists don’t simply play songs for people or play music in the background. Music therapists complete a full assessment to determine individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, develop non-musical goals and objectives, create a treatment plan that can help with the transfer of skills to their daily lives, and continue to evaluate the needs and progress of each client through the entirety of the therapeutic process.

Where, oh where can you find an MT? At 35+ settings!

  • Medical facilities
    • General hospital settings
    • Hospice
    • Oncology
    • Physical Rehabilitation
    • Home health agencies
    • Out-patient clinics
    • Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities
    • Partial hospitalization
    • Children’s hospitals or units
  • Geriatric facilities
    • Adult day care
    • Assisted living
    • Geriatric facilities (not nursing)
    • Geriatric psychiatric units
    • Nursing homes
  • Developmental centers
    • Group homes
    • Intermediate care facilities
    • Community day treatment programs
    • State institutions
  • Educational facilities
    • Children’s day care/preschool settings
    • Early intervention programs
    • Schools (K-12)
  • Mental health settings
    • Child and adolescent treatment centers
    • Psychiatric hospitals
    • Community mental health centers
    • Substance abuse programs
    • Forensic facilities
    • Inpatient psychiatric units
  • Private practice settings
    • Music therapy clinics
    • Clients’ homes
    • Providing contract services in any facilities previously listed
  • Other settings
    • Diagnosis-specific support groups
    • Wellness and prevention programs
    • Work in music retailer setting

Benefits of music therapy…let me count the ways…

Music therapists can work with individuals who have a variety of needs that could include medical, learning and academic, mental health, rehabilitation, developmental, communication, or wellness. The populations in which music therapists work with range from premature infants to older adults. There are numerous ways music therapy has been found to address the needs of those in an individual or group setting. The areas include, but are not limited to:

  1. Labor and Delivery – relaxation; support of birthing process
  2. Premature Infants – improved feeding behavior and weight gain
  3. Neurological Disorders & Brain Injury – protocols that activate neurological responses in support of cognitive, motor, communication, and social objectives
  4. Chronic Illness & Oncology – music + coping techniques to assist with pain management and stress reduction
  5. Mental Health – provided opportunities to explore and process therapeutic issues
  6. Medical and Surgical Tests/Procedures – reduce anxiety and improve treatment response
  7. Healthy aging & Optimum Performance – provide music programs based on theories of personal growth, awareness, and learning
  8. Developmental Disabilities & Autism Spectrum – teach cognitive, motor, social, communication, and daily living skills
  9. Substance Abuse and Addictive Disorders – use introspective techniques such as songwriting and lyric analysis to aid clients’ transition from denial to determination in recovery process
  10. Physical Disabilities and Sensory Impairments – music incorporated into rehabilitative treatment to allow frustration to yield to fulfillment
  11. Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia – access individuals’ past to trigger short- and long-term memory, decrease agitation, and enhance reality orientation
  12. Hospice and Bereavement – help guide individual and/or loved ones in life’s processes

                                                               

              (Image: Kora Leith Blog)

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#ArchivesBlackEducation

#ArchivesBlackEducation

Every month Fort Collins Museum of Discovery participates in a themed #ArchivesHashtagParty on Twitter. This month’s theme is #ArchivesBlackEducation in honor of Black History Month.

What is an #ArchivesHashtagParty you ask? That’s a great question! This article from the New York Times, The Record Keepers’ Rave, helps explain just that. Started by The National Archives and Records Administration of the United States, participating archives, museums, and libraries tune in to share a treasure trove of photos, stories, collections, and more.

For #ArchivesBlackEducation, the museum shared the following on Twitter (@focomod) of our local history from the Archive & Collections at FCMoD.

Let’s get started, shall we?

This #ArchivesHashtagParty we’re exploring local African American history with #ArchivesBlackEducation. Pictured here is Ella Mae Cook, Fort Collins Resident from about 1931 to 1944.

Grafton St. Clair Norman was the first Black student to attend and graduate from CSU, then Colorado Agricultural College. He became the 2nd lieutenant in the Army and teacher in Kentucky. This photo appeared in the 1896 CAC yearbook.

Charley Clay arrived in Colorado in 1864. By the early 1900s, the Clay home was a center of Black social life in Larimer County, hosting groups such as the local chapter of the Paul Laurence Dunbar Literary Society.

William Clay, son of Charley Clay, served with the Fort Collins Volunteer Fire Department in the 1890s and was a member of the State Champion Hose Team in 1897.

As a child, Academy Award winning film star Hattie McDaniel briefly lived in this home on Cherry Street in Fort Collins and attended Franklin School. She would later move to Denver on her way to Hollywood.

In March of 1939, Mattie Lyle sued the owner of the State Theater in Fort Collins for discrimination and won damager. Her daughter Joyce, pictured here, served as a witness to her mother’s testimony.

During the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, Charles and Mamie Birdwhitle’s home on Oak Street in Fort Collins was a gathering spot for Black gospel groups, jazz orchestras, and scholars visiting Northern Colorado.

Virgil Thomas was a star left tackle – and the only Black player – for the Fort Collins High School Lambkins in the late 1930s.

In 1969, members of the Mexican-American Committee for Equality & the Black Student Assn. demanded more recruitment of minority students and faculty. Shown here is a protest they held at the home of college president William Morgan.

That wraps up this month’s #ArchivesHashtagParty! Explore more Black history with a walking tour from our friends at the Fort Collins History Preservation Department.

Thanks for tuning in! We’ll share next month’s #ArchivesHashtagParty content with you back here on the blog.

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Mindful Mondays: Do Animals Feel Emotion?

Written by Willow Sedam, Animal Husbandry Staff

Mindful Mondays: Do Animals Feel Emotion?

Throughout history, humans have been asking questions about the natural world. But there’s one we keep coming back to with endless curiosity: do animals feel?

The ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras was an early ponderer of this very question. A vegetarian, Pythagoras believed that animals and humans had the same souls, and should be treated equally. He was even known for going into markets and purchasing live animals, only to set them free. But Pythagoras’s ideas were controversial – the later philosopher Aristotle created his own theory, a ranked view of nature that put humans at the top and the lesser, “irrational” animals below them. For Aristotle, and many thinkers who followed in his footsteps, the idea of animals having souls or feeling pain, let alone emotion, was a strange one.

 

But is it really that odd to imagine that animals might feel emotions like we do?

 

After all, it’s not hard to find instances of animal behavior that appear to be driven by emotion. Take your dog to the vet or start up the vacuum cleaner around him, and you’ll see a response that looks a lot like anxiety, fear, or even anger. If animals appear to feel negative emotions, couldn’t they feel positive ones as well? Might they feel a similarly wide range of emotions to ours?

Elephants and whales have both been observed behaving unusually around dead herd members, guarding the bodies of fallen friends for days, or carrying deceased calves with them for miles. And great apes have even been able to communicate their own emotions to researchers. Koko, a gorilla who had been taught sign language, responded “Bad, sad, bad, frown, cry, frown, sad, trouble” when learning her adopted kitten had died.

Koko with her kitten, photo from the Los Angeles Times

 

It’s no surprise that these animals – some of the smartest in the world – would be able to feel; but it’s not just the big-brained mammals like us who display signs of emotion.

 

Parrots and crows are exceptionally bright birds, and their intelligence seems to extend to the complexity of their emotional lives as well. Crows have been known to form bonds with humans who feed them, and grudges against those they don’t like. They will even bring gifts to humans they like, and teach other crows to attack those they don’t. And parrots can get so bored in captivity that, without anything to occupy their clever brains, they will develop compulsive behaviors similar to neurosis in humans, such as plucking out their own feathers.

Some fish have even been observed to exhibit individual personalities. In a study where new and possibly dangerous things were introduced to a school of fish, some fish would approach aggressively, some curiously, and some would simply hide. Each new item saw the same fish approaching in the same manor – the aggressive one continued to act aggressively, the shy one continued to act shy. Each fish had their own unique temperament!

And let’s not forget invertebrates – those animals without a backbone like insects, worms, and squids. You might not think them very smart or emotionally deep, but you would be doing them a great disservice. Octopuses are renowned for their intelligence, despite their short and solitary lifestyle. Captive octopuses enjoy playing with humans – and will attack ones they don’t like. They’re smart enough to get bored, and smart enough to escape their tanks looking for something more interesting. That’s a lot of complexity for an animal so closely related to slugs.

 

So, problem solved: animals do feel, and they feel quite a lot! …Right?

 

Unfortunately, the scientific jury is still out in this case. While there are plenty of behaviors that we observe in animals that might look like what we think of as emotions, we can’t exactly ask a lizard how it’s feeling. So, we rely on assumptions – assumptions that could be wrong.

The biggest problem we face when trying to answer these questions about animal emotions is called anthropomorphism, the action of projecting human traits onto animals, plants, or even inanimate objects. It’s a bit like seeing faces in clouds – they’re not really there, but we’re so used to looking for them that we conjure them up anyway. While an action or expression might mean one thing to a human, it could mean something completely different to another animal. While humans smile when happy, chimpanzees bare their teeth as a threat display. And while a dog wagging its tail may be excited or happy, a cat wagging its tail is definitely not. It’s easy to misread these behaviors and displays, and easier still to project a human idea of an emotion onto an animal who may experience the world in a vastly different way from us.

 

But just as it is important not to project our own emotions onto animals and their behavior, it’s important, too, to not assume that animals are mindless or emotionless drones. It’s tempting to think that animals experience less than we do – that they don’t feel pain, sorrow, or joy. But nature has proven time and time again that intelligence and emotion come in all shapes and sizes. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to be kind – to your human and non-human neighbors.

 

To stay informed on the latest Mental Health: Mind Matters programs and experiences, visit the Mind Matters webpage and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us in your experiences when you visit the museum to help us #MakeItOk. 

We look forward to welcoming you to FCMoD to experience this amazing exhibit!  

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Mindful Mondays: Animal Enrichment

Written by Willow Sedam, Animal Husbandry Staff

Mindful Mondays: Animal Enrichment

Just like us, animals can get bored. Have you ever been bored stuck inside on a rainy day? Imagine if you lived your entire life in your house –  many animals kept in captivity in zoos, aquariums, and even our own homes do spend their whole lives in one place. And without proper enrichment, animals can get bored quickly!

 

So, what is enrichment?

Behavioral, or environmental, enrichment, is anything that makes an animal’s life more interesting! It could be training a dog to sit and stay, or giving an octopus a complex puzzle to solve. It can be rearranging an animal’s cage for a change of scenery, or introducing new and exciting sounds or scents to them.

 

At the museum, we have our own animals – from black-footed ferrets to tree frogs – who all need enrichment. But enrichment comes in all different shapes and sizes!

Our colony of domesticated fancy rats are smart, omnivorous foragers, and need lots to do to keep their brains working. One day, they might get a new toy or a hiding place like a tunnel or wicker ball in their enclosure. The next, they might get peanuts hidden inside of cardboard tubes that they have to sniff out and chew open to get to. One of the keys to enrichment is variability – if an animal gets the same kind of enrichment at the same time every day or week, the novelty can wear off. Switching up enrichment styles and schedules is as important as the enrichment itself!

 

But enrichment isn’t one size fits all. Every animal is different, and so are the things we give them to keep them interested and excited.

 

The museum’s ornate box turtle, Tara, isn’t very good at sniffing out treats or chewing open cardboard boxes, so her enrichment takes a different form. She gets walks – inside the museum when the weather is cold, and out in the big backyard when it’s warmer. She loves her walks, and spends her outdoors time digging, hunting ants, and finding rocks to carry around in her beak. And even Tara likes treats – though instead of peanuts, she gets mealworms, which she chases down and gobbles up! To figure out what kind of enrichment an animal needs, we have to think about what our animals would be doing in the wild; Tara is actually a Colorado native, so spending time foraging in the Big Backyard is the perfect enrichment activity for her.

But what happens when animals don’t get the enrichment they need? Like us, bored animals can become frustrated, restless, or even depressed. They can get lethargic and low-energy, pick fights with other animals in the same cage, or pace the same path over and over again. Enrichment is important for animals of all shapes and sizes, from lions and tigers to little turtles like Tara.

 

Want to try giving your pet enrichment? There are lots of different ways to, and you might already be doing it without realizing! Training your dog to sit and stay, or playing catch-the-string with your cat are some easy ways to get your pet’s mind and body active. You could also introduce your pets to new (pet-safe) foods, or interesting and novel scents. Or, rearrange their cage, move their bed, and hide their toys in new places around the house. You can even make your own puzzle feeder: take a shallow box, cut holes of various sizes in the top, and sprinkle in some treats. See how your pet thinks through the problem to get to its prize – does it fish the treats out with a paw, shake the box until they fall out, or tear it open to get to the food?

There are tons of different fun enrichment projects you and your pet can work on together – so next time you’re feeling bored, consider designing a new toy for your furry (or slimy, scaly, or feathered) friend. You just might discover that it’s just as enriching for you as it is for them!

 

 

To stay informed on the latest Mental Health: Mind Matters programs and experiences, visit the Mind Matters webpage and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us in your experiences when you visit the museum to help us #MakeItOk. 

We look forward to welcoming you to FCMoD to experience this amazing exhibit!  

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Mindful Mondays: DIY Fidget

Mindful Mondays: DIY Fidget

A fidget is an object that can be fiddled with to expend some energy and help the brain focus on the task at hand! Make your own to help you remain calm in stressful situations, or to help you focus when doing homework or another task!

Supplies:

  • Craft stick or popsicle stick 
  • Chenille stem (any color)
  • 6-8 pony beads
  • Painters tape or washi tape

Instructions:

  1. String the beads on to the chenille stem.
  2. Lay the stem on the craft stick and bend the ends of the stem around the ends of the stick.
  3. Use a piece of tape to attached the chenille stem to the craft stick. Make sure your tape covers the ends of the chenille stem so they don’t poke anyone!
  4. Keep your fidget handy, and use it to keep calm or maintain focus!

 

Each mind matters. Taking care of our mental health is important to all of us – everywhere and always. Learn more by visiting FCMoD’s special exhibition Mental Health: Mind Matters, open through January 10th.

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Happy Birthday to the Grandparent of Guitars – The Fender Esquire!

 The year 2020 marks the 70th birthday of Leo Fender’s first solid-body electric guitar. It was also the first mass-produced electric guitar in history, and laid the initial yellow bricks on the road to Guitar Oz. 

 

In 1946, the Fender Electric Instruments Company was formed in Fullerton, California. Clarence Leonidas Fender had been born in Anaheim in 1909, and at only 37 years old he would start the company that would lay the bedrock for the modern electric guitar. He had opened his first shop, Fender’s Repair Service, 8 years prior in 1938, but was ready to move on. He turned the radio shop over to his friend Dale Hyatt and went fulltime into the music instrument business. By 1949, Fender guitars and amps were firmly established in the music industry. To the left, a photo shows a young Leo Fender (far right) and others with an early Fender guitar model.

The year 1949 was also monumental because Leo and coworker George Fullerton completed the first prototype for the famous Esquire guitar. The prototype (pictured to the left) shared a similar body shape with later guitars of the same vein. The shape was a dreadnaught style with a single cutaway, allowing easy access to the upper frets of the guitar. In the next year, 1950, the Fender Electric Instruments Company officially released the first mass produced guitar ever, the Fender Esquire. The biggest change from the prototype to the first model (seen below) was the headstock shape. The Esquire was a solid-body, single pickup electric guitar – a pickup is a magnet that “picks up” the vibration from the strings and sends it to an amp. The pickups on the first Esquires pictured are the metal boxes at the end of the strings. The guitar also had one knob to control the overall volume and one knob to control the tone, or timbre, of the guitar’s pickup. The first advertised color scheme was a black body with a white pick guard, but later produced Esquires had a blonde body with a black pick guitar (as pictured). This first model also did not have a truss rod. A truss rod is a piece of metal that runs inside and along the neck. The end of the rod can be turned with a tool which will push or pull the neck in one direction or another. This is used to help straighten the neck when the tension from the strings causes it to bend over time. Only about 50 of these first Esquires were made. As orders increased, the needed improvements were recognized by Leo and George. Just months later they set out to revamp their already very popular electric guitar model.

 

Later in 1950, Fender came out with what was shortly known as the Broadcaster (pictured on the left). This model came with a few upgrades which included the addition of a much needed truss rod along with a second pickup, located next to the base of the neck. This pickup, because of its location and construction, had a much rounder and less bright sound. There was also a pickup selector, a switch which would allow the player to turn on one pickup, the other, or both. This variety of tones and combinations made the Broadcaster a much more versatile instrument and the added truss rod made it more durable. At the time, fellow musical instrument company, Gretch, caught popular wind of Fender’s new release and took legal action against the name, due to the conflict of their Gretch Broadkaster drums. Fender agreed to change the name and “Broadcaster” was removed from the Fender headstock. During the time that the company was renaming their flagship guitar, the guitar they were producing had nothing but “Fender” on the headstock. Guitars from this short era are known as Nocasters, hinting to their lack of a visual name. In 1951, Fender rereleased their electric guitar model, and named it the Telecaster. To this day, the Telecaster model still carries its iconic name, form, and sound onto the stage and into the studio through the hands of countless musicians.

Leo did not stop there in 1951. That same year he released his company’s first electric bass model, known as the Precision Bass (a 1952 model to the left). This model is still mass produced today and is one of the most popular and used bass guitars. Next in line came Leo’s second guitar model, that would achieve him even more historic fame and forever make him an icon in the guitar world. The Fender Stratocaster followed the Telecaster in 1954, and took the world by storm. It has stood atop the pillar of modern guitar as the most recognized shape and symbol of the instrument. It has been used on countless famous recordings and is only second in Fender origin to the one and only Telecaster.

 

 

 

In 1964, Fender began producing their first acoustic style guitars. Later that year, the visually distinctive, offset guitar called the Mustang was released. Unfortunately, Leo Fender began developing health problems at age 55 and decided to sell his company. On January 5th, 1965, Fender sold to Columbia Records Distribution Corps. for $13 million. Throughout the years after Leo’s ownership, Fender has undergone many changes. Regardless, they have remained at the top of the list of guitar manufacturing and developing giants. Even though decades of growth and change have coursed through the Fender name, the legendary shape of the original Esquire holds true in what is still known as the Telecaster. Above is a photo of an old guitar factory line. Today, only high end guitars are handmade, a testament to how popular guitar playing has become.

Happy Birthday to the Fender Esquire! 2020 marks its 70th year in existence. It still remains one of the most recognized and favored guitars around the world and many competing companies create similar styles. The specific photograph to the right is of the 70th anniversary Esquire model released in 2020. It has a special seafoam green finish, but features the classic white pick guard and single pickup. This rerelease is a passionate ode to an all time classic. The Esquire was the first ever mass produced electric guitar, a huge achievement that paved the way for so much. For such a cornerstone in a moment of guitar history, the shape, sound, and love for the Fender Esquire remains timeless.

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Fort Collins Find & Seek: Halloween Edition

Post written by Linda Moore, Curator of Collections

Fort Collins Find & Seek: Halloween Edition

The Archives and Collections staff are here to wish you a Happy Halloween! This Halloween Edition of Historical Find and Seek uses spooky photographs from the Archive at Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Try to find all of the items in the photographs using the links to the Fort Collins History Connect Database!

First photograph: “Holloween [Halloween] Masks”

This photograph (T00558B) shows Halloween masks from “Life of the Party” in downtown Fort Collins.

  • 21 masks
  • 8 masks with hair
  • Can you find any masks that are not human faces?
  • 2 price tags hanging off masks

Second photograph: “Methodist Women’s Halloween Party”

This photograph (H08932) shows a Methodist Women’s Halloween Party.

  • 1 mask
  • 15 cat pins
  • 2 dolls
  • 2 teddy bears

Third photograph: “Halloween costumes”

The photograph (T01280) shows the staff at the Fort Collins City Clerk dressed up for Halloween.

  • Someone dressed as Abraham Lincoln
  • 2 people wearing glasses
  • A coffee mug
  • A typewriter
  • How many people in the photograph are wearing collared shirts?

 

This photograph (T02651) shows a “bewitching display” in Fort Collins

Looking for a handy way to print this activity? Download the PDF here!

Have a safe and happy Halloween, everyone!

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Mindful Mondays: Celebración del Día de Muertos

Post written by Katie Auman from Poudre River Public Library District, originally posted October 17, 2019.

Celebración y Ofrenda del Día de Muertos

“La cultura es lo que, en la muerte, continúa siendo la vida.”

El día de muertos es una celebración de México y Latinoamérica donde cada año las familias se reúnen el 1 y 2 de noviembre para honrar a sus ancestros y seres queridos. El origen de esta celebración data cientos de años atrás cuando los Aztecas celebraban rituales durante el verano dedicados a la muerte. Después de la colonización, las fechas de las festividades se cambiaron para coincidir con creencias post-colombinas como “la noche de todos los santos.”

Desde entonces, esta celebración ha sido acogida en diferentes partes del mundo y se centra en honrar, recordar y celebrar la vida de aquellos que ya han partido.

Ofrenda

La ofrenda o altar es un elemento fundamental en esta tradición, la cual es cuidadosamente creada en honor de los familiares o personajes ilustres fallecidos. Es importante señalar que cada familia o individuo crea una ofrenda que es personal, compleja y que utiliza detalles y elementos que tienen un gran significado. En la siguiente imagen encontrará un breve resumen de algunos de estos elementos y sus significados.

 

Altares en miniatura para niños y familias

Es fácil crear un altar en miniatura del Día de Muertos inspirado en los altares más grandes que verán en las celebraciones tradicionales. Con este proyecto de “hágalo usted mismo”, podrá construir un altar incorporando los elementos tradicionales de una ofrenda con su toque personal, pero en un espacio más pequeño como una caja de zapatos.

Material:

  • Caja de zapatos
  • Papel construcción o papel de envoltura para cubrir su caja
  • Marcadores, crayones o pintura
  • Tela
  • Tijeras
  • Pegamento, cinta adhesiva o engrapadora
  • Vela
  • Flores / Cempazuchitl
  • Papel Picado
  • Calaveras de Azúcar
  • Fotografía de su ser querido
  • Vaso con agua
  • Algo para comer
  • Objetos de especial interés para su ser querido

Si no tiene estos artículos, ¡deje volar su imaginación! Haga sus propias flores con papel y dibuje sus decoraciones.

Paso 1

Utilice tela, papel construcción, marcadores, etc. para decorar la caja de zapatos en colores como morado, rosa mexicano, naranja y rojo. Cubra el interior y el exterior de la caja de zapatos.

Paso 2

Coloque una foto del ser querido que está honrando en el centro de la caja. Llene la caja con artículos que le recuerden a esa persona. Cualquier elemento puede ser una ofrenda – fotos, objetos de especial interés de su ser querido, pertenencias, etc.

Paso 3

Decore los espacios vacíos de la caja y añada alimentos o dulces.

Paso 4

Decore la orilla de la caja con flores, velas, papel picado y un pequeño vaso de agua. Estos elementos representan los cuatro elementos: la tierra, el fuego, el viento y el agua.

 

 

Día de Muertos Celebration

“Culture is what, in death, continues to be life.”

The Day of the Dead / Día de Muertos is an annual Mexican and Latin American celebration when families gather to honor the memory of deceased loved ones on November 1 and 2. Scholars trace the origins of this celebration back hundreds of years to Aztec festivals held during the summer. After colonization, the festivities were shifted to coincide with “All Saint’s Eve.”

Since then, the festivity has been celebrated all over the world and centers on honoring, remembering, and celebrating the lives of those who have departed.

Traditional Altar Display

One of the most visual parts of the Día de Muertos tradition is the altar, a carefully crafted centerpiece of the annual celebration. Each family or individual’s Día de Muertos altar is a complex and personal creation with incredible symbolism as each element included carries specific meaning. Here are the most important elements, from flowers to food to fire, and what they mean.

 

DIY Shoebox Altar for Kids and Families

It’s easy to create a Día de Muertos miniature altar modeled after the larger altars you’ll see at traditional celebrations. You can still follow the requirements of an authentic altar and personalize it, but in a smaller space. This is a great DIY craft for kids!

What you’ll need:

  • A shoebox
  • Construction paper or wrapping paper to cover your box
  • Markers, crayons, or paint
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Glue, tape, or stapler
  • Candle
  • Flowers / Cempazuchitl
  • Tissue paper / Papel Picado
  • Sugar Skull / Calaveras de Azúcar
  • A photograph of your loved one
  • A small glass with something to drink
  • Something to eat
  • Offerings (items of particular interest to your loved one)

If you don’t have these items, feel free to think outside the box and get creative! Create orange marigold flowers/cempazuchitl flowers out of paper or cut out and color your own decorations.

Step 1

Use your fabric, construction paper, markers, etc. to decorate the shoebox in colors like purple, pink, orange, and red. Cover the inside and the outside of the shoebox.

Step 2

Place a photo of your loved one you are honoring in the center of the box. Fill the box with items that remind you of that person. Any item can be an ofrenda – photos, objects, anything.

Step 3

Fill the remaining space in the shoebox with décor and add other treats and foods.

Step 4

Surround the box with flowers, candles, tissue paper, and small glass of water. These items represent the four elements of earth, fire, wind, and water.

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Daily Discovery: Endangered & Forgotten

Post written by Alexa Leinaweaver, Live Animal Husbandry Coordinator.

Daily Discovery: Endangered & Forgotten

National Wildlife Day is September 4, 2020! To celebrate, let’s explore some of the less well known endangered species in Colorado.

We hear a lot about endangered species these days, as the climate changes around us and human activities challenge wildlife survival. Often the articles and advertisements you see feature fuzzy and adorable animals like the Giant Panda or the Sea Otter. Here in Colorado, our featured endangered wildlife tends to be appealingly majestic, like the Grey Wolf (whose reintroduction to Colorado is on November’s ballot for 2020) or even FCMOD’s beloved Black-footed Ferrets. These are species that definitely deserve attention – but there are many more of our wildlife neighbors that need our attention and help that may not be so cute or exciting. There are so many ignored species in the world that are in difficult or dangerous situations thanks to habitat loss, pollution, water loss, and many other human activities.

Here are just a few of our Colorado wildlife neighbors in need:

Least Tern (Sterna antillarum), Federally Endangered

The Least tern is the smallest member of the gull and tern family. They’re only 9 inches long. They nest in the summer on sandbars along major rivers in the central U.S., including in Colorado. This bird was listed as federally endangered in 1985. A lot of nesting habitat in the U.S. has been lost to the birds because of the ways that humans have changed the river systems: dams and reservoirs; introduction of invasive plants; stabilizing river banks, hydropower, and diverting water.

Bonytail Chub (Gila elegans), Federally Critically Endangered

The bonytail is a freshwater fish that lives in the Colorado River basin. It can grow up to 2 feet long and can live up to 50 years. It was added to the endangered list in 1980, and is now the rarest big-river fish in the Colorado. The bonytail, along with numerous other fish species in the Colorado, suffered drastic population declines after the construction of Hoover Dam and other human projects that divert water from the river and change how the water flowed and pooled. These fish also suffer from competition from non-native fish species that humans have introduced into bonytail habitat. At this time, there is no self-sustaining wild population of these fish, and human-run hatcheries are all that maintains the species.

North Park Phacelia (Phacelia formosula), Federally Endangered

The North Park Phacelia only exists in one place in the entire world: the North Park area in Jackson County. It likes to grow on bare slopes and eroding rocks in ravines in the North Park area, where few other plants are able to survive. This phacelia was listed as federally endangered in 1982. It is threatened by livestock, off-road vehicles, commercial and residential development, and petroleum exploration. It also suffers from the loss of pollinating insects in the area, which it depends on to reproduce.

You may be wondering what you can do to be a better neighbor to these species, and the other species in our beautiful state that are threatened or endangered. Here are some steps that you can try:

Educate yourself. Learn about the different kinds of wildlife that live in Colorado with us, and what kinds of things we humans are doing that are putting them at risk.

Take action. Think about how much water you use, or whether the plants in your yard are native or invasive. Consider how much energy you use leaving on lights in an empty room, or streaming your favorite songs rather than downloading them. Look at how much gas your vehicle uses, or how many plastics or other petroleum products you use on a daily basis. Even a small change you can make in your own behavior can be a help to our endangered neighbors.

Talk to your friends and family about why this wildlife is in danger, and why it’s important to you. Your friends and family care about your thoughts and opinions. Help them to understand how important it is to help all.

Contact your representatives in government. These threatened and endangered species do not have a voice in our government, but you do. If you are old enough, vote for candidates that pay attention to wildlife. But at any age, you can make your voice heard! Make sure that your representatives know how important it is that we are good neighbors to all the wildlife in Colorado, in the country, and in the world.

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Daily Discovery: Women Who Rock

Post written by  Forrester Tamkun, Music & Sound Lab Assistant.

Daily Discovery: Women Who Rock

Throughout history there has always been amazing and strong women. Here are a few such woman who made their mark in the Music Industry.

Dolly Parton

Dolly Rebecca Parton was born on January 19th, 1946, in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. She was the fourth of twelve children in a poor farming family. However, from a young age she showed a high aptitude toward music and would ultimately pioneer the emergence of fusing the genres of country and pop. Upon high school graduation, Dolly set off toward the music Mecca of Nashville, where here musical career began to blossom.

In Nashville, Parton became the protégée of Porter Wagoner, a star of the Grand Ole Opry. Working with Wagoner gathered attention toward Parton and she quickly became one of country’s most popular singers. Parton launched her solo career in 1974 and released her critically acclaimed song “Jolene.” She was chosen as female singer of the year by the Country Music Association (CMA) for 1975 and 1976. In 1978, Dolly began expressing her poppy side with her song “Here You Come Again,” which won her a Grammy. That same year she was declared entertainer of the year by CMA, speaking odes to her convergence of the two musical styles.

Click here to listen to “Jolene” by Dolly Parton.

Parton would continue to win Grammy’s and awards throughout her musical career and was inducted in 1999 into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Aside from heavy success in the musical realm, Parton has acted in several successful films as well as made guest appearances on many films and television shows.

She has also notably been very charitable in her life as well. In 1988 she created the Dollywood Foundation which aimed to provide educational resources and inspiration for children. She was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2004 for her enrichment of American cultural heritage.

Aretha Franklin

Perhaps one of the most distinguishable female voices in music is Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul was born Aretha Louise Franklin in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 25th, 1942. Her father, C.L. Franklin was a Baptist minister at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit for over thirty years. He was known to have a “Million-Dollar Voice” which seemingly passed onto Aretha as she grew up singing in church and learning to play the piano by ear, culminating in complete understanding of the correct tones and pitches.

Aretha signed with Columbia Records at the mere age of 18 and released her first song and album, reaching up to 10 on the billboard. In 1966 she signed with Atlantic Records and released her monumental hit song “Respect.” She released three more top ten hits through Atlantic Records and won her first two Grammy’s. Not only did Aretha achieve musical success, but she was consistently a voice that spread the importance of equality, peace, and justice for Americans.

Click here to listen to “Respect” by Arethra Franklin.

Aretha set history as the first woman to be inducted in the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. Her 1972 album, Amazing Grace, is the best-selling gospel album of all time. Franklin collaborated with countless other musicians throughout her life, including George Michael, Elton John, and James Brown. She too appeared in film, most famously alongside Ray Charles and James Brown in the hit feature film The Blues Brothers, in 1980.

The Queen of Soul will always resonate as one of the most powerful voices in music history. Her music and what it stood for will echo the dire importance of racial equality and justice in society.

Joan Jett

Aretha set history as the first woman to be inducted in the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. Her 1972 album, Amazing Grace, is the best-selling gospel album of all time. Franklin collaborated with countless other musicians throughout her life, including George Michael, Elton John, and James Brown. She too appeared in film, most famously alongside Ray Charles and James Brown in the hit feature film The Blues Brothers, in 1980.

Click here to listen to “I Love Rock n’ Roll by Joan Jett.

The success of The Runaways helped Joan Jett go solo in the late 1970’s. However, it was the band she would form after her solo career that would really help Jett take off in music history. In 1980, Jett formed the group Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. The band’s most famous song, “I Love Rock N’ Roll,” is become a staple in the history of the genre. It was released in 1981 and was the top song on the Billboard charts for seven weeks straight. It is in fact Billboard’s number 56th song of all time and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016.

Joan Jett herself was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Her albums have achieved either gold or platinum awards. On top of achieved monumental fame and success in the music, she is also an inspiration for other realms. She has consistently been a prominent feminist icon and animal activist throughout her life. She will forever be a symbol of Rock N’ Rock and feminine strength that helped push the fresh roots of rock music into Earth.

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell was a Canadian experimental singer-songwriter who was once described as the “Yang to Bob Dylan’s Yin, equaling him in richness and profusion of imagery.” She was born on November 7, 1943, under the original name Roberta Joan Anderson, in Fort McLeod, Alberta, Canada. She studied art in her hometown until 1964 when she moved to Toronto. There she began performing at local clubs and coffeehouses, and had a brief manage to folksinger Chuck Mitchell. In 1967, Joni Mitchell relocated to New York City where she made her debut album, Songs to Seagull. Her first album was produced by David Crosby and was a massive success with much attention paid toward its maturity of lyrics.

With each following release Mitchell’s popularity and following grew. Clouds in 1969 won a Grammy for best folk performance and Blue in 1971 was her first million-selling album. Mitchell’s career has not slowed throughout her life. She has released a total of 19 studio albums and 3 live albums. She is without a doubt one of the first women in modern rock to achieve a longevity of critical recognition. She inspired countless artists including Bob Dylan, Prince, Suzanne Vega, and Alanis Morissette. She was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll hall of fame in 1997 and in 2002 won a Grammy Award for a lifetime achievement.

Click here to listen to “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell.

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Educational opportunities like this are supported in part by Bohemian.

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