Celebrate Screen-Free Week

April 15-20, 2019 
Scroll down for a schedule of non-electronic family activities in Pulaski, Richland, Orwell and Williamstown. All these events are free of charge. Scroll all the way down for a short history of Screen-Free Week and resources for learning more.
Updates and resources will also be posted at https://www.facebook.com/ScreenFreeWeekPulaski/

What it's all about:

Screen-Free Week is a giant celebration, a chance to disconnect from your TV, computer and other recreational electronics and reconnect with your family, your community and the natural world. Make time to play, read, volunteer, learn, hike or create. The idea is to really do things, not view someone else doing them. 

Try this experiment:

The average American spends 7 hours a day on recreational screentime (TV, Facebook, YouTube, chat rooms, video games...) How about you? Keep a log of how you spend your free time during a normal week, including all the screens you use. Make notes of screen-free things you wish you had time for. During Screen-Free Week, step way from your screens during your free time and do some of those screen-free things. When the week is over, think about which activities satisfy you most.  

The point isn't that the screen is bad...The point is lack of proportion, the abandonment of all else, and the strange absent-present state of mind this compulsion produces.

What are the best uses of this device? Is it altering how I think or feel, changing the rhythm of my days? Are the effects good or bad?

--Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers

Free activities in Pulaski, Richland, Orwell, Sandy Creek, and Williamstown:

Multi-day Events:

Monday-Saturday, 8 pm, weather permitting: Woodcock watching at St. Francis Farm (136 Wart Road, Orwell)  Woodcocks are football-shaped birds with long bills, upside-down brains, and courtship displays which involve spiraling 200 feet into the air while singing just around dusk. Call ahead (315-298-2844) or email (stfrancisfarm@ymail.com) if you'd like to arrive early, take a nature walk, enjoy spring wildflowers and look for salamanders before the light fades, or if you'd like to schedule a day visit to walk trails, learn flora & fauna, help with indoor & outdoor work.   .    

Monday, April 15:

All day long: Crazy Librarian Escape Room at Snow Memorial Building (4917 Jefferson Street, Pulaski NY), organized by Pulaski Public Library—people sign up in advance for half-hour slots.  Call to reserve your spot: 315-298-2717.    

6 PM: Bunny art canvas at Williamstown library ,(2877 County Rte 17, Williamstown), sponsored by Ricard Grange   

Tuesday, April 16:

10 AM - 12 Noon: Games and toys from earlier years at the Pulaski Historical Society, in the Carriage House (3428 Maple Avenue, Pulaski). Ice cream comes will be served.  Contact Mary Lou Morrow, 315-298-4650, phspulaski@aol.com. 

10 AM-11 AM: Paws and Tales. Join Pulaski Public Library and animals from United Friends of Homeless Animals for a "purrfect" Story Time at the Library (4917 Jefferson Street). 

2 PM-6 PM:  The Half-Shire Historical Society and the Rural & Migrant Ministry will jointly host a variety of crafts and games as well as child-friendly dinner fare, face painting, and sundaes at the Half-Shire Historical Society on County Route 48 in Richland. Call 315-298-2986  for more information.

3 PM: LEGO mania at the Pulaski Public Library (4917 Jefferson St). Come build with us.  Bring your imagination-- we provide the Legos.

 6:30 PM, weather permitting: Sunset nature walk at St Francis Farm (136 Wart Road,Orwell). Look for salamanders and wildflowers,listen for frogs and owls, stay on at the end if you want to watch the courting flights of woodcocks.  Call 315-298-2844 or email stfrancisfarm@ymail.com. Arrive promptly or call ahead to let us know you’re coming. 

Wednesday, April 17:

11 AM:  Mama Pajama presents: Rock and Read!  performance at Pulaski Public Library 

1:30 PM-3:30 PM, weather permitting:  Volunteer project and nature walk at St Francis Farm (136 Wart Road, Orwell). Help with planting in the garden or greenhouse, or with trail-clearing, then walk woods and field trails and look for salamanders (see following activity) as well as wildflowers and other signs of spring.

4 PM-5 PM:  “The Salamander Room” reading and activities at Cogswell Free Library (1999 Rte 2, Orwell), sponsored by Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust    

Thursday, April 18:

11 AM-12:30: Discover and Learn at Pulaski Public library with Parks Department.  Jump from station to station learning all about Piping Plovers, water pollution and more through games, scavenger hunts and crafts.   

12 noon-2 PM: Create a personalized leather bag tag with Anna Blachman at the Salmon River Fine Arts Center ( 4848 Jefferson St, Pulaski NY) Come join the fun – Create your own personalized leather bag/backpack tag (or ear bud caddy) – stamp your initials, name, nickname, and decorate with figures designs – of your choice… you will get to paint and do the assembly to create a one of a kind, just for you tag. Stop by anytime between noon and 2 PM and build something you will love to use. Contact Patricia Tanner, 315-298-7007   

2 PM: Jump into Pond Life at Selkirk Shores! (7101 State Route 3,Pulaski)   Can you name all of the insects that live in a pond? How about all of the amphibians? Come and learn about all of the organisms that live in the Frog Pond. Be sure to wear proper shoes that can get muddy and wet. Meet at the open shelter at 2 pm where we will begin our short hike to the Frog Pond.

 6-8 PM: Free drawing class with Julia Sentman at the Salmon River Fine Arts Center

6:30 PM, weather permitting: Sunset nature walk at St Francis Farm (136 Wart Road,Orwell). Look for salamanders and wildflowers,listen for frogs and owls, stay on at the end if you want to watch the courting flights of woodcocks.  Call 315-298-2844 or email stfrancisfarm@ymail.com. Arrive promptly or call ahead to let us know you’re coming.

Friday, April 19:  

10 AM: Snowy Owl Story Time, Owl Pellet Dissection, craft and games at the Pulaski Public Library (4917 Jefferson St), sponsored by Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust

1 PM: Nature Crafts at Selkirk Shores (7101 State Route 3, Pulaski). The sky is the limit! Let your imagination run free! Using natural items we find on a short hike along the Frog Pond Trail, we will create fun crafts such as pinecone animals and pine needle paint brushes. Meet at the open shelter at 1 pm. Be sure to wear sneakers or boots that can get muddy.    

8:00-9:30 PM: Park in the Dark: Guided moonlight hike with environmental educators at Selkirk Shores State Park (7101 State Route 3, Pulaski). The full moon will light the way as sounds of spring surround us on this leisurely stroll. Dress warmly. It cools down quickly by the lake after the sun goes down. Trails may be muddy. Meet at the open shelter by the beach parking lot. Call ahead to register: 315-298-5737. Don’t miss this rare chance to see the park in the dark!

Saturday, April 20:

11 AM: Come learn about salamanders at the Ainsworth Memorial Library (6064 S Main St, Sandy Creek) with the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust. Includes reading of “The Salamander Room,” ties, and snacks.
1 PM, weather permitting: Find salamanders in the woods at St Francis Farm (136 Wart Road, Orwell) 
Screen-Free Week: The Big Picture

Screen-Free Week is a national and international celebration.  Here's the basic intro from the Center for a Commercial-Free Childhood's Screen-Free Week page:

"A healthy childhood depends on a surprising thing: play! Through creative play, kids explore their physical world, build their curiosity, and expand their imaginations. But often, time spent on ad-supported screens displaces the kind of creative play kids need to thrive.

It was this displacement that worried Henry Labalme and Matt Pawa when they created TV Turnoff Week in 1994. Over the years, millions of kids and families joined Henry and Matt in turning off their TVs and going outside, playing, and having screen-free fun. In 2010, TV Turnoff Week became Screen-Free Week and it found a new home at Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

During Screen-Free Week, kids and families can unplug and reconnect with the world around them. An hour that was once dedicated to TV can become an hour of make-believe, art, reading, or enjoying nature. Both parents and kids can use this week to reconsider the value of screen-based entertainment in their lives and establish year-round screen-free habits."

(National Screen-Free Week has different dates, as you'll see if you visit the page linked above.  But here in the Pulaski area we celebrate during the school vacation.)

More Screen-Free information for families can be accessed here.  If you're trying to figure out what to do at home during Screen-Free Week, check out this list.

Screen-Free Week isn't just for kids. To learn more about how screen time can affect health and relationships for adults, click here

William Powers writes about ways of reconsidering screen time, and about the value of screen-free time, in his book Hamlet's BlackBerry, available locally through interlibrary loan. There's a short article about that here.