Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Nature backpacks available at NCRL branches

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Locals who are itching to explore the outdoors this spring and summer may want to venture to their library and check out tools to aid them when they step onto the trails.

Several branches in the North Central Regional Library (NCRL) have nature backpacks available for patrons to borrow and take with them on their outdoor journey.

Backpacks can be checked out for two weeks at a time and rechecked out if there is no waiting list. Children under 16 years old will need to have their parents complete a permission form and return them to the library before they can check out backpacks.

If a local branch does not have backpacks available to checkout, patrons can request them from another library, as they would for other materials.

These backpacks include several tools for folks to use, including binoculars, a magnifying glass and a bug viewer to view nature from faraway or up close. There is also a  hiking guide with information and maps about trails in the area and a nature book with facts about wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.

The backpacks also contain a compass, measuring tape, as well as colored pencils and a journaling template for explorers to chronicle their journey. While most of the items have to be returned, patrons can keep the journaling template.

The nature backpack program began as a pilot project in the summer of 2018. STEM Services Manager Heather Inzauskis said the Winthrop and Wenatchee library branches were the first branches to receive backpacks before they were available at other branches. NCRL is also partnering with schools to send students home with information about the program.

In addition to the backpacks available for checkout, Inzauskis said the NCRL's STEM collection has 12 backpacks available for teachers to use for their classrooms.
Inzauskis explained one objective of the program is to help patrons, especially children, become aware of variety of hiking opportunities in the region. It also promotes the use of public lands and non-profit organizations who help care for the trails and forests. The program also gives patrons, who may not be familiar with the outdoors, a chance to use high quality equipment on their hike. 

Patrons do not have to embark on a day-long hiking trip to make good use of the backpack and its equipment. Folks can use the tools to study the insects and plant life at their favorite park, or their backyard.

"Wherever you take the backpack, you'll be able to learn something from nature," Inzauskis added.For more information about the nature backpacks and other NCRL library programs, follow the link

ncrl, nature backpacks, libraries, Outdoors

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