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Fairy and gnome homes part of reading program

FORT HUNTER — Ever wonder where fairies and gnomes live? Well, this summer active readers who participate in the Mohawk Valley System Summer Reading Program have put their imaginations to the test to create and build fairy and gnome homes.

The Fort Hunter Free Library summer reading program, a joint program with the Mohawk Valley System has found creative ways to get children learning and active this summer, especially after spending most of the school year learning remotely on computer screens due to the restrictions put in place to keep students safe at the start of the pandemic when the COVID-19 virus was spreading rapidly in New York.

One way in particular has been the fairy and gnome homes that area residents may have seen popping up.

For the project, participants imagine what a fairy or gnome home might look like and then using natural materials and some inspiration to build small homes for fairies and gnomes.

After building the home, it is placed somewhere for others to find, then participants can also go on a fairy and gnome home hunt to find homes themselves. Homes have been placed throughout Ronald Mead Park on Route 30 in the hamlet of Minaville. Participants can share their homes or the homes they find on Facebook with the hashtag #518fairyhomes.

“We’re thrilled with the amount of participants,” said Beverly Osborne, president of the Fort Hunter Free Library Board of Trustees. “All have been very successful in all components.”

Osborne said the fairy and gnome homes she’s seen have been “so creative.”

There have been homes made with pebbles and rocks, a home made of feathers morphed into a knot in a tree trunk and one home had doll house furniture used inside the home.

They ask that materials used are not living materials so there is no destruction of nature and no plastic be used to respect nature.

Osborne said for the traditional summer reading program, children usually go to the library, ready to do an activity inside the library.

Shown is one of the fairy or gnome homes. (Photo courtesy of the Fort Hunter Free Library)

Now children are reading the books at home along with doing the activities at home with their family or caregivers.

“They get to go out of the four walls of the library,” Osborne said. “They’re using their imaginations while learning and reading.”

The summer reading program has been trying to find creative ways to get children learning and reading while being active and following social distancing guidelines.

Some activities done this summer including the fairy and gnome homes have been the Utica Mobile Zoo traveling to the Fort Hunter Free Library; grab ‘n’ go kits that had story books along with directions and supplies for activities such as paper bag puppets; Zoom calls; and most recently, the story walk pathway on book “Cats Colors” currently located at the Tribes Hill Recreation Park in which a path of stories are set up so participants can read while following a path in the park.

“They had enough screen time in the school year, let them explore, use their imaginations while learning and reading,” Osborne said.

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