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Annual Community Field Day highlights what shines in nature

  • The Allendale Community Field Day was held this month.
  • The Allendale Community Field Day was held this month.
  • The Allendale Community Field Day was held this month.
  • The Allendale Community Field Day was held this month.
  • The Allendale Community Field Day was held this month.
  • The Allendale Community Field Day was held this month.

Posted on June 25, 2019

The annual celebration of outdoor activities that connects Grand Valley and the Allendale community continued this year with an exploration of the moon and the stars, glowing rocks and one of the best things about summer, fireflies.

Allendale Community Field Day was held this month for the eighth consecutive summer. GVSU faculty members, Allendale educators and a bevy of volunteers from both the Grand Valley and Allendale communities fueled the event held on Allendale's K-8 campus.

Those attending the free "Things That Shine" event learned about GVSU's Solar Picnic Table, which shows how solar energy transforms into electricity. They had a chance to make homemade LED flashlights with Allendale's robotics team. And members of the Allendale Fire Department showed how a thermal imager detects the infrared radiation that people emit.

The day also included lunch, face-painting, games and more.

The event was co-created by Peter Riemersma, associate professor of geology, and Keith Piccard, adjunct professor of biology at Grand Valley and science teacher at Allendale Middle School.

"Our theme this year appealed to us because of the broad array of different activities that we could relate to light," Riemersma said. "Activities varied from biological (fireflies) to geological (fluorescence) and highlighted light properties such as reflectance, refraction and wavelength. Our broad goal is to educate and entertain our participants by deepening their appreciation and understanding of the natural world around them."

In previous years, participants have worked on gardens, bird feeders and bat houses. 

As always, Riemersma said, volunteers were the key to making this year's event a success.