Norwalk Library collaborates with Discovery Museum; foundations form $1.6 million fund; traffic safety meeting

The Norwalk Public Library and the Discovery Museum of Bridgeport are collaborating to enhance science awareness with a summer program at the library.

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk announcements for you:

  • A demonstration of a spacesuit this Saturday to kick off a summer awareness program for kids
  • Five foundations are teaming up with an initial focus on greater Norwalk philanthropy
  • Traffic safety meeting, inspired by pedestrian’s death, planned for June 29


Norwalk Library and Bridgeport’s Discovery Museum launch space-themed summer science partnership

The Norwalk Public Library and the Discovery Museum of Bridgeport have announced a collaboration to enhance science awareness during the summer, at the library. Based on interactive science activities using themes arising from the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, the new program is for children in grades 2 and above.

The partnership kicks off with an “Engineering for Space” event at the Norwalk Public Library on Belden Avenue, at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15. Mayor Harry Rilling will introduce students to a live demonstration of a space suit, showcasing the fascinating engineering challenges and solutions for exploring the frontier of outer space.

On Sunday, June 16 at 1 p.m., library and museum staff will open the partnership’s hands-on rocket launching program. Students and other library visitors will have the opportunity to engage with Discovery Museum staff in the Engineering Design Process of asking questions, brainstorming solutions, building prototypes, testing, evaluating, and redesigning their own paper rockets.

The rocket launching program will run for 10 weeks, through August 25. The program will move to the South Norwalk Branch Library for the last two weeks in August.

“Our new partnership with the Discovery Museum represents an unprecedented expansion of the library’s hands-on science programming offered to Norwalk students by bringing the expert staff and extraordinary space-related exhibits of the Discovery Museum within easy reach of Norwalk families,” Norwalk Public Library Board of Trustees Chairman Alex Knopp said in a press release. “This new collaboration serves both of our institutions by bringing new resources into the library at a modest cost and by introducing a broader audience in southwestern Connecticut to the Museum.”

“To win the competition for tomorrow’s jobs, our kids need to have a strong science education background,” said Bill Finch, Executive Director at the Discovery Museum. “That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with the Norwalk Public Library on this important initiative. It’s not only an opportunity for kids to learn critical skills for the future, but also to learn about our nation’s storied history with space exploration and travel. That’s a win-win.”

The participating “student engineers” will be challenged to identify the best materials for the problem at hand and to find creative solutions that will allow them to optimize their rocket’s flight, whether using a powered air launcher or their own launching power. Students and their families will learn about the engineering process as well as basic rocket science concepts that will allow them to be successful in building and launching miniature rockets.

“We look forward to a summer of science exploration at the library,” said Norwalk Librarian Christine Bradley.

Program hours will run from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesdays, and 2 p.m.-6 p.m. on Fridays from June 16 through Aug. 25.

“We always seek partnerships with different organizations and adding exciting new programs,” Norwalk Children’s Librarian Vicki Oatis said in a press release. “Bringing a hands-on science experience to the library is a great way for us to branch out and open up a whole new world to curious young minds.”

The Discovery Museum ­­– located at 4450 Park Ave. in Bridgeport ­­– educates young learners through experiences and programs that inspire wonder and ignite creativity as the foundation for a lifetime love of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning, the press release said. It does this through interactive experiences, unique exhibits, and dynamic learning programs. Learn more at discoverymuseum.org.

For more information, contact Christine Bradley at [email protected] or 203-899-2780, x. 15126; Alex Knopp at [email protected] or 203-554-7307; Bill Finch at [email protected] or 203-333-2000; or Sarah Tropp-Pacelli, Director of STEM Learning, at [email protected] or 203-372-3521, x. 114.


$1.6 million ‘Collective Impact Opportunity Fund’ to focus on Norwalk

Four Connecticut-based family foundations and one of the state’s largest community foundations have formed the new the Collective Impact Opportunity Fund within Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, a press release said. The fund will make collective grants to public agencies and non-profit organizations striving to close educational, workforce, and other opportunity gaps among children, youth, and their families in Connecticut. It will focus its initial grant-making in the Greater Norwalk region.

The founding funders – the BeFoundation, Dalio Philanthropies, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, The Per & Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation and the Ritter Family Foundation  –  have collectively contributed more than $1.6 million in the first round of funding, the release said. Additional philanthropic-minded individuals and organizations will be encouraged to join the Fund over time.

“I am thrilled that these family foundations and Fairfield County’s Community Foundation came together to create the Collective Impact Opportunity Fund,” Mayor Harry Rilling is quoted as saying in the release. “This partnership makes additional financial resources available that will help provide much-needed funding to the public agencies and nonprofit organizations that are doing important work in the community. I am happy the initial investment will focus on the Greater Norwalk area, and allocate funds to those working to make a difference in the lives of Connecticut children and families.”

The fund is managed as a field of interest fund at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, where the fund’s contributing foundations and individual donors will benefit from access to the Community Foundation’s mission-aligned network, knowledge of the region’s nonprofit landscape, and efficient administrative services, the release said.

The fund has an invitation-only grant application process and will not accept unsolicited letters of inquiry or proposals.


Traffic Safety Meeting, June 29

An exploratory meeting about traffic safety will be held from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Norwalk Public Library, located on Belden Avenue. The meeting is organized by Norwalkers interested in making our roads safer.

Audrey Cozzarin, mover and shaker of this movement, was inspired by the March death of a friend of hers, Mike Hefferan, in Westchester County.

“Every day, when I drive in Norwalk (and surrounding towns), I witness the bold flaunting of the rules of the road that have made this region like the Wild West,” she wrote in March. “People run red lights, ignore stop-sign etiquette, tailgate and pass illegally, drive way over the speed limit, and in general take out their anger on the road—every day—as if traffic laws are mere ‘suggestions.’”

The meeting will feature a short presentation and light refreshments. RSVP to Cozzarin, [email protected] by Friday, June 21.

One comment

Milly June 19, 2019 at 10:55 am

The city received a lot of complaints about the danger cars parking on Mill Hill was creating. So the Traffic Authority solution was to put up signs ALLOWING cars to park on Mill Hill?!? How is that a solution? This is being allowed because Head of the Harbor put a flight of stairs there to allow easy access to this street parking.

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