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Summer Reading Recap: The Science Behind the All-Together-Now Mentality

In recent years, studies have shown that trees encompass a vast network of underground fungi known as mycelium—tiny threads that wrap around or bore into tree roots—to create an expansive web of connectedness. When one tree is suffering from drought or disease, for example, it sends out distress signals to neighboring trees, alerting them of danger or insect attacks to protect them. The neighboring trees then respond by altering their behavior and fortifying their protection mechanisms. Scientists call this underground web of connectedness the mycorrhizal network, one of the best examples of an “All Together Now!” relationship in the natural world.

Wickson Library’s Summer Reading Program came to an end this past week. Programming involved a Reading Challenge for all ages as well as five weeks of summer programming centering around the theme of “All Together Now!”

At the beginning of our Summer Reading Program, Wickson Library pledged to plant a tree in Memorial Park if 325 or more people of all ages finished various summer reading challenges. I’m happy to report that we crossed the finish line with a grand total of 407 readers, of which there were 237 kids, 54 teens, and 116 adults. Way to go, everyone! This was truly an “All Together Now!” effort. A tree will be planted in Memorial Park within the next few weeks.

Weekly summer programming themes oscillated between Community Helpers, Nurturing Nature, Teamwork Makes the Dream Work, Kindness Matters, and Kindness is for Everyone.

Dozens of activities for all ages cycled patrons in and out of the library as well as around town for activities and programming including: Story Time at the River Place, various adult crafts, Music for Littles, teen challenges and programs, MI Notable Author Visit featuring Kelsey Ronan, reading to Frank (E.F. Rittmueller Middle School’s service dog), Cirque Amongus, Chippewa Nature Center, Be Kind to Your Mind mental health events, a 4-H Farm Event, multiple Adult Sensory Times, and more.

Throughout the course of these events, Wickson Library welcomed a total of 1,949 participants. Throughout the past five weeks, we’ve learned about what it means to work together, to extend kindness to ourselves and others, and now, with the group effort of reading to plant a tree—we’re learning about what it means to be kind to our Earth.

In other news, Wickson Library has collected around 100 items as part of our Knit for Kindness program, where people have knitted and donated baby hats, cast toe warmers, and fidget blankets for Covenant Healthcare.

None of this would have been possible without the support and contributions of our generous Summer Reading Program sponsors to whom we’d like to extend a resounding thank you: River Place Shops, Bavarian Inn Lodge, McDonalds of Frankenmuth, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Kernel Benny’s, Weiss Centennial Farm, Lazy Dog Pizza, Stardust Entertainment Center, JTE’s, Friends of the Library, Frankenmuth Community Foundation, Biggby Coffee, Rau’s Country Store, and Frankenmuth Jaycees.

Lastly, we’d like to thank you and all our wonderful patrons for your support and participation in our Summer Reading Program. We are honored to serve such a wonderful community. If the Summer Reading Program has proved one thing it is that we are all stronger, kinder, and more deeply connected when we, like the trees, form our own version of a mycorrhizal network and work together. All Together Now!

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