Madison County Public Library launches new educational program

Press release from Madison Natural Heritage:

Madison County Public Library system is excited to announce a new educational project: Madison Natural Heritage. It is an interactive digital project that will serve as a natural history museum, to engage students, scholars and citizens, and to collect and archive data about our rich and cherished natural world in Madison County.

The library system’s administrative manager, Peggy Goforth, is excited to share her love for the county with the children who utilize the libraries. “Because Madison County is so special and unique, it is critical that we instill in our children the knowledge to preserve and maintain this beautiful place that we love and call home.”

Madison Natural Heritage will use available database technology, such as I-Naturalist, eBird, and North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, to capture natural science data without reinventing database technology that’s already there, and free. Madison County students will have the opportunity to learn to use citizen science techniques to collect and digitally log data relating to their own extraordinary environment.  Madison Natural Heritage is carefully coordinating with schools to make sure it supports their goals and doesn’t replicate existing programs.

The fierce love of Madison County’s rich natural heritage is something that is shared by citizens of all leanings. Madison County’s uniqueness has been recognized by biologists throughout the state.  Retired state naturalist Harry LeGrande said, “Madison County may be the single most important county in the NC mountains for the state’s biological diversity.”

The Madison County Library System is primed to take on such an innovative project, which could pave the way for similar initiatives in other counties and states. Having been awarded “The Best Small Library in America” title by Library Journal in 2018, Madison County residents know what community commitment and a strong library staff can achieve. By taking on the Madison Natural Heritage project on the tailwinds of its recent national recognition, the Madison County Library System has the opportunity to put Madison County on the national map again, with both countywide programming to involve young people in the growing field of citizen science and an exhibition of our rich natural heritage.

If you would like to learn more about the Madison Natural Heritage Museum, join us at 6pm on March 4th at Marshall Container Co. in downtown Marshall, NC where Pete Dixon will be presenting his lecture “Zooming In, Bird Watching in Madison County.”  His talk is part of the ongoing educational speaker series Concerning Home: Our Place in the Southern Blue Ridge which focuses on the cultural and natural history of the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains.

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