The Friends of the River Foundation is taking their educational puppet show online, with help from a grant from the Greater Salina Community Foundation.
To teach elementary school children about wildlife found on the Smoky Hill River, the Friends of the River Foundation uses puppets designed by Spartle Twee Puppet Factory for the Salina Arts and Humanities Arts Infusion Program.
Bella Beaver, Bartholomew Bullfrog and the Great Blue Heron puppets teach Kindergarten through second grade students about river ecosystems and the animals who live there.
Now, instead of performing in classrooms, the puppets are entering children’s lives through social media.
Jane Anderson, executive director of the Friends of the River Foundation, said this will allow the Friends to continue to teach children about the animals and birds found on the Smoky Hill River, while also easing the hearts of children. The puppets will act out the problems facing children in real life to let kids know that they are not alone during this time.
“Puppeteers Anne Hoestra, Tammy Jarvis, and I have enjoyed working together to bring biology to life through the puppets,” Anderson said. “We are delighted to bring joy to our children during this time of uncertainty. Watch for more from Bella and her friends in the weeks ahead!”
Visit the Friends of the River Foundation Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/smokyhillriver/ to see the special programming, which is supported by a Nonprofit Support Grant from the Greater Salina Community Foundation. The community foundation awarded these grants to help local organizations continue to carry out their missions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The puppets were originally developed by the Spartle Twee Puppet Factory with underwriting from the L.P. “Pat” Mullen Grant at the Greater Salina Community Foundation, the Dane G Hansen Foundation, Rob and Kelli Exline, and the Arts Infusion Program of Salina Arts and Humanities.