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Don't let this be a humdrum summer

The U has plenty to do this summer for you and the family

Compiled by Adam Overland

Feather clothing 165
Take a fashionable journey through the history of a glamorous accessory with the Goldstein Museum of Design exhibit, :Flights of Fancy: A History of Feathers In Fashion.

June 8, 2010

Summer arrives officially with the solstice at 6:28 a.m. on the 21st. At that moment, the sun will reach a point directly over the Tropic of Cancer, and many of us will be directly in our beds. But don't let this be a humdrum summer. Once you're out from under the covers, the U has you covered. From space camps and classes about cheese, tree houses, and historic home styles explained, the U has plenty of learning and fun for you and the fam. This sampling of events—including lectures, concerts, exhibits, food, and more—will help keep you busy.

Summer at Northrop: Free Outdoor Concerts begin June 11. Spanning across the months of June and July, Summer at Northrop (celebrating 56 years) offers an eclectic variety of musical genres and cultures. Beginning June 11 (with an evening show), Northrop will host 24 free, outdoor concerts, showcasing the best local talent, from noon to 1 p.m. on the Northrop Plaza. New this year are 5 exciting evening concerts from 7 to 8 p.m. with The Alarmists, Maria Isa, Innocent, Charanga Tropical, and Alison Scott.

The 56th annual Summer at Northrop will officially launch on June 14 with a noontime kick-off party featuring Romantica, an "Irish Americana Pop" band who will play lush, richly orchestrated pop-folk made rural by the twang of pedal steel. Ice cream treats from University Dining Services and sample sandwiches from Jimmy Johns will be served while supplies last. Attendees can also enter to win prizes.

Throughout the entire series, the Northrop Grill will also be serving lunch daily. Come take a break from class or work and enjoy some sunshine and spectacular music during the noon hour, or let loose at the evening shows! For more information, see the Summer at Northrop 2010 lineup.


U of M Farmers Market The University of Minnesota Farmers Market begins its sixth season this summer on July 7. The market is held every Wednesday on the East Bank's Church Street, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendors sell locally grown produce, berries, and fresh flowers; maple syrup and apples from the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will also be for sale. Sponsored by the Office of Human Resources' Wellness Program, the market brings fresh produce to the Twin Cities campus to promote a healthy workplace and healthy lifestyles for employees and people from surrounding neighborhoods. Ends October 6.

Campus Club goes loco…ahem…local
. In recent years, the Campus Club has taken great strides in serving local foods, from using veggies and fruit from Cornercopia, the University's student organic farm, to a whole lot of cheese from the U's Dairy Plant, plus bratwurst from the Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science. This summer, once again, the Campus Club Café Bar is open to all University faculty and staff, weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m., June, July, and August. Daily specials include food discounts, reduced prices on local bottled beers, and more.

Two events at the club this summer are worth noting (and again, membership is not required for either event):

  • The Good Food Revolution, July 23, starts with a talk by Will Allen, urban farmer, food revolutionary, and MacArthur Fellow, followed by a wonderful meal from local purveyors.
  • The Annual Locavore Buffet, August 12, will be serving food from local farmers. The club will also be serving…local farmers. Okay, not literally, thankfully, but farmers have been invited to attend the event and talk about their lives. Executive Chef Beth Allen says, "it's always fantastic food, shared with the people who grew it!"

Master Gardeners to Offer Courses on St. Paul Campus. University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners will be offering youth and adult education in the Department of Horticultural Science Garden located at Folwell and Gortner Avenues on the St. Paul Campus. Adult classes will cover edible landscapes, perennials, pruning, herbs, and soils, with all classes taught by Extension master gardeners. The fee is $20 per person and consists of classroom and hands-on learning. All proceeds support the Garden. For registration, email Bridget Barton or call 612-625-4211. For more information, see the Extension's gardening blog, Over the Backyard Fence.
A variety of peppersThe image above includes a variety of peppers, but alas, no carrots. If you didn't know this, you better get to a master gardener class, quick!
"Carrots, Carrots, read (and blog) all about it!"
Powerhouse Plants, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum's 2010 exhibit, puts the spotlight on energy to fuel your body, life, and imagination. Five "Veggies By The Yard" designs created by Arboretum gardener Ted Pew aim to teach the home gardener to make the most of a small space for some healthy, delicious vegetables. With the support of Master Gardener volunteers, local groups are planting demonstration gardens in 13 sites around Minnesota to teach the home gardener how to how to eat fresh and grow your own in a small space. Each "Veggies By The Yard" bed measures only 4 ft. x 12 ft.

Master gardeners will be planting all five designs in front of the Plant Growth Facilities Building on the St. Paul campus. Once a week throughout the season, they will harvest the vegetables, weigh and measure the produce, and blog about their successes and challenges on the Veggies By The Yard blog. In addition to the campus site, 12 other master gardener groups throughout Minnesota will also be planting one or more of the planting designs and blogging about their experiences—and you can too! Gardeners are invited to plant their own versions at home, then compare results with others and blog all about it at Veggies By the Yard. For more information, email Julie Weisenhorn, Master Gardener Program state director.

If you still haven't had enough master gardening, the third annual University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Learning Garden Tour in Hennepin County will take place July 10, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

CAMPS for kids and grown-ups
Science Discovery Day Camps, June 14-Sept. 3, Bell Museum. From a baby animal's first steps to the science of decomposing bodies, Science Discovery Day Camps engage kids in science with cool subjects and unforgettable experiences. Campers meet University scientists and take field trips to kid-friendly learning centers like animal hospitals, bee labs and The Raptor Center. These week-long, competitively priced camps are conveniently located with flexible pick-up and drop-off times for working parents. Registration is open now. Camps run June 14 through September 3. For more information, see Discovery Day Camps or call 612-624-9050.

2010 Curiosity Camp(s) If you're naturally inquisitive and enjoy learning new things, then take a break from your daily routine and treat yourself to a day of productive play at Curiosity Camp.

The College of Continuing Education is offering its Summer 2010 Curiosity Camp lineup at a reduced price for University staff. The one-day adult courses introduce unique and interesting topics that engage the mind while refreshing the spirit. Courses cost $100 for University staff (regular price $125). Here are just a few of the many camps:

  • The Edible Urban Landscape With the rising cost of food, growing concern about "food miles" and food safety, more of us are looking for ways to shop and eat locally. Spend the day learning how to create a landscape not only beautiful, but also designed to offer an abundant harvest of edibles. During a cooking demonstration you'll also learn how to make simple and delicious dishes from what you produce or obtain from local sources.
  • Cheese, Glorious Cheese! Cheese has been made, appreciated, and craved by people throughout history in almost every part of the world. Delve into the process of making cheese, learn about the science behind the magic, and visit a renowned artisan cheese dairy to learn about and taste a variety of unique cheeses.
  • Space Camp for Grown-Ups--Minnesota Style Whether you're a Star Trek enthusiast or simply find yourself looking up into a star-filled night sky with wonder and amazement, the expanse and mystery of the heavens hold sway to our imaginations. Delve into the science behind space exploration and encounter rockets, hovercraft, and live links with NASA.
  • Finding Creativity and Meaning Through Mindfulness Whether you're an artist or an accountant, you may want a more creative and meaningful life. How do you bring new energy to your work? Can you diminish stress and remain productive? How do you awaken your senses to enrich your enjoyment of all things? Address these questions and discover ways to tap your own creativity and enhance your enjoyment of life during this camp at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

For more information, see all summer 2010 camps or call 612-624-4000 to register.

Flights of Fancy: A History of Feathers In Fashion opening, including live birds! June 11, 6-8 p.m., Goldstein Museum of Design, McNeal Hall, St. Paul. Runs June 12–Sept. 12.
Put a feather in your cap this summer as the Goldstein Museum of Design partners with the Bell Museum and the Raptor Center to provide an ornithological foundation for feathered apparel. Take a fashionable journey through the history of a glamorous accessory. The feather's fashion career dates back to the 11th century, and at this exhibit you'll learn about the historical and contemporary use of feathers in Western fashion, including the origins of feathers commonly used in clothing, the international feather trade, activism and laws designed to protect endangered bird populations, and the psychological appeal of wearing feathers. Adam Barnett of the Raptor Center will give a presentation on opening night using live birds to illustrate his lecture.

The Spirits of Sherlock Holmes
. July 12-Oct. 15, Exhibit Gallery, Elmer L. Andersen Library. Free. Sherlock Holmes, one of the best known fictional characters ever created, did most of his detective work in his home country of England. But where is the world's largest collection of Holmes documents and artifacts? Elementary, my dear Watson--it's at the University of Minnesota Libraries. With more than 60,000 items the collection is a unique resource for the public.

The Sherlock Holmes Collections will present two exhibits in conjunction with its triennial conference. The Andersen Library exhibit will explore the many meanings of the word "spirits" and how they relate to Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle, and the Victorian era. The concurrent exhibit in the T. R. Anderson Gallery will highlight items from the collection of the late Allen Mackler, whose replica of the sitting room at 221B Baker Street is on permanent display adjacent to the exhibit gallery.

great conversations 165Great Conversations: Larry Brilliant and Jonathan Foley, "World Pandemics and the Environment." June 15, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Ted Mann Concert Hall. Cost: $28.50. The U's popular Great Conversations series continues June 15 with Larry Brilliant, an American physician, epidemiologist, author, and philanthropist. He is the former director of Google's philanthropic arm and has served as CEO of two public companies. From 1976-79 he participated in the successful WHO smallpox eradication program and, in 2005, was awarded the TED Prize for his work. In April 2009, he was chosen to oversee the Skoll Global Threats Fund, established by eBay founder Jeff Skoll.

Jonathan Foley is the director of the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota, where he is a professor and McKnight Presidential Chair in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. He also leads the IonE's Global Landscapes Initiative. A dessert reception with the speakers follows the conversation.

2010 Institute of Technology Public Lecture: "The Uncanny Physics of Superheroes," June 24, 7 p.m., Van Vleck Auditorium, Tate Laboratory of Physics. Have you ever wondered how strong you would have to be to "leap a tall building in a single bound?" Was it "the fall" or "the webbing" that killed Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man's girlfriend in the classic Amazing Spider-Man #121? Who is faster: Superman or Flash? Physics professor James Kakalios has the answers about these and other important, real-life physics questions at this fun and educational lecture. Kakalios, author of the popular book, The Physics Of Superheroes, teaches the course Everything I Know About Science I Learned from Reading Comic Books.

If you're already on the St. Paul campus, lucky you. If not, Wednesday is the day you might want to make the trip. It's an easy jaunt on the Campus Connector from the east or west bank. Once there, you can settle in for one of the summer-long Wednesday noontime concerts, or eat ice cream (or cheese) to your tongue's content, courtesy of the Dairy Food Products Salesroom, open to the public on Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m., 166 Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science. The Dairy Store sells items that are produced in Minnesota and certified by students, faculty and staff. Sales fund research and maintenance of the facility. Gift boxes are also available for special occasions.

And while you're at the Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science, you might as well grab some bbq'ing supplies. The lab sells bratwurst and much more on Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m.

Finish off your day with a relaxing, sight and scent filled tour of the beautiful Department of Horticultural Science's beautiful Display and Trial Garden.

Universe in the Park summer program
June’s full moon arrives on the 26th at 6:30 a.m.—an hour after it sets in the west, so you’ll have to get up early to see it at its roundest. Summer arrives officially with the solstice at 6:28 a.m. on the 21st. At that moment the sun will reach a point directly over the Tropic of Cancer. Many of us will be directly in our beds at that moment, but later that night we can see more of the night sky during Universe in the Park, a summer outreach program hosted by the U's Department of Astronomy and area state parks. At the events, representatives of the department will present short public talks and slide shows. Presentations cover a variety of astronomical topics, such as the history of matter, how astronomers "see," and a journey through our solar system. Afterwards, if weather allows, attendees have the opportunity to view the sky through multiple eight-inch reflecting telescopes. More than 20 events are scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays (rain or shine), from June 18 through September 11. Presentations typically run from 8:30 to 10 or 11 p.m. The events are free, but the park may require a vehicle permit for entry. For more information, see the schedule.


These are not the Velociraptors of Jurassic Park fame, but they are fierce predators, and they're pretty cool in their own right. Did you know, for example, that the peregrine falcon—the fastest animal on earth--dives at speeds far in excess of the cheetah's 70 miles per hour, (often to the detriment of slower birds that become a meal for the 200 mph peregrine). Or that an owl's eyes can comprise about 5 percent of its body weight? Learn all about these incredible creatures at The Raptor Center at the U's College of Veterinary Medicine. The center specializes in the medical care, rehabilitation, conservation, and study of eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons, treating more than 800 birds a year. The Raptor Center also has several Summer Raptor Camps—Enraptured with Raptors, Grossology, Raptor Vet, and Crazy About Owls. Open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

The 'Uff da Palace', Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum never lacks for lush summer adventure. This year, see the recently completed 'Uff da Palace', the centerpiece of the arboretum's "Big Build" adventure. Artist Patrick Dougherty, assisted by staff and volunteers, twisted and weaved sticks and tree saplings into an immense sculpture using willow as his medium. Dougherty is an internationally renowned artist who weaves tree saplings and branches to create immense environmental sculptures. He uses the plants to form the 'line' of his work, in massive shapes that often suggest childhood tree houses, whimsical nests, or lairs. He has built more than 175 works worldwide over the past 20 years. For more information, see the Big Build.

If you are still uninspired to make the short trip, motivate yourself by reading all about the arboretum's world at the Nature Notes blog.

Find more Twin Cities events using the U's events calendar.