By Dusten Rader
Spring and summer will bring many educational learning opportunities to the residents of Chautauqua County.
Tom Annear’s Plein Air painting classes using watercolors and oils. His classes are scheduled for June 5, 12 and 19 in the evening or available by appointment during the day.
Chautauqua Institution promotes arts and learning opportunities. Its summer season's program will aim to inspire and entertain.
"Throughout its history, Chautauqua has embraced the idea of the learning vacation of dedicating one's leisure time to something that is both educational and entertaining," said Matt Ewalt, director of communications for Chautauqua. "But, the learning vacation doesn't have to be a weeklong stay. It can be the few hours at the Amphitheater listening to a morning lecture, attending an evening concert by the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, or bringing the family to learn about space exploration from an astronaut."
The season opens with exploring "Our Elegant Universe" during week one, which begins on June 23. A speaker who Vanessa Weinert, marketing manager for Chautauqua, said she doesn't want to miss is Kobie Boykins on June 27. Boykins is a NASA engineer who designed elements of all three Mars exploration rovers, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity. Boykins will talk about being on the front line of Mars exploration. And, astronaut Story Musgrave will share stories about space shuttles on June 26.
For more information visit www.ciweb.org.
For those who are looking to continue education in a low-pressure environment, Jamestown Community College has several opportunities available.
According to Grant Umberger, director of JCC's Center for Continuing Education, the program aims to connect individuals to JCC who may not otherwise utilize the facilities. Through the center, area residents have access to credit-free personal enrichment, career enrichment, computer courses and contract training.
"JCC's Center for Continuing Education knows that adult learners come with a high degree of motivation, sometimes previous experience and want to walk away with transferable skills," said Umberger. "JCC's Center for Continuing Education offers personal enrichment courses to provide an opportunity for people to explore, enhance or learn brand new skills in many different areas."
The type of personal enrichment classes offered through the program varies each semester, but usually includes: cooking, health and wellness, special interest, computer, language, photography, historical courses, pet training and more. Catalogs are available each semester with a listing of class offerings.
One example of a personal enrichment course individuals can find at JCC's Center for Continuing Education includes the Gourmet Dining Club, a series of classes in which individuals learn cooking techniques, share recipes and try various food items. There are also health and wellness courses, and about 10 classes are offered a semester ranging from yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, hip hop for weight loss to dancing. All About "U" classes touch on a variety of topics ranging from photography, dreams, to art and supernatural phenomenon. Computer classes give individuals the opportunity to learn to "get connected" with courses on what is and how to use an iPad, social media, collecting, digital photography and digital photos and using Microsoft Office applications.
"There is an old saying, 'Age knows no bounds when it comes to the pursuit of knowledge.' It is not a cliche that learning new things opens doors and is personally rewarding," said Umberger. "Sometimes we put our own interests on hold while pursuing other life events: work, family, etc. You never know; there may be a budding chef in you. You may learn something new about the area you grew up in all your life, there is no better time to start that exercise program than now, perhaps if used correctly technology is your friend and so much more. Take a chance on learning something new for you; you may end up wondering what took you so long to start."
For more information call 338-1005 or visit www.sunyjcc.edu/continuing-education.
JCC also participates in the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau's Chautauqua in June, which is a leisure learning festival set for May 31 through June 16. This year's festival contains more than 20 workshops on culinary, outdoor recreation and celebrating the county's agricultural heritage, which will be held across the county.
According to Andrew Nixon, executive director for CCVB, this year's celebration is the third annual, and one thing he has noticed since the program's inception is that the events that do the best are the ones that are tied in with food and beverage.
"That's why we've made 'Farm, Food and Beverage' the theme of this year's Chautauqua in June," said Nixon. "It fits in with area businesses such as the Athenaeum Hotel and La Fleur, which offer Farm to Table experiences. It's not just a lecture, but rather you might go out with the head chef to visit some organic farms or maybe even forage for some ingredients in the natural environment. So, it's a participatory type of activity."
CCVB has been working on associating Chautauqua County with the brand, "Chautauqua: The World's Learning Center," for around five years. To support that goal, said Nixon, there were already things in place such as Chautauqua Institution, The Jackson Center, Roger Tory Peterson Institute and more.
"But, we wanted to foster some additional leisure learning experiences in the area, so that we could make that claim as a learning vacation destination for more than just the summer season," said Nixon. "So, we're focusing on the spring, which is Chautauqua in June, and in the fall we'll have Colors of Chautauqua. We want people to know that we're a multi-season destination with a lot of things to see and do here that are not just related to the traditional popular activities, which is why this year we're focusing on the agrarian heritage of the area combined with culinary experiences."
For a full listing of Chautauqua in June offerings, visit www.tourchautauqua.com.