Teaching Green

Educating kids about sound environmental stewardship doesn’t have to be political, and in the end, everyone benefits.



From left:  Katie Miller, Peter Krespan, Amanda Rahman,
teacher Kelli Lafferty, Charli Cornish and Jess Coleman
set up an incubator that will be used to hatch mallard
duck eggs. The project is part of their environmental
studies class at Alfred G. Waters Middle School in Middletown.
Photograph by Pat Crowe II www.patcrowephotography.com

 

 

 

 


To an exhausted parent, the five-year-old who comes home from school pleading for a compost bin might seem over the top. One might wonder: Is it worth educating kids about green living?

The answer, it would seem, is yes. Kelli Martin, education associate for K-12 education in science and the environment for the Delaware Department of Education, says lessons in green living help teach students about bigger concepts like ecology. In fact, Delaware’s ecology standards are taught from kindergarten through 12th grade as part of a science curriculum that trains students to process real-world problems—a skill they’ll need no matter what they do in life.

“The Delaware Science Coalition, a partnership of school districts, business, community and higher education, provides extensive training and materials to all teachers so that students across the state have rich, rigorous experiences in science,” Martin says. She adds that national organizations, including the U.S. Congress and the National Governors Association, hold Delaware’s science program in high regard.

Liz Applegate of Newark wants her young daughters to appreciate the earth’s resources, so she thinks it’s good to teach brand-new learners basic practices such as recycling. “Showing pictures of landfills and pollution can put it into perspective,” she says.

Parents who agree with Applegate believe it’s worth teaching kids to conserve earth’s finite resources. They appreciate the state’s incorporation of conservation lessons into a broader science curriculum. But how do teachers educate kids about sustainability while ensuring the material is age appropriate and keeping politics out of the classroom?

Delaware’s science curriculum is carefully designed for each grade level. “Kindergarten students observe trees in different seasons and begin to understand the interconnectedness of all living things,” Martin says. “Third graders explore the precious and unique nature of water and its role in physical, earth and life science.”

Eighth graders learn about populations, biodiversity and interrelatedness by studying horseshoe crabs. Garth Stubbolo’s students at Everett Meredith Middle School meet local scientists and conduct a horseshoe crab spawning census during their Green Eggs and Sand unit.

Alison Burris’ twins have learned about air quality, pollution, global warming and nature at their public schools in Newark. “In middle school, they had to go around the house and check out our electricity output—number of lights, computers, refrigerators, heater, air conditioner,” Burris says.

Bill Reidinger of Newark is hoping such lessons save him money on his electric bill. “My kids went on field trips as early as third or fourth grade to Ashland Nature Center and Fair Hill Nature Center,” Reidinger says. “Both of these places have good programs geared to elementary school kids.”

If the lessons are simple enough in elementary school and middle school, students remember them positively. Now a senior at the University of Delaware, Cory Gregory of Newark looks back fondly on the worm composting bin her teacher, Susan Carlin, kept in the classroom for lunch scraps.

Gregory’s friend Ashley Gordy of Seaford hasn’t forgotten the environmental lessons she learned from her third grade teachers at West Seaford Elementary. Her teacher had a leaky faucet that filled a bucket during the course of a school day. “She used this situation to illustrate the amount of waste that results from a single drip,” Gordy says. “I also remember Mrs. Moynihan telling us the importance of recycling.”

The teacher admitted to her students that she hadn’t recycled until she taught the concept to kids. “The lesson that really stuck with me was the fact that the teacher changed her lifestyle, not only because it was something she strongly believed in, but because she couldn’t ask her students to do something that she didn’t do,” Gordy says.

High school teachers face the challenge of educating students who are learning to think for themselves but are from different backgrounds and at different maturity levels.

“In education, you cannot ever tell someone how they are to think or what they have to believe," says Heather Hastings, an agriscience educator and Future Farmers of America advisor at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes. Hastings encourages her students to explore topics of interest, like environmentally sound farming methods such as crop rotation and waste management.

At Lake Forest High School in Felton, Mark Breeding teaches students about wildlife and wildlife management. He addresses the history of human land use, talks about career opportunities, publicizes Delaware’s outdoor recreational opportunities and covers global warming. He makes sure to include a range of perspectives. “I select information, such as news articles and programs, that show all points of view, not just a one-sided, media-biased view or something non-factual,” he says.

Teachers in Appoquinimink School District help students come to their own scientific conclusions. At Alfred G. Waters Middle School, Kelli Lafferty helps her students understand the environmental issues in the news each day. To avoid getting political, Lafferty says, “I teach them straight facts—what they need to know to make their own judgment. I look at scientific studies and help them understand the process of decomposition or the greenhouse effect so they can interpret the information.”

Lafferty is experienced at exposing kids to real-world issues. When she taught at Middletown High School, her class took on the issue of sprawl in central Delaware. In spring 2006, the Middletown High FFA joined with the New Castle County 4-H and University of Delaware Cooperative Extension on an open forum to address land use. The event drew people from the Middletown, Odessa and Townsend areas.

“Many were concerned with disappearing farmland and how developments were taking over the area, pushing mom-and-pop businesses under,” Lafferty says. “We talked about the impact these developments had on waste management, water supply and town resources. I think it helped the students realize that it does not take a lot to drastically impact our environment.”

Teacher Jenna Hall of Middletown High School tests water in the school’s pond with the Environmental Club and teaches her environmental science students to design sustainable homes and design models that show how different types of energy production work. Hall notes that while many environmental issues have become politicized, “the science behind them is just that: science. We discuss how science, technology, and society all interact and influence each other, but we try to concentrate on facts.”

Justin Benz, who teaches agriculture at Hodgson Vocational Technical High School in Glasgow, uses visual aids and hands-on activities to appeal to a variety of learning styles and developmental stages. “By having students analyze the evidence of the issue, students can formulate informed and valid opinions,” he says. “If they then look at that issue and draw a political stance, well, that is just part of the process.”

Other organizations make similar efforts to educate kids about green living without asserting a political agenda. Helen Fischel, associate director of education at the Delaware Nature Society, believes in empowering children with information so they feel they can make a difference. “Programs at the Ashland Nature Center, Coverdale Farm and Abbott’s Mill Nature Center are hands-on activities that engage children of all ages in the natural world,” she says. “In a society where many are technology rich and experience poor, first-hand experiences lead to a greater awareness.”

Joy Sparks, state program coordinator of 4-H Youth Development for the UD Cooperative Extension, says 4-H has always had a strong environmental focus. “Soil conservation techniques were taught 105 years ago as a part of taking the research from the land grants to the people,” she says. “In 4-H, we taught the children, and then parents adopted the practices. We try to not be political by basing our educational programs on research from the land grant universities, of which we are a part.”

UD Spanish instructor Suzanne Tierney-Gula remembers her son’s teacher mentioning Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” which the family watched together, deciding that small changes in their everyday habits, like running errands on foot instead of driving, would help them conserve energy.

UD student Natalie Emmons says the passion her ninth grade biology teacher at Ursuline Academy brought to discussions about the effects of aerosols inspired her to teach her own students about conservation. As the head kindergarten teacher at a day care last summer, “I was surprised at how little the kids knew about recycling and brought books to class to educate them,” she says. “I found them saying, ‘Look, Miss Natalie—I’m recycling!’ as they used the back of a coloring sheet to draw another picture, thus conserving paper.”

 

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

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The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

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Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: A2Z Promotions
Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

Cost: $15-$42

Where:
Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Sponsor: Take the Lead
Contact Name: Zahra
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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Come give curling a try! At this 2-hour intro-to-curling event we'll provide a basic lesson then coach you through a mini-game.  Whether you just want to cross #curling off your bucket list or...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
Newark, DE  19711
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

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Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Dover
Building A Auditorium
3282 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

Cost: frr

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

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A four-week series of ballroom dancing classes taught by teachers from the BlueBallroom. Tuesdays starting Jan. 10. Classes are $30 a lesson for Non-Members. Non-Member slots are limited. For...

Cost: $30

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Show More...
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

Cost: $40

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

Where:
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19103
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Sponsor: Lyric Fest
Telephone: 215-438-1702
Contact Name: Jessica Nelson
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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

Where:
John Dickinson High School Auditorium
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

Where:
, DE

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
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MOTHERSHIP Mothership is the area's premier Led Zeppelin Tribute show. Composed of seasoned, professional musicians Mario Padovani - vocals, keyboards, Frank Ginocchio - drums, Chris Julian -...

Cost: 15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
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