Town Crier: PMMC Offers Free Virtual Field Trips to the Community

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To help students and seniors isolated at home, Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) is finding ways to support the community in observing social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 virus.

Last week, PMMC started offering free distance learning educational programs as an option when schools and families can’t visit us in person.

“When social distancing protocols were put into place, as a parent myself, I immediately thought of how overwhelmed families might be,” PMMC education director Kirsten Donald said in a statement. “Working parents now must also plan learning opportunities to keep children engaged at home. This is an opportunity to do our part in helping the community get through this difficult time.”

The programs will allow participants to explore marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation as well as science and conservation curriculum through live webinars.

This includes our “Stewards of the Sea” program that will expose children to how essential a clean watershed is to the functioning of our planet, and “Marine Mammal Senses”, a dynamic multimedia presentation comparing and contrasting sensory systems of marine mammals and humans, what they are used for and why they are different.

Each live presentation is 30 to 45 minutes and is limited to the first 100 sign-ups. More than one person may participate from each device, but only 100 connections will be available per presentation. For more information about the PMMC’s educational programs and on how to register visit pacificmmc.org/free-programs.

Boys & Girls Club Remains Closed, Plans Digital Programs

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach closed its doors March 16 but its staffers are working remotely on an eight-week program to stay virtually connected with children and parents.

Club staffers are developing online-based programs based on fitness, art, homework help, a virtual teen center, and many others. There’s still no word on when the Club might reopen but its staff promised to update the community via its website, social media, and emails.

“We need you now more than ever,” Club CEO Pam Estes wrote in a prepared statement. “We need to be able to support our team, that supports the community’s youth every day.”

Estes highlighted the unique relationships her staff has with all of their members.

“With all the chaos and fear surrounding the world a familiar smiling face makes a world of difference at any age but in particular with our youth,” Estes said.

The Club has postponed the annual Art of Giving Gala scheduled for May 9. Details for a future Gala, which is the agency’s largest and most fundraising event, are still forthcoming.

The organization recently launched the Campaign to Gain as a community-oriented fundraising strategy to support the organization’s work. To make a donation, visit bgclagunabeach.org and look under the Give section.

Plein Air Painters Coordinate Sale

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association is offering pieces from its 16th annual Best of Plein Air showcase at deep discounts to drum up support for local artists.

All of the available paintings can be purchased at 15% discounted pricing with free shipping through March 29.

“We hope that during these trying times these reduced prices may entice you to not only acquire a great work of art but also help support our working artists and LPAPA’s continuing programs,” the association said in a prepared statement. “Your support will provide hope for all in a time of uncertainty and will help keep the art community alive. “

To make a purchase, please call Executive Director Rosemary Swimm at 949-584-9162 or email [email protected]. The LPAPA in Residence Gallery exhibit at Forest & Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave., will be open by appointment only. To schedule a visit, call 949-350-9370.

The Grove Says Goodbye

The Grove on Forest, a downtown watering hole for the caffeinated, permanently closed its doors, according to the coffee shop’s Facebook page.

Locals James and Kara Taylor wrote that it’s disheartening to see the challenges restaurants face in Laguna Beach and across the state with rising costs of rent, labor, food, city regulations, and now pandemic-forced closures.

“So when the reasons to fold and close up, start to outweigh the reasons to keep going, those reasons must be carefully considered and taken to heart,” the Taylors wrote. “We have come to the difficult decision to close our doors permanently. We would like to thank our hardworking staff, past and present, for helping to bring The Grove to life and to all of you that have called our cafe home.”

The Taylors wrote that they have loved serving and connecting with friends, family, patrons, and village neighbors since opening in 2016.

“What we will miss the most will be the high-fives, hugs and smiles from all of you and your children,” they wrote.

Contemporary Art Gallery Soldiers On

The Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art has temporarily shuttered to the public due to the coronavirus and is offering discounts on all artwork.

“It breaks my heart to have to close the doors, for now, as I love this Gallery and all it has become,” Gallery Owner Bridgette Shaw wrote in a statement. “Hopefully, it will be a temporary closure!”

Shaw vowed to work with the artists to get her customers the best deal possible. Deals on shipping costs will also be considered.

Shaw said she still has 20 paintings for sale at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel until May 6. Don’t hesitate to call or text me for more info or photos. She’s also accepting individual appointment requests from customers who call 949-6778273 or email [email protected].

“Thank you all for your continued support,” she said. “We are all in this together.”

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