Taking a fun-filled class will drive away winter doldrums

Posted Feb. 10, 2012, at 11:11 a.m.

We’ve almost made it through another winter. It’s now time to think spring, get out of the house, and try something new. Taking a fun-filled, no-pressure class on an interesting topic might be just what you need to chase away the last of the winter doldrums.

Fortunately the Penobscot Valley Senior College is starting their spring session March 3. PVSC is an affiliate of University of Maine Center on Aging, and has a variety of classes sure to please.

Open to people 50 and older, with classes generally located on the University of Maine, Orono and Bangor campuses, Senior College is a way for older people to gain some knowledge and make new friends while having a great time. The classes are two hours long, held on Fridays, and run six weeks, with morning or afternoon sessions. Art classes offered on Thursdays.

Annual membership to PVSC is $25 a person or $40 per couple. The tuition fee for each course, which includes all materials, is $30 and there are occasional free one-day programs for members. No previous college experience is required and if you have test anxiety don’t worry as there are no grades in these classes. The objective is to have a great time while stimulating your brain.

Here is the short list of classes:

• Introduction to Electricity with Fred Otto. Hard to believe but in just over a hundred years, electricity has gone from being a scientific curiosity to being the power that drives our lives. The course will assume that you have little or no working knowledge of electricity. We will start by using hands-on circuits of batteries and light bulbs to develop a model of electricity. From that, the concepts of direct current and alternating current and household power will be developed. The concepts of voltage, current, resistance, power, and energy, and how they relate to each other will also be discussed.

• Interesting Insects with Jennifer Lund. Ever wonder about the private lives of the creepy crawlies? This class will tell you about the diversity of insects and the profound, though often unnoticed, effects they have on human lives. They can be beneficial, detrimental, or somewhere in-between. In this class you’ll be introduced the exciting world of insects and will explore how insects communicate with one another, how they defend themselves against predators and colony collapse disorders. And should we be worried about pollinators? If you live near a pond or stream, do you know what types of insects can be found there?

• Assessing Your Health and Health Care with Dr. Henry “Toby” Atkins. This class will be a personal and introspective look at health risks, risk behaviors, and managing your health care, along with understanding your family history.

• Gardening: Basics and Troubleshooting with Charles L. Boothby. Hard to believe but gardening season is approaching and the time in now to learn about improving the soil, times to plant, equipment needed, mulching, organic vs. conventional management, admissible organic pesticides, troubleshooting, and herbs and their uses. Guest presenters will include a soil scientist, an herbalist and a botanist.

This is just a few of the interesting classes being offered this spring. For a complete course listing, log on mainecenteronaging.org, eaaa.org or contact PVSC at 992-0118. Keep in mind this is a message phone only so leave your name and phone number. Someone will call you in a day or two. Parking passes are recommended if you are taking a class on the Orono campus.

Take your winter hats off and put your thinking caps on, the deadline for signing up is Feb. 23.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. Email Higgins Taylor at chtaylor@eaaa.org. For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, email info@eaaa.org or visit http://www.EAAA.org. TTY 992-0150.

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