These are unprecedented times, making this one of the most unusual 12 Things to Do posts we’ve ever created. Just because we’re all staying at home to keep each other safe, doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for enjoyment and enrichment. Here are a dozen virtual ways to be informed and inspired by our state’s creativity and ingenuity in April.

April 5 FestiFools
They may not be gathering on Main Street, but the wacky souls behind Ann Arbor’s FestiFOOLs still have some fun in store. They are developing a brand-new, virtual online Festival of Miniature Puppet Vignettes. Students in the University of Michigan’s Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts are making super tiny, fabulously foolish, video puppet vignettes, and you are invited to tune in on Sunday, April 5 at 4pm to experience the show.

April 8,15,22,29 Innovation Journeys with The Henry Ford
Unfortunately putting safety first means delaying the much-anticipated opening day at Greenfield Village, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities to still explore and be awed by The Henry Ford. Join the museum on Facebook live each Wednesday at 10am to learn about the actions and habits of innovators through a story brought to life through its collections. Each is designed to help viewers understand and apply the concepts to real-world situations. Students will even be encouraged to build their own innovation journey and share with others.

 April 8 Elections in the Corona Virus Pandemic
COVID-19 is testing America’s electoral system in unprecedented ways, and immediate action is required to ensure that jurisdictions can conduct elections in a safe, secure, and effective manner. The Center for American Progress is hosting an online event with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, and Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. The trio will discuss state election preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemic and the federal resources states need to safeguard free and fair elections. You must RSVP to watch the livestream event by clicking this link. An email will then be sent with instructions on how to watch.

April 13 MSU Global Day of Service
Every year in April Michigan State University invites students, alumni, and friends of the university to participate in its Global Day of Service. This year, amidst the crisis, two things have changed. The first is that many of the volunteer opportunities have been altered in keeping with social distancing and other safety requirements. The second, is that arguably, service to our community has never been more important. Visit the website for existing opportunities or create one of your own.

April 14, 17 Glass Academy Glassblowing Demos
Once it is safe to open up area businesses again, the Glass Academy in Dearborn is an excellent place to visit to watch incredible artistry, take a class, or purchase some unique creations. In the meantime, this family-owned business invites you to join them on Facebook live as they use their quarantime to fire, spin, and blow sand into remarkable glassworks.

April 22 Virtual Earth Day Celebration A2ZERO
The annual Ann Arbor Earth Day Festival has been cancelled, but the celebration lives on. Join in for a virtual gathering of local leaders, nonprofits, storytellers, and artists for a day full of music, panels, presentations, movies, games, and more from 9am to 8pm.  Register here to get the link to the virtual event. Once you receive the link, you can drop-in online anytime throughout the day. For a schedule of the day’s events, visit the A2Zero event page.

April 22 50th Anniversary Earth Day Celebration
Students and families are invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in a livestream conversation with Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy on April 22 at 10am. Clark will talk about ways Michigan students can take steps to help protect the earth. She also will be joined by EGLE’s climate and energy adviser Brandy Brown. Both will answer questions from the community. The event is open to the public, but especially welcoming to Michigan’s students K-12 and their teachers. The livestream also will name student honorees for EGLE’s Earth Day Poster Contest and recipients of the department’s first-ever Environmental Service Award.

April 22 Detroit River Coalition’s eEarth Day
The ongoing quarantine and social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 have put a hold on many planned activities, but that did not stop The Detroit River Coalition from pushing forward to honor Earth Day in a unique way. Enter eEarth Day, an online activity in which individuals are invited to choose one single-use plastic item that they use on a day-to-day basis and replace it with recycled or reusable items.

April 23 MSU Filmetry Festival
Find some inspiration at 7pm on Thursday, April 23 as MSU livestreams its Filmetry Festival. They will be screening a collection of student, faculty and guest filmmakers adapting work from poems featured in RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music. The virtual event is a collaboration between the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, the Film Studies Program and the Department of English, and the MSU Libraries.

April 24 Coping with Stress & Anxiety in Perilous Times
With the heightened stress and ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, people are turning to mindfulness now more than ever. In this webinar, led by Denise Shields, Ph.D., eMindful’s Director of Curriculum, Delivery and Research, participants will learn three strategies to apply to the next normal and how to improve leadership through the organizational changes ahead, as well as one’s own mental health today.

April 24 12th Annual Global Automotive & Mobility Innovation Challenge (GAMIC)
Twelve teams were selected from an international pool of 24 Semifinalists to compete as Finalists in the 2020 GAMIC Finals. They include five (5) international companies and seven (7) U.S. companies, that will compete for over $300k in cash and in-kind support. In this new online format, each team will have 10 minutes to present followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from the judges. The event also includes a chat called How to Turn Uncertainty into Action, which focuses on the use and implementation of a unique planning tool for times like this when nothing is predictable. The event takes place from 10:30am-4:00pm via Zoom and is free. Online registration required to gain access.

April 28 High Water Summit Town Hall
Rising water levels in Michigan continue to pose serious threats. In response, the ad hoc Michigan High Water Action Team has scheduled a High Water Summit webinar for 5pm-6:30pm on April 28. It will focus on Great Lakes shoreline erosion and permitting. Presentations will be made by staff of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE); Dr. Guy Meadows of Michigan Technological University; Charlie Simon of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District Regulatory Office; Dan Dietz of Dietz House Moving of Muskegon; and Brian Majka of GEI Consultants in Grand Rapids. Topics will include permitting processes and alternatives for homes or critical structures that are in jeopardy. The webinar is open to the public, community officials, private property owners and businesses affected by Great Lakes shoreline erosion, but is limited to 1,000 attendees so register soon.

Author: BMN Staff