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Listen & Learn 

Published July 2, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.

click to enlarge Trish Denton (left) and Mary Wesley of the Vermont Folklife Center will helm the Green Record Project - COURTESY OF VERMONT FOLKLIFE CENTER
  • Courtesy of Vermont Folklife Center
  • Trish Denton (left) and Mary Wesley of the Vermont Folklife Center will helm the Green Record Project

In 1977, two gold-plated phonograph records with sounds and electronic images selected to represent the diversity of life and culture on Earth were launched into space on NASA's Voyager spacecraft. Known as the Golden Record, the contents were "intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials," according to NASA. Curated by a committee chaired by famed astronomer Carl Sagan, they included photographs, songs, everyday noises and greetings in 55 different languages. This summer, Vermonters of all ages can take part in an initiative inspired by the Golden Record. The Green Record Project, a collaboration between the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury and the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, aims to produce "an audio time capsule" that represents life in Vermont, said the Folklife Center's education program co-coordinator Trish Denton. Funded by a library grant from NASA, the initiative coincides with Vermont libraries' space-themed summer reading program, "A Universe of Stories," as well as the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Individuals and groups can sign up to make a recording that includes different sections — including a personalized greeting, sounds of the earth, musical selections and more. Participants can record on a mobile phone or on a voice recorder available for check-out. Recordings will be archived at the Folklife Center and showcased at a listening party at Champlain College's Emergent Media Center in August. The project "fits so perfectly with the work we do at the Folklife Center of capturing stories of culture and individuals' lived experience," said Denton, and it also gives parents and kids the opportunity to "learn side by side."

Green Record Project drop-in workshops take place at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington on Fridays July 12, 19, 26 and August 2 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Find out more about the project and sign up to make a recording at

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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About The Author

Alison Novak

Alison Novak

Alison is the former managing editor at Kids VT, Seven Days' parenting publication and writes about education for Seven Days.


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