Friday, Sep 7, 2012
On August 25th, Effigy Mounds National Monument celebrated the 96th birthday of the National Park Service with a unique “moonlight hike” that featured lively stories and accounts from the history of the National Park Service.
Due to late summer thunderstorms, the program was moved indoors to the auditorium, where four presenters talked to the audience while scenic images on the auditorium screen took the visitors on a virtual tour of the monument.
The evening began with a presentation of “Stones, Bones, and Sticks,” a prehistoric tool demonstration, by interpretive ranger Merle Frommelt, who gave the audience a glimpse into the lives of the Woodland Culture who inhabited the monument 2,000 years ago.
Next, park biologist Jessica Bolwahn Salesman shared stories of George Wright, the father of NPS natural resources, and other early naturalists who helped shape and define their role in the National Park Service. As she spoke, she took the audience on a virtual tour of the Fire Point Overlook via the big screen behind her.
From Eagle Rock, interpretive ranger Mary Techau with a hand puppet bear cub told humorous tales of animal encounters throughout the National Park System and in the process educated the audience on what to do when they come upon wildlife in the outdoors.
And, finally, poor “Gertie,” interpretive rRanger Emily Groom, arrived at Little Bear (virtually) in the uniform of the 1970’s. She pretended she had twisted her ankle in her high heeled boots and had to fill out an incident report. But as she worked, she entertained the audience with stories of how the roles of women and their uniforms changed over the years.
When the visitors finished their virtual tours, a gathering out in the visitor center of nearly one hundred people sang “Happy Birthday” and some of the children blew out the candles on the cake. Cake, other treats, lemonade, and memories were provided to all in attendance. The rain stopped and everyone went home with a greater appreciation of the National Park Service.