Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012
With the support of 3M, Silos and Smoke Stacks NHA, Eastern National and the National Park Foundation, Effigy Mounds was able to again present teachers’ workshops for educators from the tri-state area this year.
The theme this year was “Past Cultures of the Upper Mississippi River Valley” and 263 teachers and 61 other participants gave up several summer Saturdays to learn about the early settlers of the “Valley.” They visited historical sites, studied local history in depth and were able to master a variety of heritage skills.
Ranger Merle Frommelt, along with these business and organizational partners, has combined forces for several summers to inspire the teachers who motivate the students in the Upper Mississippi River Valley. A love of children and the knowledge of the importance of education have brought them together to help the educators with information, books and educational tools to make science, history, humanities, and art more informative, relevant and exciting in the classrooms. The educators will be able to pass on the knowledge from the 2012 teachers workshops to their students during the new 2013 school year and beyond.
This summer the teachers came to the workshops to learn traditional skills, the history of the early settlers and visit local heritage sites. There were visits to the Villa Louis, a Victorian home, where there was a discussion of the “have and have not’s,” the style of their dress, the mode of travel, the tintype photographs and Victorian music. At Vesterheim Norwegian village, they visited the homes where the settlers lived and they viewed farm machinery manufactured for early farmers.
They visited a recreation of a railroad town at Osborne Nature Center and learned how to make candles and bread, spin yarn and gather wild berries, sumac, mushrooms and many other food sources used by early settlers. They also learned how to create many early foods using local plants. The teachers visited Seed Savers, a heritage seed repository and one of the homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder in Burr Oak, Iowa. There were even lessons in historic surface mapping and the building of and life in a log house the early settlers would have had in the Upper Mississippi River Valley.
Throughout the five workshops, speakers, historians, and naturalists gave out lesson plans and made suggestions about uses of their material in the classroom. When the workshops ended on August 4th, there were new ideas, knowledge to share with students, lessons to be written, and a renewed excitement for the 2013 school year.
Thanks to the staff of Effigy Mounds National Monument, 3M, Silos and Smoke Stacks, Eastern National and the National Park Foundation, more than 8000 students will benefit from the 2012 teachers’ workshops.