Iowa history in our schools

You can read all you want in a book about what Iowa used to be like more than a hundred years ago, but there’s no better way to make a lasting impression on a young mind than to let them see and touch artifacts from a time past.

Sarah Rueger, Wright County’s new Naturalist, had some very special items to share with Eagle Grove Elementary first graders on Wednesday, Nov. 20 to help them learn about the young Iowa landscape. The students have heard about how the pioneers walked through tall prairie grass on their way to settling the new land that would become Iowa, but when Rueger had them stand up next to a bunch of it, they discovered just how very tall it was, and is. When Rueger told them to imagine walking through a field of this, and how they would not be able to see what was in front of them, the kids let out a variety of expressions.

Then she asked them, “What type of animal do you suppose could see over this prairie grass?”

There were lots of guesses...lions, tigers, dinosaurs...but when they learned it was bison, they were intrigued. When she pulled out a bison skull, they were even more captivated.

Rueger explained to the young learners that bison once congregated in Wright County...many, many years ago. But hunters, both human and animal, eliminated them from natural existence here. The students wanted to know more about the majestic animals and where they still roamed free today. As Rueger passed around the bison’s horn off of the skull, she answered that question as well as explaining how useful the horns were to the pioneers and the Native Americans so long ago. Other fun facts she shared with the kids about bison was that they can run 35 miles per hour, and their horns never, ever fall off until after they are dead (unlike a deer who sheds their antlers every year).

For the full story, see this week's Eagle Grove Eagle. Subscribe by calling 1-800-558-1244 ext 122 or email Deb at circulation@midamericapub.com or by clicking here.