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Working with Hands - James E. Price

  A Day of Accomplishment 1 of 3  

There are days when I feel like that it is a day of accomplishment for me. Today in The Ozark National Scenic Riverways Heritage Shop we introduced five youngsters to the joy of unplugged woodworking.

 The National Park Service in its centennial year is committed to getting children fully engaged with nature and history in the National Parks across the nation. At ONSR we are engaging junior high students to explore their traditional culture and the crafts of their ancestors.

Sure, they are each building a simple bluebird house that they can take home and install to help increase the bluebird population but they are also learning important skills with following plans and the use of measuring tapes, squares, handsaws, bitstocks and bits, eggbeater drills, planes, and other hand tools.

The learning program was led by Russ Runge, Deputy Superintendent at Ozark National Riverways, with assistance from five NPS Volunteers. All, including Russ, have been under my training for five or more years. I was extremely gratified that I have made a difference in carrying the Ozark crafts into the future.

When I was Chief Of Resources Management at ONSR The Heritage Shop was was a dream which became a reality and has grown because of enthusiastic volunteers. Now each of the people I taught are accomplished unplugged woodworkers and are skilled in joinery, coopering, basket making, tool making, spoon carving, wood splitting, and many other traditional crafts practiced by the Scots-Irish settlers who called Current River Valley their home for generations.

I have made a difference in the lives of adults and children by passing on what I learned about the old ways of working wood from the old people who taught me. It was a good day!

In this photo Russ is giving an orientation to the shop and its tools.

Russ pointed out all sorts of tools used in the shop. The young students
were awed by the old tools.

Plans used for the class came from The Missouri Department of
Conservation which show how to make a birdhouse out of a single
dog-eared cedar fence board available at the big box stores.

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