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
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
Russ pointed out all sorts of tools used in the shop. The young
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.