Celebration 150 years, Kansas style

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Students from at least two Marion County elementary schools celebrated Kansas? 150th birthday Friday morning with activities focusing on learning and fun.

At Hillsboro Elementary, a good number of students and staff members accepted the challenge of dressing in pioneer garb for the day. Students then circulated through six learning stations, each with a different focus related to the state?s early days.

Traci Robb, lead ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engin?eers at Marion Reservoir, talked about local wildlife, which she illustrated with a collection of animal bones and skins.

In the library, students colored paper quilt squares, which will be attached to form several large Kansas ?quilts.?

Gary Slater, Hillsboro, talked about bees and honey and showed a variety of exhibits related to honey processing.

Carole Grosse, Goessel, sang folks songs about Kansas and talked about her experiences growing up on a farm.

Andy and Nikki Hardey, Goessel, talked about the buffalo that once roamed the plains and showed artifacts related to the animals.

Taking advantage of the good weather, students gathered on the football field near the school for the sixth station.

They competed in pancake races and watched a demonstration of buffalo-chip throwing by Evan Yoder, HES principal and buffalo owner.

Meanwhile in Goessel, students circulated through four learning centers:

Keven Hiebert, rural Goessel, an expert on Indian culture, set up a large teepee in the gym with numerous Indian and prairie artifacts.

He talked what life was like on the prairie before the white settlers arrived.

Students sat on buffalo skins while Hiebert demonstrated American Indian tools, described what life was like and took questions from students.

Students were able to hold a water bag made from the lining of a stomach from a buffalo.

The second learning center was hosted by Marj Shoemaker from the Mennonite Heritage and Agriculture Museum in Goessel.

Her theme was ?History from a Trunk.? She shared objects that were carried in the early immigrant trunks as the Mennonite settlers came across the prairie and settled in the central Kansas region.

Students were introduced to native Kansas animals by Lorrie Beck of Great Plains Nature Center at the third station.

She shared information on Kansas?s native animals. Beck brought with her a live Barred Tiger Salamander, the state?s amphibian. Students enjoyed watching the salamander devour a plate full of meal worms.

The fourth and last center was hosted by Ted Hayes of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. He shared stories of many famous Kansas athletes from Jackie Stiles to Jack Parr.

Along with the presentation he shared some artifacts such as jerseys and balls signed by famous Kansas athletes.

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