Happy Earth Day and John Muir’s Birthday

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 in Howard and Betty, Kathleen's Blog, Marquette County Wisconsin | 0 comments

Happy Earth Day and John Muir’s Birthday

We had such a wonderful time with you all on Friday.  Thank you for being such enthusiastic learners!  Here are some photos from the day.  See you next month.

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Happy Earth Day! Last Friday we visited John Muir Park, Observatory Hill, and the Wee White Kirk for a Howard and Betty Love Marquette County adventure. Betty, Blanche and Beulah, the Therapy Dogs who love Marquette County, lead the way to learning more about some of the wonderful places where student live. Their first stop was Observatory Hill which is being restored to oak savannah by the DNR. When the restoration is completed, the landscape will be much like it was when the first settlers began to set up homesteads after statehood in 1848. Here you are at the top of the rhyolite outcropping, a rock that is 1.7 billion years old and one that Native Americans sometimes used to fashion their spear points.

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The Ice Age Trail loop around Ennis Lake in John Muir Park includes three bridges to be crossed. At each bridge you learned about the environment and history. Here, at bridge three, you viewed a beaver dam, learned about marl and how it was used on farmer’s fields, and about a mill that used to operate across the road using the water from the small stream to power a grinding stone.

 

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Thank you to all the parents who were able to help with our adventure!

 

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The monument was placed at the park in 1957 when the park was dedicated. It is made of Montello granite and reads, “He came to America as a lad of eleven. Spent his ‘teen years in hard work clearing the farm across this lake, carving out a home in the wilderness. In the ‘sunny woods, overlooking a flowery glacial meadow and a lake rimmed with water lilies,’ he found an environment that fanned the fire of his zeal and love for all nature, which, as a man, drove him to study, afoot, alone and unafraid, the forests, mountains and glaciers of the west, to become the most rugged, fervent naturalist America has produced, and the Father of the National Parks of our country.”

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Many of you took notes in your journal, answering questions about the glacier, the ecology around Ennis Lake, and other information available on the Kiosk in John Muir Park.  If you want to visit these sites and more and learn more about many of the wonderful places in Marquette County with your family this summer, tell your mom or dad to go to http://muirboyhoodhome.toursphere.com on your PC or your mobile phone.

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Here you are in front of the Wee White Kirk last Friday on their Howard and Betty love Marquette County adventure. The small church sits next to the pioneer or Louden Graham historic cemetery and was built in 1865.   Daniel Muir, John Muir’s father, preached here as did other hardy and dedicated early ministers and leaders of the United Presbyterian Church congregation.

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John Muir called it the Pioneer Cemetery in The Story of My Boyhood and Youth. Like other early cemeteries in Marquette County, it holds the graves of some of the earliest settlers whose lives tell the stories of life when log shanties preceded frame homes and oxen were used instead of horses to plow the new fields.   Here is John Muir’s nephew’s grave, little Andrew Reid, one of several Muir relations buried here. The Reids were also from Scotland and an important family in the newly settled wilderness community in the township of Buffalo.  Cemeteries tell us many important stories about our history.

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On the way up Observatory hill you stopped to wave for the camera last Friday while on a Howard and Betty love Marquette County adventure. Before the DNR restoration work, undergrowth and invasive tree growth blocked many views and land formations on this historic hill. Its return to oak savannah will bring back birds like red-headed woodpeckers. The way the hill looks now is more like it looked when settlers first arrived in Marquette County.

See you next month for another adventure.

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