A Backpack Journalist presents at AUSA Family Forum – History Comes Alive at Cantigny

History Comes Alive at Cantigny

Linda Dennis, A Backpack Journalist, LLC

WASHINGTON, DC  October 21,2013

General George Washington appeared at Cantigny Park via a short movie documentary shown at the AUSA Family Forum.  Appearing following an open virtual forum with Senior Leaders, the video is shown here also!  Missing is the introduction, which follows here!

Hello to backpackers watching today from Chicago, Colorado Springs and Atlanta!

A Backpack Journalist has had a year of “real world experiences”. It’s been a year of budget issues also and that “S” word!   However, thanks to our backpackers who have represented us well, we were able to secure grants to support military youth for three major A Backpack Journalist projects.  Each project involved the use of our curriculum and hands on workshop, a real world experience and then a venue that provided us with multiple stories to gather and report, and amazing learning opportunities beyond our traveling classroom.  We went from Nature Storytelling with Fossils at Florissant Fossil Beds and the history of fossils and prehistoric times, to Cantigny and the First Division Museum –Big Red One and Freedom Express and the Robert R. McCormick Museum – to spending time with 4000 volunteers from all across America at Points of Light.

The outcomes we are going to share with you today.   They include: two Portfolio full color books, with articles, stories, interviews, photographs by the backpackers, and then with the help of educators we added lesson plans on the subjects aligned to standards and common core.   Each book has QR codes that take you to the web where our video stories are – and allowing for virtual tours.  Imagine this, a youth in South Dakota or perhaps in the Virgin Islands, will be able to read about Robert R. McCormick and his legacy, and scan the QR code and find an interview with Eric Gillespie, the curator of the McCormick Research Center or Bill Brewster’s sharing of some of the 15,000 artifacts that they have in the Collections.  Even hear the Colonel speaking!  Meet General George Washington.  So History Comes Alive at Cantigny is this Portfolio Book and we will be showing you today a documentary film trailer that accompanies this!

This Nature Storytelling with Fossils is a book of science and adventure.  The science was shared with us by the Park Rangers and the Paleontologist at Florissant, and what an adventure!  Military youth from the Colorado Springs area participated and learned (as I did) about the earth’s formation 34 million years ago, Redwood trees sitting in Colorado, when today they are only found in California and then there was the paleontology lab filled with examples of shale with wasp, leaves that tell the name of the tree by the edges and the climate from millions of years ago.  Imagine that a leaf fossil was found at Florissant for a tree only found today in Africa!   At Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument we learned that it was this National Park who piloted the Post to Parks program that supports the military family, and we met the Ranger who writes songs and sings to children encouraging them to visit our national parks, Did I mention along the way, the backpackers also interview Senator Mark Udall and heard him say – “Be sure you find the time at least once in your life to sleep under the stars”

The content for each of our portfolio books –History Comes Alive, A Backpack journalist’ Educational portfolio books – are written by youth for youth, “paying it forward” and sharing our learning adventure at each venue.  I should mention, we are selling these Portfolio Books via our website and Amazon, with a percentage of the proceeds going back to each venue – Florissant Fossil Beds and Cantigny Park –  to support our return for a 2014 workshop to again “pay it forward!”.