The Final 2018 Leaflet is out!
In this issue you will find stories about the hard work of our volunteers, information about upcoming programs and events, a look back at all we accomplished over the summer, and a story about Fisher, the Bald Eagle who has moved into our Raptor Woodland Refuge. Read below for a letter from our executive director, Merica Whitehall, and download and print your own copy here.
The history of the Forest comes alive with the dedication from one volunteer in particular
I recently had this special privilege of gathering, thanking, acknowledging, and connecting with volunteers that I don’t always cross paths with, some from as far away as 100 miles. It strikes me deeply to see the passion and commitment these members of our community exhibit tirelessly and without fanfare. In 2017 over 200 volunteers contributed nearly 7,000 hours of time to the Forest. That deserves to be celebrated. This edition of the Leaflet is dedicated to our volunteers. Fontenelle Forest could not operate without the help of people just like you.
Catherine Kuper is among those special people that give their time and talent joyfully. Her passion for interpretation inspired her to dedicate her time in the archives room. She often emails golden tidbits from history to our whole staff. I’ve learned a lot from Catherine.
The Baright Gallery Series gives us the opportunity to publicly display the trove of treasures being discovered in Forest archives. The current exhibit, Nebraska Phase People: The Archaeological Work of Robert F. Gilder, reflects Catherine’s archival work. Now, I invite you to enjoy this wonderful volunteer’s research.
Merica Whitehall, Executive Director, Fontenelle Forest
The following is an excerpt from a speech Catherine Kuper gave to open the archaeological exhibition:
Have you ever had someone say to you, “Where is home?” Your response might be the naming of a city or state which is a combinatio
n of houses, stores, streets, sc
hools, churches, etc., that provide the fabric of life for those of us who live here along the Missouri River in 2018.
Another group of people lived here from 1000 A.D. to 1400 A.D. and called these ridges, ravines, and wetlands home.
They lived here for approximately 400 years very successfully. Their needs for food, water, and shelter, were met remarkably well. Their ingenuity is demonstrated in their tools for hunting, farming, and fishing.
They used all the parts of an animal for a wide variety of household goods and for clothing. They found materials from Earth-like clay, granite, chert, and used them to construct cooking utensils like knives and scrapers for processing game. They preserved and stored food for use over long, cold winters.
They built lodges from natural materials they found in this area and were insulated enough to protect them from winter cold and summer heat.
How do we know about these people and their successful life here almost a thousand years ago as they left no written history? We know it through the observations and curiosity of a gentleman who walked these same ridges, ravines and wetlands at the turn of the 20th century. Robert Fletcher Gilder, a newspaperman by trade, had two interesting hobbies, painting and archeology. Robert Gilder had all the skills and intuitions he needed to be a very good amateur archaeologist.
My favorite poet, Mary Oliver has a poem entitled, Instructions for Living a Life. It is very simple: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
We hope you enjoy your time with these artifacts and that they might leave you wondering about their lives and your life and the connection between the two.
Catherine Kuper, volunteer archivist