It's often said that the younger generation has not learned enough about life from past times. However, the eighth-grade students at Whitley County Middle school now have knowledge of life skills that predates the Civil War.

On Monday, Whitley County's Fine Arts, 4-H, Agricultural, and Natural Resources programs collaborated with local artists to put together their fourth annual Colonial Heritage Days.

This is a unique learning experience that teaches eighth-grade students in Whitley County about colonial life. Students are bussed from the middle school to the extension office at Goldbug. Once there, they split into three groups and rotate between three different stations: Colonial Rifles, Basket Making and Outdoor Cooking.

Basket Making is taught by retired historical enthusiast Alice Fae Weiland, 4-H Program Assistant Lisa Spaulding, and University of the Cumberlands professor Renee Yetter.

These ladies explained the clothing of the time period and brought out several samples of items to go over what different individuals in these times would have worn and why.

They even allowed students to see a sample of sheep's wool, which was one good used to make clothing items. The session was concluded by showing a display of different baskets and illustrating how they were made.

One student, Garret Bennett, was a fan of the station.

"I've enjoyed learning about the clothes that the colonial people wore," he said.

Outdoor Cooking was taught by Extension Specialist Martha Yount, Snap Program Specialist Andrea Munoz, and EFENP Specialist Cheryl Owens.

These ladies talked about the grain food group with students and how to utilize it in their daily lives in order to be at their healthiest. They covered the many nutrients found in grain and their purpose in carrying out our bodies function. They then talked about how corn bread was a popular colonial food and gave students samples to try.

The students then went outside to be taught how to make old fashioned rabbit stew. They were shown what ingredients were used and got to see everything being put into a kettle. They then were able to sample stew that had been cooking.

Colonial Rifles was taught by retired historical enthusiast Jim Moss and Agriculture and Natural Resources agent Stacy White.

The men taught the students about animals that would have been trapped, and explained the methods and traps that would have been utilized.

Moss then went into the actual rifle portion of the station. He showed the students several colonial rifles and explained their significance and workings. Moss even treated the students at the end by taking them outside to watch him shoot one of the rifles.

"I'm trying to give the students an appreciation of their heritage and to show them that they can have a love of history," Moss said.

Allowing students to dive deeper into their studies and to develop a greater love of history was the main goal of the event.

"It gives the kids a real perspective of it because all they normally get to do is sit in the classroom and now they're getting immersed in it," social studies teacher Bethann Moses said.

Fine Arts Extension Agent and event coordinator, Cortney Moses said the event had been reshaped throughout the years in efforts for it to run more efficiently. Moses also said students provide written feedback once they get back to the classroom, and they will use that information to plan events to come.

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