24 Jun Preserving History and Nature
¡Hola!This week I was working on the Dempster Project down at the Education Center. (It was especially fun being at the Education Center because I saw the rangers more often and was able to talk to them further.) The Dempster Project is about the Dempster Mill Manufacturing Company that started in 1878 here in Beatrice, Nebraska. They created agricultural equipment, pumps, and windmills. A lot of their products were sold to homesteading families after the Homestead Act. As a result, we are collecting photographs, documents, and stories from former employees to preserve the history of a company that made a difference to homesteaders (and to the town of Beatrice). I spent most of the week organizing photographs into the proper categories and folders. A lot of the photos had to do with products, but some of them had to do with employees. Those are my favorites because you can see the pride in their faces, their smiles as they gathered for celebrations, and how hard they worked from the assembly line to the offices. I am now starting to look into the interviews that were completed last year and will be transcribing them soon. Hopefully I will also be able to contact more former employees and get to hear more wonderful stories. Speaking of preservation, I am so glad that Daniel Freeman’s land was restored to what is now tall prairie grass, trees, and other plant life. Seeing the animals, bugs, and insects here make me happy. I have spotted bunnies, ground squirrels, robins, muskrats, toads, butterflies, crazy-looking moths, fireflies, and deer. I have seen some of these back home, but I don’t see these many creatures every day where I live. The bunnies, the ground squirrels, and the butterflies are my favorites. They always put a smile on my face when I see them as I walk the paths. I am always trying to take pictures of the bunnies and the toads but I have yet to take an excellent photo of a bunny because they always hop away speedily. There are many different birds out here, and I’ll have to ask a ranger to help me identify them one of these days, but I see a robin almost every day. The toads are funny because they like to cool off on our porch. Sometimes I’ll see one leaping away as I step out to leave for work or when I arrive back at the end of the day. It’s always a nice surprise! “Hello, toad-friend!” I love being here because Homestead is preserving both history and nature. Preservation is important so that future generations have access to whatever is being protected, whether that is the past (culture, heritage, history) or the present (animals, plants, and land that we can still visit and value). I am enjoying the work I do in the archives of the museum, while also appreciating the nature around me. The rangers always say, “I bet this is very different from California” and it is, but in a fantastic way. Perhaps Southern California is not hot and humid the way that Nebraska is, but the rich fields of green and the interesting living things that come with it more than make up for it. I always reply, “Yes, it’s beautiful here.” This weekend I’ll be helping out with the celebrations for Homestead Days. I will actually be in the parade for the Homestead National Monument float, and then I will be doing activities with one of the rangers for the children that will be stopping by to have fun at the park. The weather forecast says it will be about 100 degrees! This will be one crazy weekend. I can’t wait to share my experience with Homestead Days. (Wish me luck with the heat out here!) ¡Hasta pronto!