Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Erie Canal: More than Grade 4 - Schoharie Crossing

In New York State it is often accepted that students are taught about the Erie Canal in fourth grade and that is sufficient.  A few refrains of “Low bridge, everybody down” will imbed Clinton’s Ditch deeply into the hearts and minds of nine and ten year olds forever doomed to hum the tune during bored excursions with family or long walks from the bus stop.  A pity however, as the history of the Erie Canal has so much more to offer students even beyond elementary education.  It is difficult to even know where to begin, and perhaps that is part of the problem.
Schoharie Crossing offers terrific programs for fourth grade curriculum, and it meets many Common Core Standards.  More so, it goes beyond that, and can be used to foster deeper understanding of so many subjects.  The canal helps to explore topics ranging from economics to engineering, from social programs to geological history and from politics to biology and scientific principles.    Add a splash of good old historic preservation and a few heavy drops of archeology and Schoharie Crossing maintains the recipe for being a successful engaging educational resource. 
Whether these can be applied to other grade groups is not a matter of yes, but how.  This mostly falls into the parapet heavily defended by educators and most often attacked by budgets and funding cuts.  It seems logical that bringing students to a historic site would be invaluable to them learning history – and at a place like Schoharie Crossing that is over three hundred years covered by accessible historical interpretation.   What is often overlooked is what history truly is and how that can be applied across standards, shifts and disciplines.  An excursion to the site can yield results in natural sciences, political science, social science, the arts and more, heck even physical education. 

A few ways to illustrate this is by using the sixty-five thousand dollar word, “inquiry.”  Let’s ask some questions:

Who benefits?  Short answer is we all do.  Students and educators will find great resources available at the site, or just by accessing heritage sites in general such as museums, parks and historical homes.  Well informed educators bring about well-informed students that produce results on assessments but even more importantly are well-informed members of civil society.

How do they benefit?   By gaining a better understanding of a myriad of topics and conveying that into additional curiosity to explore further.   The major focus is educating, and a great portion of that teaching that it is enjoyable to learn.  Coming to Schoharie Crossing is fun, and by default learning occurs.

What can they learn?  Aside from the above mentioned – a whole lot more.  From aspects as varied as the politics, economics and social reforms of the Early Republic American & NY State history, to the colonial interactions between the Europeans and Mohawks of the region, to the geological history of New York and why that allowed for the patterns of settlement as well as the Erie Canal.  Topics can be explored into engineering and technology of the canal from hand dug to steam power, or businesses and communities along the canal – how they prospered and/or how they failed.  From natural resources and environmental impact to creative solutions to complicated problems and even how families lived on and around the canal.  Students can see how everything was interconnected into a larger system and how that operated – and at times how it didn’t. 

What ways are there to learn?  One great way is the primary details of the site.  The physical features, the current canal and the remains of the earlier canal systems as well as the archeological evidence from 18th century Fort Hunter.   Additionally primary documents can be used, from photographs to letters, diaries and store ledgers to illustrate daily life, economics, social class distinctions and quite obviously historical events and people.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Natural sciences can be illustrated too, as a visit to the site isn’t complete without witnessing the abundance of nature in and along the old canal as well as from the banks of the Schoharie Creek and/or the Mohawk River.  From various flora and fauna to the ways in which they are taking back parts of industrial human footprints, examples are nearly everywhere.
Why visit?  Seems hardly a question worth answering again, but in the most simple of terms – students learn.  

Students, regardless of grade, can come to the site, read panels, see artifacts, engage in conversation, ask questions and seek answers.  

By making use of the Ticket to Ride grant offered by the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and the National Park Foundation, students will be given the ability to make the best of those learning opportunities and hopefully right here at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site. 

For more information & details on how to access this grant, please visit: The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor 

To contact Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site –PO Box 140 – 129 Schoharie St., Ft. Hunter, NY 12069 – (518) 829-7516 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Writing Workshop at Schoharie Crossing

A Writing Workshop w/ Amy Lee Czadzeck
Whether you are writer of poetry, prose, fiction, memoir, a journal keeper, or just keep notes in your pocket, “Writing Self-Narrative Imperfectly” will help you discover and develop your unique writing voice. The workshop will focus on the process of generating your own work and developing self-care practices, quieting your inner editor, and to discover your writing edges. You will deepen your craft with more clarity and learn how to write bravely; meeting yourself and others’ pieces wherever you may be along the way throughout the day.
Amy Lee Czadzeck will facilitate creative exercises and offer inspired instruction to emb...race, explore, and authentically craft a self-narrative writing practice to bring back to your daily life.

Who this workshop may be for: It’s for you. The one that is an excellent observer of people, nature, and whom delights in simple things. You are sensitive and sensing and also not afraid to live in a beautiful mess. You want to begin a creative practice or are currently cultivating a creative life. 

This workshop is for you if you are looking for accountability in your work and looking for a place to open a notebook and write.

$30 fee
*Register or for more information:
* amyleeczadzeck@gmail.com *

Amy Lee Czadzeck is a thirty something poet writing about motherhood and living with chronic illness. She lives in the foothills of the Adirondacks with her husband, son, and dog, Herbie. Her poem, "The Appointment" is published in Typoetic.us: A Literary Magazine. She has twice been a part of the #GROWFIERCE reading series alongside a community of women writers at Bluestockings book store in NYC. She has led a group of active summer writers in a 8-week online writing course using writing as a tool for healing. She is currently underway of publishing her first poetry chapbook, “Small Gift.”


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tai Chi - wellness for body & mind

Photo by: Hal Sigurdsson

Tai Chi at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site Fort Hunter –  Montgomery County, New York

Photo by: Hal Sigurdsson
Conducted a session outside as the sun was setting on a great day at Schoharie Crossing.  Open sky and sun to the west, while dark clouds churned to the east.  We had six of our eight participants present.  The participants are doing very well with the program and have given nothing but great comments about their progress and the location of the sessions.  They are eager each class to practice and learn more as well.  During each class we utilize the stepwise method as outlined by the program, and emphasize a principle of tai chi such as imagined resistance all the while focusing on weight transfer and posture. 
Thank you to the NYS Dept of Health and the Arthritis Foundation for this opportunity, as well as Tai Chi for Health Institute.

 Wellness & Fall Risk

Tai Chi is an ancient practice that today is used quite successfully as a gentle exercise.  At Schoharie Crossing we have been able to make available to a group of participants this wonderful program that is meant to encourage wellness and combat the risk of falling.  September is Fall Risk Prevention month, and the 23rd was more specifically Fall Risk Prevention Day - so what better way to recognize that than to conduct the session outside in the great autumn air as the sun was starting to descend?
       Much of the focus during this program is the awareness of weight transfer and spacial place of the self to the environment.  While imagining slight resistance to the movements, as well as breathing exercises and gentle progression of slow deliberate motion accomplishes this through focus, the participants are realizing the benefits to their daily lives.  One such testimonial only half-way through this course was a participant describing how they have incorporated principles of tai chi into their daily at home activities.  From the warm up exercises to remembering proper posture, breathing and movement. 
     It is wonderful to have this program being offered at the site, as it helps to illustrate just what is and can be offered at such a historic location.  While Schoharie Crossing does celebrate the Erie Canal and its pre-canal history, it celebrates even more the community that surrounds by showing the human condition in all of its shadows and light.  In this modern age, the site is a great source of historical information and recreation.  Deem it EduRecreation, but either way visiting the site for any of the programs, events or just to walk the trails, etc. is a great experience, a lot of fun and can bring wellness to your body and your mind.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Friends Talk tonight w/ Wayne Lenig

Please come out!  Enjoy this talk from Wayne Lenig - stick around for refreshments, pick up a copy of the newsletter and enjoy some great conversation.



A sure-fire way to help Schoharie Crossing present intriguing, entertaining and educational programs/events is to join the Friends of Schoharie Crossing.  Through your financial donation, we fund outreach programs, Not Just for Kids Storytelling, site events, Canal Days, professional development for staff, and much much more! 

But we are seeking more than just money; your resources of time and word of mouth about this great historic site are invaluable!  Share with friends, get the word out, bring buddies or family to the boat launch for a picnic, check out Putnam Canal Store at Yankee Hill and while you are on site, stop into the Visitor Center – check out the exhibit space and chat with the friendly staff.  Volunteer for our events, help maintain the canal or towpaths, help with office work or promotions – there really are countless ways to give a little bit of yourself to further the preservation of history.

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Look forward: Friends of SXSHS Autumn Newsletter

Scheduled for release...

Early infancy stage of Autumn 2014 Friends Newsletter
The Friends of Schoharie Crossing newsletter is slated for release the end of September or early Ocotober.  There are still a few copies of the Spring/Summer edition, for those interested it is available at the SXSHS Visitor Center or by contacting the site for a copy to be mailed.  Check out the official Facebook page where image files were also uploaded. 
If you are interested in becoming a Friend and/or contributing to the newsletter, please let us know.  We can be reached through the site, via twitter, this blog or Google+

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Writing Self-Narrative Imperfectly; a Writers workshop

Schoharie Crossing Hosting Writers Workshop:

October 11th - 9am-2pm   $30

Amy Lee Czadzeck will be conducting a writers workshop entitled: Writing Self-Narrative Imperfectly on Saturday, Oct. 11th from 9am-2pm* at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site.

There will be creative exercises and inspired instruction to embrace, explore, and authentically craft a self-narrative writing practice to bring back to your daily life. Whether you are writer of poetry, prose, fiction, memoir, a journal keeper, or just keep notes in your pocket, “Writing Self-Narrative Imperfectly” will help you discover and develop your unique writing voice. The workshop will focus on the process of generating your own work and developing self-care practices, quieting your inner editor, and to discover your writing edges.

This workshop is for you if you are looking for accountability in your work and looking for a place to open a notebook and write.

More information at:  Schoharie Crossing Event: Writing Self-Narrative Imperfectly
or: http://www.amyczadzeck.com/#!workshop/c12s6

*Please bring a picnic lunch. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

A great string of events...

What a great string of events coming up this September!

First, Old Fort Johnson is hosting this local favorite - Taste of History
$20 - Reservations are required, check out their website or call for more details: (518) 843-0300 


Our popular fall fundraiser features a variety of homemade soups/stews or chowders, breads and pies made by local cooks.  Adult admission is $20.00 - Child admission is $10.00, and both include a commemorative souvenir mug along with all the soup, bread and pie you care to eat.  Seating is limited and reservations are required.  Call 518-843-0300 to purchase your ticket.
 * * *
Then, Fort Plain Museum kicks off their Fall Lecture Series with Don Hagist and Todd Andrlik from "The Journal of the American Revolution” (allthingsliberty.com)
FREE but Donations gratefully accepted.

...both will be offering a presentation with a brief question and answer period. Following the presentations there will be a meet and greet with the Authors signing their books.

 Don will be doing a presentation based on his book, “British Soldiers, American War.” Todd will be doing a presentation based on his book, “Reporting the Revolutionary War.” All three books will be available for sale and for both authors to sign.

* * * 

That following weekend, Johnson Hall State Historic Site will present the Re-creation of the Battle of Johnstown!

"Johnson Hall will host an encampment and re-creation of the 1781 Battle of Johnstown, considered the final battle of the American Revolution. "


Saturday will feature an open house at Johnson Hall, walking tours of the site’s grounds, musket and artillery demonstrations, and interpretive locations related to the battle throughout Johnstown. On Sunday there will be an open house at Johnson Hall as well as memorial services held 12:00 PM at the colonial cemetery and Sir William Johnson’s grave. At 1:30 PM The Battle of Johnstown will commence through the streets of Johnstown, culminating on the battlefield site on Johnson Ave.

* * *
 The Nellis Tavern is also holding a great function on September 20th:

EVENING AT THE TAVERN - Saturday, September 20 - 4:00 – 7:00 PM. (at tavern)
Wine and hors d'oeuvres. Admission charge $15.00. Musical entertainment by Ron Burch.

(Donna Reston - 518–843–1601)

* * *
Lastly, on Sept. 23rd., the Friends of Schoharie Crossing is hosting Wayne Lenig for our Friends Talk & Meeting at the Enders House.  


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Schoharie Crossing Historical Group Picnic

Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site  will be hosting an end of summer gathering open to those interested in history, heritage tourism or just enjoying the company and conversation.  If you are representing a site, society or organization and have brochures, please feel free to bring some to distribute.

Schoharie Crossing Historical Group Picnic  - 

Schoharie Crossing Historical Group Picnic

Sep 8, 2014, 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM Location: 129 Schoharie St., Fort Hunter
Join us for conversation & food. All who are interested in history & heritage tourism are welcome! You are welcome to bring brochures to exchange as well as ideas.

Potluck Style—please bring a dish to share. We will provide a grill and be cooking hamburgers & hot-dogs. Please RSVP for seating  (518) 829-7516 or janice.fontanella@parks.ny.gov.


In other news, the Tai Chi for Arthritis sessions have begun and the feedback has been positive so far.  This is an 8 week program through the NYS DOH and Arthritis Foundation of America that NYS Parks has been fortunate enough to team up with and bring to Schoharie Crossing. 
The program is specifically designed for those that may benefit from the easy to learn, gentle exercise of tai chi in gaining better balance.  The site is in hopes of bringing additional programs like this one to the community and please like us on Facebook, follow on Twitter @FriendsSXSHS, or Subscribe to this blog for more information and future events/programs!