Students from throughout Mitchell County took time from classroom studies to experience what life was like prior to the 1850s during Education Day of the Cedar River Rendezvous held at the Milton R. Owen Nature Center.

On Friday, Sept. 20, second and fifth graders, from Osage, and fifth graders from St Ansgar attended the Rendezvous, which centered on the historical time of 1800 to 1840. This was the time when trapping, fur trading, blacksmithing, soap making and bow hunting where common in frontier America.

During the event, individuals portrayed their ancestors, while providing information as to how people lived two centuries ago.

Students made their way from campsite to campsite, where they found individuals dressed in clothing of the time period, giving presentations and answering questions as to how people once lived.

Rod Kauten, of Parkersburg, gave a little history of bow hunting and then each fifth-grade student was given an opportunity to shoot three arrows using modern bows. Kauten demonstrated his antique English Yew Bow.

Blacksmith Morey Bandel, of LeRoy, Minnesota, showed students how to heat metal in a small forge to 2,500 degrees and then reshape and bend it.

Mrs. Randall’s second grade class watched as Kathy Kratz, of Manly, demonstrated how cloth was woven on a loom.

“Everything is more difficult when you live as they used to,” said Lynn Snyder of Wyoming, Iowa, “and it makes you appreciate what our ancestors lived through. Still living like this is very peaceful.” She and her husband came to the Rendezvous in their homemade covered wagon. Kratz showed students the various wooden flutes Native Americans once played.

“What do you think I make soap out of?” Kyera Reams, of Osage, asked the students. She shared soap was once made from liquefied animal fat. She also gave a demonstration of how she carves faces out of Cottonwood bark.

Dawn Ask Martin, Karen Agee and Darlene Miller demonstrated skill of spinning fibers.

The students also learned about the wildlife found in Mitchell County.

At his station, Michael Maas shared about large birds of prey. Mitchell and Floyd County Game Warden Jacob Fulk showed students various pelts from animals native to this area. He then shared a little bit about each of the animals.

Gwen Voaklander and Emily Maliszewski, both of Osage, shared about current beekeeping practices. Voaklander, who has her own hive, told students bees cluster together in a ball during the winter and create enough heat to keep the temperature at 95 degrees in the hive.

The day ended with a frontier "Pirate Show."

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