Lumberjack lessons

Douglas Petersen, a retired anthropologist and naturalist, told the children “tall tales” of Paul Bunyan after they finished their lumberjack breakfast of sweat pads (pancakes), fried sowbelly (ham) and spuds

Sixth-grade students from St. John’s Prep School in Collegeville and All Saints Academy in St. Joseph paired up Feb. 11 to enjoy a “Lumberjack Day” at the prep school.

Students participated in classroom activities, shared a lumberjack-style meal, heard tall tales about Paul Bunyan, went sledding and learned from experts about logging practices at St. John’s Outdoor University.

Sixth-grade teachers Mary Anderson from the prep school and Susan Huls from All Saints Academy were inspired to implement Lumberjack Day after attending the Minnesota Historical Society Teacher Immersion Program at the Forest History Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, this summer.

“This three-day workshop had us immersed in the life of a lumber camp,” Anderson explained. “We dressed as lumber camp employees and learned about all parts of the lumber camp business. While we were there we enjoyed a delicious lumberjack breakfast.”

Anderson thought the idea would fit well with SJP’s “interim week,” during which all prep students participate in unique learning experiences.
In Minnesota, all sixth-graders study Minnesota studies. Learning about the state’s first industries is part of the curriculum.

Benedictine Brother Walter Kieffer, right, and Kyle Rauch, left, education coordinator for St. John’s Outdoor University, talk to sixth-graders from St. John’s Prep School and All Saints Academy in St. Joseph about logging, both past and present.

“The greatest reward of the day was watching the SJP students and ASA students have fun while learning about our lumber industry,” Anderson said. “I also thought the sourdough pancakes were fantastic.”


Author: Kristi Anderson

Kristi Anderson is the editor of The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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