The Collins Leaning Center will be closed over the Thanksgiving holidays, but the trails will be open for those who want to be blessed by beauty of nature this special time of year.
We’ve all known the Thanksgiving story since childhood. The Pilgrims, after a devastating winter of illness and starvation, learned to grow gardens from a little Indian boy named Squanto, who was into organic fertilizer. According to the story I learned in first, or maybe, second grade, Squanto, who somehow spoke fluent English, taught the Pilgrims to place three fishes in each row of corn and consequently, the Pilgrim gardens grew like magic. Squanto was my hero.
Historians tell us that there really was a Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet band of the Wanpanoag tribe, but he was not a little boy. He was kidnapped by a British explorers at least twice, sold into slavery in Spain… but rescued by monks, worked as an indentured servant in London, and spent some time in Newfoundland, before finally returning to Cape Cod area. By the time he returned to his home in 1619, his entire village had been wiped out, presumably by disease. Smallpox?
So Squanto settled with the Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony and he gave them much needed advice on to how farm in the hostile growing environment of Cape Cod region, (often call the Door County of the East) He acted as an interpreter. He helped negotiate a peace treaty.
Some accounts suggest that Squanto was involved in some sort of intrigue. Was Squanto the selfless friend of the Pilgrims? Was he secretly conspiring with the leaders of area Indian tribes? Was he power-hungry? Were the Pilgrims kind or fair to Indians? (No!)
I clearly remember my elementary lessons about The First Thanksgiving. My classmates and I, decked out in construction paper headdresses and Pilgrim collars and hats, re-enacted the jubilant autumn festival, complete with ” grocery bag turkeys”. (Remember those–brown bags with stuffed with wadded up newspapers and sticky with paste where the red and orange paper feathers fell off) One lucky boy got to be Squanto and bury paper fish. And we acted out the friendly competitions between the Pilgrims and in Indians.
Did that even happen? Or was The First Thanksgiving actually a day in July when the Pilgrims prayerfully gathered to thank God that the supply ship had finally arrived from England?
Historians will forever debate the contributions and motivations of Squanto and true story of Thanksgiving, but whether or not the story is accurate, one has to treasure the Legend of The First Thanksgiving. How inspiring that native people welcomed immigrants and helped them survive in America.
A traditional Thanksgiving hymn describe a Harvest Home. “All is safely gathered in…ere the winter storms begin.” That is certainly true of Red Squirrels. On Sunday, November 27, at 2:00, The Lecture: “Red Squirrels and Their Harvest Homes” will be presented in the Lower Level Learning Space of the Collin Learning Center. This program is free and open to the public.
Check any school calendar and you will notice a holiday call Mildred Fish-Harnack Day. For years I was baffled by this holiday. Wisconsin Public Television produced a remarkable documentary about this Milwaukee-born, University of Wisconsin graduate and her role in Hilter’s Germany. Wisconsin’s Nazi Resistance: The Mildren Fish-Harnack Story will be shown in the lecture hall of the Collins Learning Center. It will be free and open to the public.
The Collins Learning Center will be closed Wednesday, November 23 though Saturday, November 25. The trails of all three preserves will be open. Because we are in City Limits, hunting is not permitted. Normal business hours during November and December are 2:00-4:00.
Sunday, November 27
2:00 Lecture: Red Squirrels and their Harvest Homes
A traditional Thanksgiving hymn describe a Harvest Home. “All is safely gathered in…ere the winter storms begin.” That is certainly true of Red Squirrels. This 40 minute presentation is appropriate for all ages and will be presented in the Lower Level Learning Space of the Collin Learning Center. This program is free and open to the public.
Monday, November 28
Monday Movie: Wisconsin’s Nazi Resistance: The Mildred Fish-Harnack Story
Ever school calendar in the state lists the 16th of September as Mildred-Fish Harnack Day. Why? Wisconsin Public Television produced a remarkable documentary about this Milwaukee-born, University of Wisconsin graduate and her role in Hilter’s Germany. Wisconsin’s Nazi Resistance: The Mildren Fish-Harnack Story will be shown in the lecture hall of the Collins Learning Center. It will be free and open to the public.