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Virtual Junior Ranger History Week

June 16, 2020  |  Permalink

This week, Virtual Junior Ranger Camp explored all things Tennessee History. From the ancient Woodland Period and Mississippian Mound Builders; to European exploration and settlement; to the fight for equal voting rights, and United States Presidents and Nobel Prize winners- Tennessee has been on the frontline of history-making moments. This week’s blog post is the perfect place to brush up on your Tennessee History, and maybe learn some new facts along the way! You can also follow along with Virtual Junior Ranger Camp this summer on the TSP Conservancy's Facebook page

The first day of History Week gave Junior Rangers the opportunity to learn all about the Mississippian Mound Builders. The Mississippian Mound Builders - named because of the large mounds of earth they built as places for gatherings, ceremonies, and burials- were a group of Native Americans who lived along the Mississippi River Delta. While the Mound Builders eventually moved on, the mounds they built are still visible today. They’ve helped us learn about the history and practices of the Mississippian Mound Builders’ culture. In fact, you can go visit the ancient mounds at two of our Tennessee State Parks (Harpeth River State Park and Pinson Mounds State Park) as well as Sellars Farm State Archaeological Area. 

Pinson Mounds

History Week continued with a lesson exploring the historical spots throughout Tennessee- many in our Tennessee State Parks- that are significant to a number of Native American Tribes. For example, Junior Rangers were able to learn about the Great Stone Door at South Cumberland State Park that was used as a natural passageway during their seasonal migration from the Cumberland Plateau to the valley and back. Additionally, Standing Stone State Park was named for a legend about a stone that early Native Americans believed to be of great importance. Some say the tribes of the Shawnee and Cherokee used a special stone to mark the boundary between their nations, though the real purpose of the stone remains unknown. Finally, Junior Rangers had the opportunity to watch a video explaining the significance of Red Clay State Park which is home to the Cherokee Council Grounds! (Below: Stone Door. Credit: Jessica Reid)

Stone Door by Jessica Reid

The last two days of Virtual Junior Ranger History Week gave Junior Rangers the opportunity to learn about some of Tennessee’s famous figures as well as the important role Tennessee played in the Women’s Suffrage movement. Three US presidents were connected to Tennessee: Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson. Additionally, one of Tennessee’s own won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1945. This important Tennessee figure was Cordell Hull, also known as the “Father of the United Nations”, and you can visit his birthplace at our Tennessee State Park- Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park! As mentioned earlier, Junior Rangers were also able to learn about the Women’s Suffrage movement. The 19th Amendment was passed in 1920 and gave women the right to vote. Tennessee played an important role in this historical moment, as Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the amendment making it law.

Cordell Hull Birthplace

Learning about history is an important part of becoming a Junior Ranger. Having the knowledge of the past helps us put value in the lessons learned and move forward with continued growth and understanding. See you next week for Week 3 of Virtual Junior Ranger Camp: Astronomy Week!

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Tennessee State Parks