Historical Society announces winners of summer program


GOSHEN COUNTY – Goshen County Historical Society held a writing contest called ‘I’m Living History’ as part of its ‘Go Collect. Go. Learn. Go Explore: Go Goshen’ program over the summer and announced two winners for its inaugural event: the winners were sixth grader Esther Foster and third grader Henry Schmick.

In its first ever summer history writing contest, in which the Historical Society worked with Goshen County Public Library and Goshen County Visitors Center, the organization invited all children around the county to participate in a writing competition.

The guidelines required participants to write about something concerning history, wildlife, travel, geology or reading and named a number of ways for children to find inspiration as a writer, including the library. There was a total of four age categories: kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade, sixth through ninth grade and tenth through twelfth grade.

The first age group was  required to write a three-sentence paragraph about what they learned exploring Goshen County through the various topics by picking one topic. The second age group had to write at least half a page, the third age group had to write a full page and the oldest age group had to write at least two pages.

Third grader, Henry Schmick, 8, of Torrington from Valley Christian School wrote about Fort Laramie in his winning submission.

Schmick wrote: “One thing that I learned was how important Fort Laramie was. It provided protection settlers needed because of the Indians. They also provided a bridge so that the settlers could get across the river into the fort. When settlers needed help the fort would also send soldiers across the bridge to help them. They called it the Army Iron Bridge.”

Adding, “When settlers made it to the fort, they went to a store to get supplies and food. The soldiers of the fort also bought things from the store. The store was run by a man called the sutler. The sutler was not in the army, but he did get supplies for the army, so he and his store were inside the fort and safe.”

“If Fort Laramie was not a place, settling in the West would have been much harder. Good thing it is still here so we can look upon the place that helped and protected settlers.”

Yoder sixth grader Esther Foster, 11, wrote about the life of a bobcat.

Foster wrote: “Did you know that the bobcat is also known as the red lynx? We’ll be talking about the bobcat’s anatomy, their hunting habits and their babies.”

“First, we will talk about the anatomy of a bobcat’s body. Bobcats have long fur on their body to keep them warm and they also have long tufts of fur on their ears that help them hear well. Next, they have wide and furry paws that help them walk on snow. A bobcat’s paw is referred to as a giant snowshoe because their paws are long and wide. A bobcat has a short tail that is said to be a ‘bobbed tail.’ Their tails are what gave them their name, the bobcat. As you can see, a bobcat’s body is important to their daily lives.”

Adding, “Next, is talking about their hunting habits. Bobcats like all cat species are obligate carnivores. Bobcats cannot eat plants, in order to survive they have to eat meat. When a bobcat is hunting, they have certain tactics that they use. One of them is to climb on top of something and then they will jump on their prey. Another tactic is to stalk their prey, then they grab their prey and eat it. A bobcat’s diet is usually made up of small animals such as rabbits, hares and sometimes squirrels. In conclusion, bobcats have interesting ways of hunting.”

“Last, is talking about the bobcat’s babies. A bobcat baby is called a kitten like house cat babies. When a bobcat has her kittens, she will usually have one to six kittens in one litter. She also has more than one set of kittens in her entire lifetime. The kittens stay with their mother for about nine to twelve months. During that time, they learn the skills they need to have in order for them to have a good lifestyle. When the kittens go off on their own the kittens stay together for a few extra months, then they leave officially and have their own lives. Bobcat kittens are important because if a bobcat doesn’t have kittens their population will go down even more than it has in the past. As you can see, these kittens have to have a certain lifestyle that will provide them with a good future.”

Closing with, “the bobcat’s body, their habits for hunting in the wild and their kittens are important for their lives out in the wild. These things are important for them to not be killed by predators. Thinking about the bobcat, do you think that all these things are essential for them to live a strong, long and healthy life?”

Each winner was presented with a check for $25 for winning their age group from the Goshen County Historical Society in partnership with the Goshen County Visitors Center. 

Historical Society says it would like to do the summer writing event again this upcoming year and will announce if it will continue to the summer writing program at a later date. 

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