Students take a step back in time at old engine club education day.

September 17, 2014
Onekema student, Hunter Harthun works with volunteer Rod Guinan to shell on ear of corn with an antique hand corn sheller.

Onekema student, Hunter Harthun works with volunteer Rod Guinan to shell on ear of corn with an antique hand corn sheller.

By Kate Krieger. Senior Correspondent.

SCOTTVILLE – Sometimes it can be very educational and refreshing to pull students away from all of the screens and technology and introduce them to certain aspects of history. That is exactly what the Western Michigan Old Engine Club does every year at its annual Education Day and this year wasn’t any different.

Around 500 fifth graders from Mason, Manistee and Oceana counties attended this year’s Education Day at the club’s property inside the Scottville Riverside Park on Wednesday. The students were exposed to 50 different displays of historical engines, household items and machines including a sawmill, washboard laundry, cider press and old-fashion push mowers.

Mason County Central student, Madison Dennis rings out a piece of hand washed laundry with volunteer Kathy Damkoehler.

Mason County Central student, Madison Dennis rings out a piece of hand washed laundry with volunteer Kathy Damkoehler.

Judy Husted, chairwoman of the event, said about 75 volunteers showed up to help with the event and that the event has been going on for over 20 years.

“The kids get to experience life without all the modern conveniences,” she said. “They get to experience hands-on displays.”

Exhibitors were showing off the different displays from locations including Allendale, Manistee, Reed City, Cadillac, Hart and Mason County.

A grant awarded from the Great Lakes Energy Peoples Fund has helped education day continue.

Old Engine Club member Duane Cooper also added that he is excited to see the students come out to the park to experience all the exhibits.

“There’s no TV or iPods that the kids are playing on,” he said. “It’s nice to get the kids outside. Hopefully some will like it so much that maybe they will become future members of ours.”

Each student received a bag with a pencil and map inside and the map included questions the students had to answer about the different displays. They each used a cedar shingle as a hard surface to write on as they visited each display.

“It’s very educational for the children to experience things from the past,” Ludington fifth grade teacher, Brenda Massie stated. “The members really enjoy teaching the kids.”

Manistee resident, Larry Jarvinen stated that he had been volunteering at the Education Day for about 10 years and he runs one of the favorite displays of the event, the cider mill.

“I like interacting with the kids,” he said. “They really have fun near the water and seeing something they have never seen before.”

Estella Stickey of Eden Township, also has been volunteering at the event for a long time.

“I’ve been helping the whole time,” she said. “I did the cider press and the sewing machine, but when the wood burning stove came around, I stuck with that.”

The students and teachers were very excited to be able to be a part of this year’s event and many of the teachers have been attending the event for a long time.

“This is really awesome,” Onekema fifth grade teacher, Bonnie Brown said. “In the fourth grade they go to White Pine Village, but this is really more hands-on.”

With great weather and lots of volunteers, this year’s Education Day exposed hundreds of students to the way life used to be. Many students had never seen most or all of the items on display and they learned how much more difficult life was in the past by actually being able to experience and get their hands on those machines that now are so much easier to operate.

“I liked how you got to be involved,” Ludington fifth grader, Aurora Hopkins stated. “You didn’t just have to sit there and watch.”

 

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