Washington State Living History Program
This field trip to Waskowitz Outdoor Education Center allows students to travel back in time to experience what life was like in Washington Territory during the mid-1800s, with an emphasis on the conflict and changes to the landscape brought on by the intrusion of western society on the existing native cultures. In each rotation, Waskowitz staff facilitate an exploration of historical lifestyles while participants practice an experiential model of education, using their imaginations and hands to gain a deeper appreciation of our state’s history. On arrival at Waskowitz, 4th graders are welcomed into our unique facility that features a set of time portals operated by our experiential historians. After a brief orientation, students begin their first of four rotations. After two rotations, students eat lunch in the dining hall. Two final rotations close out the day before students reload the buses and return home.
Living on the land
Students are introduced to a log cabin-style homestead and work as a team to build a small cabin (think extreme Lincoln Logs). Students are also tasked with various chores, including food production, laundry and general homestead maintenance. As a reward for their hard work, students are introduced to a variety of pioneer style games.
Traveling Across the land
Here students get the chance to work for the Northern Pacific Railroad Company building the railroad. Like other areas, students use real tools -- rail lifters, bar claw and spike maul -- to move in the ties and rails and build the track. Safety is our first priority, so students are taught how to lift with their legs and work as a team.
A Changing Relationship with Natural Communities
The tribal communities that have called this region home since long before the arrival of American Settlers have had a very different relationship with native plant and animal communities. This rotation allows students to practice plant and animal identification techniques while gaining an understanding of how various species thrived or suffered in their interactions with humans.
Transforming the land
The logging area, operated by the North Bend Logging Company, has real tools including a cross cut saw, cant hooks and timber tongs, which students learn to use safely, and under careful supervision.