|Rachel Lyon's seventh graders display their |
contributions at Troy J-S High
|Palouse hills outside Mrs. Lyons' classroom at Troy J-S High School|
Asking students and adults simple, honest questions about their own backyard inspires a sense of local pride for the rolling hills and river valleys they call home. Everyone on the Palouse knows someone who grows wheat, hay, lentils, or “garbs” (garbanzo beans) for a living, and many know someone with a well. Every student knows instinctively that his or her electricity is generated by the flow of the Clearwater or Snake Rivers. Everyone also knows that Lewiston, Idaho is an inland seaport that guards the confluence of these historic waters. (Situated 30 miles south of Moscow, this important mill town facilitates movement of trade between Canada and international markets via the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean further west.) Natural resources are a large industry in this part of the world; a fact reminiscent of northern New England, but often overlooked. In Idaho, every town is tied to the land in some way, and draws a unique identity from that relationship. Perhaps this is the case back east, but this is hard to say. Many paper mills and family farms have closed their doors in the past 50 years, and young people are becoming less dependent on the local landscape for their sustenance. Those that do remember a time when the land was central to daily life are growing old and passing.
|Seventh grader Julianne shows off her written contribution|