For the Love of Pine
activities that correlate with Grade Level Expectations,” she says.
But the goal of hosting field trips at Twin Pines is multifaceted, and the center isn’t just for school trips. “We want school children, adults and families to all have a good time, learn how special the Ozarks are, how lucky we are to be living here and how important it is to take care of our fish, forests and wildlife throughout the region,” Carden-Jessen says.
Regular activities for the Ozark community are another benefit offered at Twin Pines. Five large annual events and many regular activities and clubs contribute to a packed activities calendar for the center’s staff and patrons.
Sarah Thomas from Eminence says she’s visited Twin Pines CEC three times and recently attended the Raptor Rockets event with her two children and another family. They and other participants first learned about Missouri’s native and migratory raptors and then used 2-liter soda bottles, feathers and other materials to construct replicas of the birds. Creators of the most recognizable raptors were awarded medals, and afterward the group used pumps to propel their birds to great heights and see whose raptor flew the highest. A few even soared up near the tops of the pine trees.
Thomas says she keeps bringing her children back to the center because “of how far the staff is willing to go to provide materials and welcome patrons.” She added that another great thing about Twin Pines is that “it’s free.” There is no admission charge because Twin Pines CEC is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and is supported by fishing and hunting license revenues and the statewide 1/8-of-1 percent “Design for Conservation” sales tax.
Another Twin Pines event Thomas has attended is the annual two-day History Comes Alive program where staff and volunteers take on the personas of people who lived in Shannon and surrounding counties in the 1930s. According to Carden-Jessen, the characters are taken directly from Lennis Broadfoot’s book, Pioneers of the Ozarks.
“We address how residents of the Ozarks were dependent on the forest, fish and wildlife of Missouri in order to survive,” Carden-Jessen says. This year’s characters included tie-hacker Luther Boxx, fish spiker John Counts and soap-maker and midwife Marg Swiney.
Carden-Jessen says it’s very likely that descendents of these real historic characters, like Boxx, Counts and Swiney, might now attend regular activities and clubs at Twin Pines CEC such as Little Stinker’s Storytime, Nature Nuts