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For the Love of Pine

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Published on: Jun. 1, 2010

or Wild Things.

For Little Stinker’s Storytime, Conservation Department Naturalist Reta Barkley chooses a different story each month, including songs and activities for preschoolers to second graders.

Nature Nuts is a youth volunteer corps that features a program on the second Saturday of each month for ages 7 to 12. Wild Things is the name of the women’s group that meets on Sunday afternoons to learn and make naturerelated crafts.

Youth fishing clinics are held at the center’s 2-acre Mule Camp Pond, where fishing for largemouth bass, hybrid sunfish and channel catfish is allowed by special permit only. For 2010, Discover Nature—Families Fishing Day will be held in August. Carden-Jessen says the day’s activities will include a fishing derby, lots of awards, fish print T-shirts and a kiddie casting pond.

A fun detail in the midst of many of these activities is the bell on the old Vann Schoolhouse. There’s no question of when to rotate activities; the ringing of the old school-bell carries through the grounds.

The Vann Schoolhouse is a newly restored historic schoolhouse used for conservation education programs and to host local public meetings. The school was built in 1910 when the big timber boom was in full swing in the Shannon County area, which is why the building is large in comparison to the typical one-room school house of the time, according to Carden-Jessen. She says the increase in population was caused directly by the booming timber industry.

The building was originally constructed as a state-supported community school in 1910. It was donated to Twin Pines CEC by the Winona School District in 2008. Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation paid for restoration of the Vann Schoolhouse.

It could be the schoolhouse, the variety of vintage equipment, the Stamp of Character video in the theater or perhaps the artifacts on display gathered by local Eminence resident Russ Noah and others, but something about Twin Pines sparks memories for many visitors.

For those who attended class in the Vann Schoolhouse, it’s common to hear them reminisce. Others share personal stories about logging or sawmill jobs that provided food for their families through hard times. “Spent many a day buckin’ a two-man saw just like that one,” they’ll say, or “there was a time when I spent the whole day swinging an axe just like that one and only made 80 cents for the whole day.”

According to Carden-Jessen, the old mill

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