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MDC to Hold Schoolcraft Event at Springfield Nature Center

Matt Fenewald reenacts Schoolcraft exploring the Ozarks by packhorse at Three Creeks Conservation Area. For a featuer by Brian Flowers in MOCON.

The journal that Henry Rowe Schoolcraft kept when he traveled through the Ozarks 200 years ago provided the earliest description of the Ozarks by a skilled observer. People can learn more about what this famous traveler thought of Christian County’s Smallin Cave and other southwest Missouri sites at the Missouri Department of Conservation program “Schoolcraft at Smallin Cave: Then and Now,” Feb. 22 at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center


Free Feb. 22 Program Highlights famous traveler’s visit to Smallin Cave.

SPRINGFIELD – Two hundred years ago, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft went on a journey in search of lead and wrote his way into southern Missouri history.

People can step back in time to hear what one of this area’s best-known nature journalists had to say about one of this area’s well-known natural features – Christian County’s Smallin Cave – on Friday, Feb. 22 at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) program “Schoolcraft at Smallin Cave: Then and Now.” This free program will be 7-8 p.m. at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center and is for ages 10-adult.

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft wore a number of scientific hats in his life, but it was a search for lead that led him on a trek across the southern portion of the Missouri Territory from November, 1818 to February, 1819. The most valuable resource this trip produced was the detailed journal Schoolcraft kept of his travels. The notes he took were the earliest descriptions of the interior Ozarks by a skilled observer.

One of the sites Schoolcraft was impressed with was Smallin Cave. Program attendees will hear his musings on this cave through the portrayal of Schoolcraft by archaeologist Eric Fuller, who works at Smallin Cave. Fuller will provide insight about what Schoolcraft saw at the cave and also will discuss the challenges he faced traveling through the Ozarks two centuries ago.

Register for the program at The Springfield Conservation Nature Center is located at 4601 S. Nature Center Way near highways 60 and 65. Call 417-888-4237 for more information about this program and other upcoming Nature Center events.