Taking a break from all his ongoing remodeling projects, Kongo recently helped chaperone a couple of local field trips with the grand girls. Monkeys LOVE field trips, especially when they get to go with grand daughters. (Kongo sits atop #1 granddaughter’s close friend on the field trip)
The most recent field trip was with a 3rd grade class as they visited the Stagecoach Inn in Newbury Park, California. Kongo was hoping for a school bus but alas, the trip involved actually hiking from the school to the museum with about 60 third graders (three classes). It was more like a death march in 90 degree heat through the streets of Newbury Park and involved a to and fro 5-mile trek. Getting three classes of third graders to cross several streets at red lights is akin to herding cats. Fortunately, all arrived safely at the historical site and the kids were excited! This year the children are learning all about the Chumash indians who inhabited this area continuously for more than 10,000 years prior to the arrival of the first Europeans.
The super knowledgeable and patient docents affiliated with the museum took the troop of school children on a short hike to learn about the local flora and fauna that supported the Chumash. Here, a docent in a handmade indian vest, explains how important acorns were to the Chumash diet. Of course, these clever third graders knew all about tannic acid inherent in raw acorns so there were plenty of questions about how the indians were able to remove the harmful acid before whipping up a batch of acorn pancakes. (It was a process known as leaching).
Inside a replica of a Chumash “ap” third graders learn how these living quarters were constructed.
This docent explained about the various nuts the Chumash used in their diet. The children also got to sample some of the nuts too.
Besides learning about the Chumash culture, the students had a chance to play some musical instruments the indians would have used as well as playing some indian games.
The Stagecoach Inn was originally built in along what is now the Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101) in 1876 and was known as the Grand Union Hotel. Over the years its had many uses, including a boys school, post office, movie set, and restaurant. In 1965 the building was declared an historic California landmark and it was moved about a mile from its original location to avoid being demolished by the expanding freeway. The site is maintained by the Conejo Valley Historical Society.
Soon Kongo will post info about his field trip to Wildwood Park with a troop of first graders and #2 granddaughter.