2018 Agate Writer’s Workshop – Women of the West: Strength in the Nebraska Panhandle

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Spring is here! And so is your invitation to carve away some time to be creative and re-energize this summer at the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Teachers Writing Workshop and Writing Marathon this summer, July 16 – 18, 2018.

“Exploring the Women of the West: Strength in the Nebraska Panhandle” marks the third year the Monument is collaborating with the Nebraska Writing Project to offer teachers of all disciplines and grade levels the opportunity to learn new strategies to integrate science, language arts, and social studies with writing. Workshop participants will not only delve into the many resources of Agate Fossil Beds, but also at select sites on the Pine Ridge Reservation and at Fort Robinson State Park. Workshop registration closes on June 30th.

Teacher participants of the 2018 Agate Teacher Writing Workshop will be immersed in place-based writing exercises, readings, and discussions. In “Exploring the Women of the West: Strength in the Nebraska Panhandle,” participants will uncover in the history of Agate through the women of the late 1800-1900s. Participants will explore paleontology from women’s perspectives—both historic and modern; discover the voice of an African American woman in the Nebraska Panhandle in the 1880s; learn from Lakota women and their art; and consider the contributions of the women of the Agate Springs Ranch, the land from which this national park unit originated.

Past participants have come from every corner of Nebraska for this opportunity to network and share their ideas about cross-curricular writing. All have left with a rich sense of writing through place, science and history.

Scheduled Talks

“Paleontology: A Woman’s Perspective”by Ellen Stepleton, a retired fossil preparator from the University of Nebraska State Museum (confirmed)
“Octavia Reeves, an African American woman in the Nebraska panhandle in the 1880s”by Holly Counts, an independent historian (confirmed)
“American Indian Women and their art” by Audrey Jacobs, museum educator, Red Cloud Indian School Heritage Center (confirmed)
“The contributions of women ranchers” by Gretchen Meade, great-granddaughter of Agate homesteader James Cook and the granddaughter of paleontologist, geologist, and writer Harold Cook (confirmed)
“Agate museum collection and artifacts” by Maryann Neubert, NPS museum curator (confirmed)

Scheduled Activities

A ranger-led tour of Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, including of the Red Cloud artifacts in the park’s museum collection
A tour of the The Heritage Center at the Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, SD
Access to primary sources from the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument museum collections
Visits to the Fort Robinson State Park, including site of the Red Cloud Indian Agency
A Monday evening cookout with National Park Service rangers and staff

Workshop Information

Registration is available through June 30th at https://goo.gl/21pj1p or by contacting Jan Knispel at jknispel@gmail.com


July 16-18th




Participants will need to make their own lodging accommodations.

Accommodations can be made at:

the Sage Motel (http://sagemotelharrison.com/) in Harrison, NE (the community nearest the park)
the Quivey House Bed and Breakfast in Mitchell, NE
Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Hampton Inn and Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Monument Inn and Suites, or other hotels in Scottsbluff and Gering, NE
Fort Robinson State Park in Crawford, NE (Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)
Tent and RV campsites outside of the park (https://goo.gl/mkL49P). Refrigeration is available at the park for those tent camping.

If you would like to split the cost of a room with a roommate, please choose the option at this registration link, and you will be connected with another teacher to make arrangements. Questions about accommodations can directed to Alvis Mar at alvis_mar@nps.gov.


For additional information, access the workshop brochure here https://goo.gl/RkNwqm

To register for the workshop, complete and submit the online application at https://goo.gl/yGfG8C

You can also contact Park Ranger Alvis Mar, (308) 665-4110, alvis_mar@nps.gov, or Jan Knispel, jknispel@gmail.com for more information

“By examining, reflecting upon and analyzing through writing the contributions of the uncelebrated—yet phenomenal—women of this remarkable landscape, teachers can create learning opportunities for their students that will lead them to better understand the factors that have molded our nation’s collective heritage. What better place than a national park–like Agate Fossil Beds National Monument– to find those lessons and revelations?” – James Hill, Agate Fossil Beds Park Superintendent James Hill

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