By Doris E Rufli
In the fall of 2014, Heather Greenhalgh arrived at the Forest Grove Elementary School to fill a newly created teaching position due to school expansion.
In spring 2015, she realized her students (grades 5, 6 and 7) did not know much about the extensive history of the community they are living in and decided to organize walk-abouts. Together with local historian and writer, Marianne Van Osch, she hatched a plan to visit sites of historic interest throughout Forest Grove.
On May 12, their first outing took them to 4514 Eagle Creek Rd. to experience the mounting of a plaque, commemorating the old teacherage built in 1951. Current owner, Sheri-Lyn Wilson, has lived there with her dog Nikita for the past 10 years and says apart from maintenance work and a small addition, the house stands as built several decades ago.
Two more historical expeditions have since taken place. One took the group up Shaw Road and Auld Drive to visit the local cemetery, with graves dating back more than 100 years.
This visit involved reading the information posted at the entrance, as well as exploring the site independently, a task the students accomplished with dignity and respect.
The third walk-about took students and teacher to the original Forest Grove Lodge and Store along Eagle Creek Road, where its heritage and significance for the area were discussed. Again, the students explored the area individually, before returning to the classroom and had more lively deliberations about the history of Forest Grove.
Some questions raised during those excursions were about the local environment, and Greenhalgh is looking into expanding her students’ knowledge of indigenous trees and plants, as well as related topics when classes resume in the fall.
Doris E Rufli is the Forest Grove correspondent.