After years of searching out the nation’s most celebrated trails to California, retired teacher Ed Gwartney blazed one more this week. He took a group of his young pioneers from the James Monroe Children’s museum to the Fossil Discovery Center’s classroom at Fairmead and regaled a packed house with stories of his adventures on the Oregon Trail.
Gwartney, who founded the hands-on educational center at Monroe Elementary, and his students appeared at the Discovery Center on Tuesday as part of its guest speaker program.
The educator shared the highlights of one of his adventures in which he and fellow Monroe teachers Sandra Carter and Susan Miller traveled the Oregon Trail in 1999.
As the trio went by auto from landmark to landmark more than a decade ago, they gave their students back in Madera virtually the same trip via computer technology. They took the kids, in an exercise in long distance learning, past Chimney Rock, Courthouse Rock, Scott’s Bluff, and dozens of other famous locations on the trail...