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Enjoying Art in Siouxland, Buena Vista University

11 Jan

Student artwork on display in the Social Sciences and Art Hall at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Whenever I am in a college town traveling about Siouxland, and there are a few, I always like to stop into that institution’s art department building and see what students are creating. It’s always a joy. Whether photography, sculpture, or painting. It’s nice to see a person’s take on life. And during a visit to the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake I was also struck by where the art was seen. I assumed it was time to change the pieces on display and so some waited on the floor until they are hung. That to me created another dynamic in art. It’s display. I found it just as interesting even though I assumed this would not be for the duration. It still gave me pause and got me to think about presentation. And certainly got my attention.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Understanding Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

9 Jan

Many times I have visited the community of Storm Lake where Buena Vista University is located. It’s a nice looking campus, situated near a lake and a city park and contains many interesting elements in and of itself. One place on campus I have not checked out what a science center.

Natural science items on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An Alaskan brown bear on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Students learn science by doing according to online information. I was surprised by the number of stuffed animals on display, as well as a few skeletal remains exhibited too. Walking by classrooms and viewing the taxidermy students seemed very engaged in their learning process. And seeing items posted in a hallway it seems students get a chance to put their theory into practice. Posted photos showed students in the field learning and performing field tasks.

The skeletal remains of a white rhinoceros on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of animal busts on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I personally love education. There is all sorts to be had, not all of which requires an extended amount of time studying in institutions of higher learning. But my own college education was something I still draw from to this day. The experiences, people, both student and instructor and for the first time using my noodle to decipher and understand a much larger world around me than I could even imagine growing up at home. While I might not have directly used my higher education in pursuit of my career, its foundation and learning the ability to critically think and understand and improve my comprehension of various matters have helped me immensely as I have traveled through life. And I also find that even though my collegiate years are decades behind me, I am still learning and striving to critically assess and understand life events that unfold around me and help inform me to better understand the world I am living in.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The skeletal remains of an African elephant on display in the Estelle Siebens Science Center at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying Nature in Siouxland, Table Marsh Wildlife area

5 Jan

A beaver hut is seen in theTable Marsh Wildlife Area in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy spending time outdoors in nature in Siouxland, preferably in more agreeable weather that is not too hot nor too cold. Maybe I’m just picky. But the quiet, sometimes solitude and the chance to breathe fresher air can be restorative.

A wetland area, Table Marsh Wildlife is located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a lone bird soars over the Table Marsh Wildlife located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There are a number of areas around the Woodbury County and other places near where I live. I don’t always think about visiting them on specific days, or for that matter, most times at all. Sometimes when I see a sign on my way to someplace I am reminded I need to stop in there and check it out or revisit it. So my trips are not timed to capture a specific migrating bird or other creatures, but more out of curiosity of what is there, what does it look like and what might I find here and now in the present.

A sketchy dirt road leads to the wetland area, Table Marsh Wildlife, located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

an old bridge makes passage over part of the Table Marsh Wildlife is located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A wetland area, Table Marsh Wildlife is located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But at that moment in time, everything stops for me, I don’t hear the sound of traffic, the chatter of other folk or anything that one might find intrusive in such an area other than birds calling or the blowing wind rustling tall grass. It’s just a moment in time to savor for what it is, before the next moment moves one forward to another place.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A couple of geese fly over the Table Marsh Wildlife located in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Holiday Spirit in Siouxland, Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars

3 Jan

Each year for as many as I can remember living in Siouxland the Plymouth County Museum puts together a Nativity display on the top floor of its facility. There are well north of a few hundred displays loaned to the museum by residents in the area as well as some that I believe have become acquired by the museum itself.

Various Nativity scenes filled the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The display fills the entire floor and it is amazing to see so many different Nativity sets collected from a variety of countries and made of a variety of material. Some a bit more avant guard than others but sticking to the theme of Joseph and Mary and their baby Jesus.

A variety of different Nativity scenes filled the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A variety of Nativity scenes are found on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find it fun to look at how the Wise Men are depicted.

Different Nativity scenes were placed about on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Different nativity scenes are found on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The museum also showcases Christmas village scenes as well and along with some more expected Christmas fare. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and enjoy a little warmth inside before heading back into the winter’s deep freeze, and to have a reminder of the “reason” for the season as the saying states.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Some winter village scenes can be found celebrating the Christmas holiday at the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Nativity and other winter scenes were scattered about on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Village Christmas scenes are on display on the top floor of the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas decorations were scattered throughout the Plymouth County Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Visiting Siouxland, Alton

30 Dec

Somedays when I am driving about I stop in small community towns to visit and see what is there. Many times it’s during the week when people are at work so I don’t always see a lot of folk about. One such visit was in Alton, a community of a little over 1,200 people according to the last census count.

A mural reflecting Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like many of Iowa’s small communities Alton came to life in the latter part of the 1800’s as people moved west. A railroad arrived in 1872 and a hotel was built in 1873. A saloon also opened, but closed shortly afterwards.

Downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Part of down town Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A quiet town that hasn’t forgotten its roots, but like many of the smaller communities that started with vibrancy, its beginnings are now different that current developments and citizens and young have migrated to larger communities offering more opportunity, but is still a good place to raise a family and enjoy a slower, quieter pace.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A tribute to those locals who have served near downtown Alton, Iowa Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Finding bits of History in Siouxland, Smithland

28 Dec

Blossoming trees at the Fowler Preserve near Smithland in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always like stumbling upon a bit of history when driving about Siouxland. That happened to me a couple of years ago when visiting the Fowler Preserve in Woodbury County near Smithland. Trees and other fauna was just beginning to bloom. There are a couple of trails there that take one to the top of a hill where you can get a view of the surrounding area and to rest a bit as you make your way of the hillside.

Benches are sprinkled throughout the Fowler Preserve near Smithland in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Besides some normal accoutrements in parks like open space and picnic tables, I came across a large rock with a plaque. It made note of the fact that for 20 years, from 1856 to 1876, a stage coach trail passed through the area from Smithland to Sioux City. That century’s mass transportation which allowed small groups of people to get from one point to another on the western frontier without having to purchase their own horse, or wagon, or whatever might be available, until the railroads allowed even larger groups of people to move about. I was struck with awe the idea of standing someplace that 2 centuries earlier I could have spied the coach and its passengers making their way to a new place, seeing history unfold as people moved West, not knowing what to expect but hoping for a different, if not better life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A view of a picnic area at the Fowler Preserve near Smithland in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A stagecoach trail passed through the Fowler Preserve from the mid 1850’s to late the 1870’s near Smithland in rural Woodbury County, Iowa, Sunday, April 24, 2016. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

(Click image for larger view.)

A Lighted Parade in Siouxland, Le Mars

26 Dec

Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to those attending the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

People bundled up against the cold attending the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Despite the cold people lined the streets to watch the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Lighted Parade that is an annual event in Le Mars was postponed a week because of a snow storm that basically brought the area, and actually most of the country, to a stand still. The storm basically shut down I-29 and many secondary county and state roads. A lot of events were cancelled. However, the parade happened the following week. There was less snow, but the cold and a crisp wind made for a very chilly night as people bundled up to watch those parade floats that participated in the second attempt.

Parade participants grab for more candy to pass out during the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Everyone bundled up for the cold to watch and ride in the Christmas Lighted Parade in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And later there is always the visiting of the Pioneer Christmas Village at the Plymouth County Fairground. A brisk walk and ride for those so inclined to sit behind chilled horses giving “sleigh rides”. And a few watch fires to roast marshmallows and warm hands and feet.

Christmas lights lit up the Pioneer Village Christmas at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

An attendant feeds a fire at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds Pioneer Village Christmas in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When thoroughly chilled, I ducked inside a couple of places to view Christmas decorations and to see decorated Christmas trees. But inside where the trees and a few dozens other people kept fogging my camera lens which gave a hazy appearance that was not really the case indoors. But still a delight to see many happy people anticipating the day, and especially kids, whose eyes still grow wide seeing Santa decorations in the Round Barn and also in person, granting those last timed wishes for Christmas morning.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A variety Christmas decorations greeted people inside the Round Barn at the Plymouth County Fairground’s Pioneer Village Christmas in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Camera lenses fogged up inside a pavilion where decorated Christmas trees were located for the Pioneer Village Christmas in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

 

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