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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©)

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©)

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©)

 

 

Man and Nature in Siouxland, Buena Vista University, Storm Lake

24 Dec

I always like seeing objects in juxtaposition to one another and how, mostly differences, can stand out if one takes the time to notice. During a trip to Buena Vista University in Storm Lake I was admiring one of the campus buildings and its sleek modern glass and steel look. Situated within an area of trees that were turning color.

Seeing the contrast between nature and a building of glass and steel, the Estelle Siebens Science Center, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Man’s relationship with nature is a complicated one. At least it seems to have become that way. Some folk just want to strip nature bare and reap whatever profits are there for the taking without being good land stewards and without much thought, leaving that heavy lifting to someone else. In some places planners seemed to realize the two need to work in harmony and attempt to make that happen. Whether it is successful or not depends on who is viewing and if they are paying any attention. Either from the outside looking in, or the inside looking out.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Nature outside, maybe looking in the glass and steel building on the campus of the Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 30 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Community Christmas Celebration in Siouxland, Remsen

20 Dec

Most small communities in Siouxland enjoy a collective Christmas celebration before retreating into homes or churches to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. Visiting the small community of Remsen and seeing the fun people have just gives one a little more faith in humanity and people’s shared bonds.

The community of Remsen, Iowa celebrates Christmas a little early, Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The downtown area is decked out with decorations during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Community residents got together in the downtown area to revel in the upcoming holiday celebration with stores open and serving hot drinks and cookies while others stayed outside and snag carols and enjoyed the chill in the air along with a few well positioned watch fires.

Watch fires keep residents warm during a chilly evening as they have a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Local fire department members roast marshmallows for the kids during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Local school children sing carols during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Some well-meaning firemen who kept the fires burning were a little too over-enthusiastic in providing roasted marshmallows, trying to mitigate the effect of the fires before handing them off to recipients.

One local fire fighter, center, was having a little too much success roasting marshmallows as he blows out the flaming pair during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then the moment arrives when the Big Guy, Santa, arrives, the downtown Christmas tree is lit and admirers rush to see the jolly elf.

After santa’s arrival and with the watch fires lit, the community Christmas tree lights up the night during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Santa greets some admirers after being dropped off downtown by the local fire department during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

After that it’s a trip to the local museum where St. Nick sits and poses for photos with a never ending supply of fans waiting their turn to ask for special gifts and savor a moment that most every child in Siouxland has probably experienced once, if not more, in their lifetime.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Parents juggle jackets and phone cameras as Santa juggles kids for pictures during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Parents and grandparents and children crowd into the local museum to see Santa during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The local museum was full to capacity as parents and children waited their turn to see the Big Guy in Red during a Christmas community celebration in Remsen, Iowa Monday Dec. 3, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Exploring Siouxland, Fonda

16 Dec

I never tire of visiting small communities in Siouxland, most with a population of 2,000 or less, and some communities with less residents still. The town of Fonda is one such place, with a population of almost 700 people. It’s quaint and has a museum I found that I need to visit in season, that is, when it’s warmer and days are longer to allow for some drive time.

A mural celebrating the community in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the downtown area I came across a park that immediately made me think of another, slightly more famous park. Founded in 1870, Fonda’s park might not be so famous but offers the town’s residents a place to visit and hang out and have coffee with friends.

A Central Park in this not as famous community of Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A central gathering place in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

There is also a community garden near the downtown area where residents can also chat while producing some garden vegetables and other edibles they may desire. This particular day I met a couple of locals, but they were too shy to hang around while a visitor explored the area.

A community garden anchors one end of the downtown in Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A couple local residents enjoy some sunshine in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But next summer I plan to return and visit the local museum to learn more about the history of the area and the community itself which hopefully will lead to more exploration and a chance to explore more of the area.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A little history posted on a museum in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Fonda Museum based in the McKee Opera House in downtown Fonda, Iowa, Wednesday, Oct. 17 2018. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Learning a little Photographic History in Siouxland, W.H. Over Museum, Vermillion, SD

6 Dec

It’s hard not to appreciate the great strides that has occurred in photography in the last 15 years. And even more so in the last couple of centuries when photography was first invented. I recently spent some time with members of the Sioux City Camera Club as they visited with Lynn Muller, a former instructor at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD, as he gave us a personal tour of his most extensive collection of Kodak cameras and memorabilia.

Members of the Sioux City Camera Club are given a tour by Dr. Lynn Muller of his extensive Kodak camera and memorabilia collection at the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD Saturday, Nov. 17 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Mr. Muller has been collecting cameras for quite some time, and his knowledge of George Eastman and his quest to supply everyone with a camera is impressive and almost overwhelming. I previously visited with Mr. Muller and learned a lot then about his camera collection. This time I paid more attention to what he said about Mr. Eastman building his photographic empire. Inventing roll film to replace glass plates that made photography something many more people could do without worrying about knowing chemistry and accumulating the necessary items for printing as well as developing film. Mr. Muller taught marketing at USD so is in a good area to understand Mr Eastman’s approach to selling his photo memory pitch to the average family, and how it changed through the years.

Members of the Sioux City Camera Club are given a tour by Dr. Lynn Muller of his extensive Kodak camera and memorabilia collection at the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD Saturday, Nov. 17 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Camera Club easily spent a couple of hours viewing the collection and listening to the history, and then spent more time talking about the craft of photography over coffee and cookies. Even though the craft of photography and its tools has immensely changed in the last few years, it wouldn’t thrive without willing participants who like those that came before them are trying to improve their own photographic skills and use their cameras to explore their world around them.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Members of the Sioux City Camera Club are given a tour by Dr. Lynn Muller of his extensive Kodak camera and memorabilia collection at the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD Saturday, Nov. 17 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Members of the Sioux City Camera Club are given a tour by Dr. Lynn Muller of his extensive Kodak camera and memorabilia collection at the W. H. Over Museum in Vermillion, SD Saturday, Nov. 17 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

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