Henderson students experience old Nevada

Mormon Station Park Ranger Chris Johnson presents the history of Genoa and Mormon Station to fourth- and fifth graders from McCaw Steam Academy in Henderson.

Mormon Station Park Ranger Chris Johnson presents the history of Genoa and Mormon Station to fourth- and fifth graders from McCaw Steam Academy in Henderson.
Photo by Sarah Drinkwine.

A group of 23 Mighty Miners from Clark County School District traveled North Thursday to learn more about their state through guided tours of Nevada’s oldest settlement and Capital.

The Mighty Miners are fourth- and fifth-grade students from McCaw Steam Academy a magnet school in Henderson Nevada.

“It was very fun and an experience that not many get to experience,” said fifth-grader Bethany Taye. “My favorite part was the plane and having the opportunity to travel.”

The students traveled to Reno, then visited Virginia City, the Nevada State Museum and the Capital in Carson City, Mormon Station State Historic Park, then Sand Harbor State Park Visitors Center and Lake Tahoe.

Each of the stops provided the students a sense of the rigors and landscape of what early miners faced to be successful.

During their lunch stop at Mormon Station, the students were guided by park ranger Chris Johnson who provided students with history of the settlement and a tour of the small museum and black smith shop.

“You all are from Clark County, so why would you or anyone come here, what makes here special?” Johnson prompted the students.

In response students said it was an important site in Nevada history. Genoa was not only an early settlement, but Mormon Station was also a major rest stop and trading post during the California Gold Rush and other mining locations throughout the region.

“It’s been so much fun, I’m so glad we got to do this it has been a great experience and we got so much information,” said fourth-grader Goldie Carque. “It’s going to help so much with our tours at school.

The McCaw Steam Academy has a mine built on the school campus. According to the school website it was built in 1996 as part of a mining course by teacher Janet Bremer and other instructors who later thought the model would give students a realistic look at what a mine was really like and kept it, creating the McCaw School of Mines.

In 2000, a visitors center was added to the site and is now a 4,500 square foot mine. It is the only simulated mine of its kind in the state of Nevada where tours are led by students.

“It’s a leadership program,” said Fourth grade teacher Jennie Ovard. “The Mighty Miners are students who lead tours of the mine and help others learn about them and about our state history. This field trip helps them grow as leaders and learn more about our beautiful and historical sights.”

Ovard said students are provided leadership screening and mining training.

“It’s just a really neat experience for them,” she said, “and having this opportunity provides them with more insight about other mines and learning about and seeing more of the state.”

The students were also here to advocate for more learning resources and online programs for those who cannot travel to have access to learning about Nevada. The students wrote letters and gave them to the Governor and officials during their tour of the State Capital.

Fourth-grader Camden Phen said visiting the state capital was his favorite part of the trip.

“I think it was a really cool experience to be able to travel with my classmates and learn about our state and the current and past governors,” he said.

The McCaw Steam Academy field trip to Northern Nevada was made possible through National Park Trust, the Geological Society of Nevada and donations from Comstock in Virginia City, said Ovard. Visit https://mms.hendersonchamber.com/henderson/mp_McCaw for more information.

Nevada’s oldest settlement will be the site of Genoa Western Heritage Days, featuring a horse parade at 2 p.m. today.

Parade participants include Miss Rodeo Nevada Kaila Hill; Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley; the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse; and the Nevada Division of the National Pony Express Association.

Main Street will be closed starting around 1:45 p.m. and reopen after the parade is over.


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