The local chapter of the Tar Heel Junior Historians won Chapter of the Year again this year on Friday at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.
The Tar Heel Junior Historians also won a group award in the intermediate division for literary projects for their project called “Geocaching for History.”
Chapter Member Olivia Edwards was also the winner of the Primary Division Photography contest in the institutional/public building category. Her photograph was of the Mount Airy Post Office.
Matt Edwards, executive director of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, said he is pleased with the group for winning the awards this year.
“We are proud of the kids, both for their determination and persistence in continuing with this program because it is an academically-based after-school program. It’s not something that is all fun all the time. For these kids to come out and continue to be involved with that really speaks to their commitment and on top of that to have won this award is just a tremendous thing for them,” said Edwards.
He said he wanted to also thank the leaders of the group for all of their hard work and dedication.
“I also want to recognize our volunteer leaders for the Tar Heel Junior Historians Club. Glenda Edwards is our club adviser. Mary Fawcett and Emma Jean Tucker also work very closely with the club. Without the hard work and dedication of that group helping to guide these kids, they wouldn’t be where they are today,” said Edwards.
Edwards said he and his wife, Glenda Edwards, are exceedingly proud of their daughter, Olivia Edwards, who won the photography award this year.
“It’s certainly an honor for any of our three kids to receive an individual award. She has taken to photography in the last year or so without a lot of prodding from us. I guess this just goes to show that she just has a natural eye for it,” said Matt Edwards.
Open to students in fourth through eighth grade, the Jesse Franklin Chapter of the Tar Heel Junior Historians meets at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History on the first and third Thursdays of the month and allows participants to learn more about the history of the area. Each year, the group undertakes a project to submit to the state-wide competition and for the first time this year, members of this chapter were required to complete an individual project as well.
When the group started out in 2005, they won the Rookie Club of the Year award. In 2006, the group was named Chapter of the Year.
Last year, they won the Newsome Award for the video they produced about the history of Oakdale Cemetery, which has been on display at the museum in Raleigh for one year in the Tar Heel Junior Historian’s part of the museum.
This year, the group wanted to focus on a more technology-based project. So they began a project on geocaching, which is a worldwide treasure hunt in which people hide caches at locations around the world and upload the location’s coordinates to a Web site. Geocachers can then visit the Web site, get the coordinates, and attempt to locate the treasure.
Treasure containers can contain small trinkets such as coins, jewelry or stickers. Once found, geocachers sign the log located in the container and can then trade items in the container for items they bring with them.
There are roughly 130 geocaches within 10 miles of Mount Airy.
For the project, the junior historians made some trips around the county to learn about different historical sites. As they learned about the history of the different areas, the historians decided what sites they want to turn into geocache sites. As the participants made their own geocache stashes, they will included historical information in some form as well as clues to other geocache sites to help others learn more about the history of this area.
“This is something that hasn’t really been used in this manner before,” said Edwards. “We’re not only teaching them the history of some of the sites in the county, some of which may be incorporated into the caches, but we’re creating a trail system of history caches. I’m really interested to see how we can incorporate this.”
Reach Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.