Elk refuge in Jackson Hole hosts event to celebrate bison

The National Elk Refuge is sponsoring a free family event on Saturday, Sept. 14 that will focus on the life and history of bison. A variety of activities are planned from 9:30 a.m. through 4 p.m. at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson.

A welcome table will be set up in front of the visitor center to greet visitors and provide a schedule and location of events. Staff will also have a variety of items on hand such as a bison hide, skull, horns, and bones for guests to view and handle. A bison costume and hand puppet will be available to visitors for a fun dress–up and photography opportunity. Inside the visitor center, guests will be treated to a display of traditional tools made from bison horns and sinew, along with a poster showing other traditional uses.

Scheduled presentations and activities include:

9:30 –11:00 am; repeated from 1:15 – 2:30 pm: Two crafts projects will be available. Participants can use brown paper in the shape of a bison hide to construct a winter count, which is a documented history or calendar where events are recorded by pictures. Artists can tell a story from a time period of their choice. Guests can also use paper and yarn to make a variation of a parfleche rawhide bag decorated with geometric shapes. A parfleche was traditionally used for carrying food, personal items, and tools.

9:30 – 11:00 am: Bison Olympics. A series of physical challenges will give participants an awareness of the size and speed of the mighty creatures and a respect for safe viewing distances when observing or photographing bison.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm; repeated from 3:00 – 4:00 pm: A speaker will present a slide show giving an overview of historical bison hunting and subsequent near extinction of the American icon, along with current hunt management goals of the National Elk Refuge.

12:30 – 1:00 pm: A refuge volunteer will read the children’s book The Buffalo are Back by Jean Craighead George.This beautiful picture book, illustrated by Wendell Minor, tells the compelling story of the bison’s dramatic comeback in our country.

1:30 – 3:00 pm: Build a Bison. Visitors of all ages will enjoy an assortment of wearable props that represent a bison’s hide, tail, wedge-shaped nose, thick skull, and horns. Through this fun and interactive program, participants will learn about bison characteristics and adaptations.

For more information on Saturday’s event, call 307-739-9322.

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