by Jim Ross
|Retired park ranger and current park|
volunteer Cleve Pinnix helps young
fair goers with the tracks and scat game.
Mount Rainier's exhibits and activities occupied another 25 feet of space along one of the "trails" through the building. This area included two 10-foot exhibits. The exhibit “National Park Service in Washington” featured 10 park service sites found throughout Washington State. The second exhibit, “What can you see at Mount Rainier, when you can’t see Mount Rainier”, contained a collection of photos illustrating the idea that sometimes the lack of a broad view forces you to focus on the beautiful details. The highlight of the space was the tracks and scat game where kids of all ages could match the imitation tracks and scat with pictures of common mammals of Mount Rainier. They could then use track stamps to make their own bookmarks.
Staffing the booth for 11 hours each day were 43 park staff and volunteers from Mount Rainier and Klondike Gold Rush in Seattle. They greeted fair goers and answered questions about the parks and the park service. In addition, education rangers had three sessions in the building's Hands-on Arena where they made fox puppets and raven masks with the kids while teaching them about the problems of approaching and feeding wildlife.
Although fair attendance was down 10% this year, probably because of wet weather and the economy, it was one of the best years for the park exhibit. It is estimated that at least 10,700 people interacted in a meaningful way with the exhibits and staff members.