Mrs. Veronica Kobulnicky has been bringing her 6th grade students to Winter Lodge for the past 17 seasons. She has seen it evolve from one tipi at the Brooks Nature Center to two tipis with several staff at the Schrader Environmental Education Center.
“I started with Greg Park all of those years ago at the old Nature Center,” says Mrs. Kobulnicky. “We sort of started the program together. It’s a hands-on program, with a ‘back to nature’ aspect that allows the kids to experience what it was like in the time of Native Americans. They get to experience building a fire, throwing an atlatl at a ‘mastodon’, and using the survival skills that a Native American would’ve used during the winter months.“
Mrs. Kobulnicky starts the lessons of the Native Americans in her classroom at St. Paul Catholic School in Weirton, WV. Her 6th grade students are required to interview an elder grandparent, neighbor, teacher or friend and write a three-page report based on the interview. They also work on preparing a spiral notebook of their individual family history. In addition, they read the “Indian in the Cupboard” and watch the movie in preparation for their field trip to the Schrader Environmental Education Center.
A humble and dedicated teacher of many years, Mrs. Kobulnicky was awarded the 2010 Bishop’s Cross Award for manifesting excellence in character, service and leadership. The award is presented annually by the Diocese to individuals who, through their lives and works, have demonstrated, in extraordinary ways, their commitment to the mission of Catholic education in West Virginia.
“Mrs. Kobulnicky has been with us from the beginning of Winter Lodge,” says Greg Park, senior naturalist at the Schrader Environmental Education Center. “It’s a perfect example of how we’ve developed and adjusted our curriculum and program based on an educator’s input. We’ve followed the ebb and flow over the years and made changes based on feedback.”