Anthropology Student Discusses Creation of Local Learning Trail in Indiana

Posted on 4/4/2017 3:29:22 PM

Stephanie Raby-Reeger presents at Undergraduate Scholars ForumThe Adventure Learning Trail is more than a collaboration between IUP students and several local agencies. It’s also a tool for teaching people about the rich history of Indiana County and for preserving its stories.

Stephanie Raby-Reeger, a dual anthropology/religious studies major from San Jose, California, gave details on the project titled “The Adventure Learning Trail: Public History in Indiana, Pa.” on April 4 at the annual IUP Undergraduate Scholars Forum.

She was part of an anthropology class of 14 students and faculty advisors Abigail Adams and Brandon Vick who teamed up to outline the trail, research its stops, and provide the information for each location.

The trail is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s WalkWorks Program, and it features seven stops in Indiana that have notable histories.

“Why is it exciting? It preserves the charm, quality and culture of Indiana, Pa,” Raby-Reeger said. “It’s geared toward creating an educational program to the public. It nurtures the communal history of Indiana County.”

Raby-Reeger’s presentation was one of more than 150 during the 12th annual, one-day event, which allows IUP undergraduate students to present original research in a wide array of subjects. Additionally, there were nearly 100 undergraduate students participating in the poster presentation session.

The graduate forum will be held April 5, also at the HUB. A total of 300 students are involved in the two programs, held as part of Research Appreciation Week at IUP.

During her 15-minute presentation, Raby-Reeger detailed how she and her fellow students researched many places in Indiana County that play a role in the history of the region. They worked to do research on each stop and created a location where interested people can follow along using their smartphone, similar to a scavenger hunt.

At each location, you can use a QR Code scanner to get more information on what you’re seeing, hear testimonials from individuals who had experiences there, and see some historical photos.

“It stimulates citizens to actively engage with our environment,” said Raby-Reeger, “and it also promotes economic sustainability.”

The Adventure Learning Trail is a corroboration between students from the Introduction to Cultural Anthropology class and four community partners: Downtown Indiana Inc., the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County, The Pennsylvania Department of Health, and Boy Scout Troop No. 29.

The seven stops completed so far are: Gates Hospital, The Indiana Gazette, the old Indiana courthouse, Memorial Park, the R&P building, Indiana Theater, and Vinegar Hill.

The Boy Scouts have agreed to maintain the trail, and more stops will be added in the future.

“The goal is to get people actively involved in protecting and preserving our history,” she said. “The class will continue to create other sites, so this will continue on.”

For more information on the Adventure Learning Trail, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s WalkWorks site.