As Kansas celebrated its 153rd birthday, McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation volunteers spoke with kindergarten students at Eisenhower Elementary about the symbols of Kansas.

As Kansas celebrated its 153rd birthday, McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation volunteers spoke with kindergarten students at Eisenhower Elementary about the symbols of Kansas.
Les Groves and Keri Ann Duree visited kindergarten classes at Eisenhower and other schools Wednesday morning to share information about the state tree, flower and flag, among other topics.
“The museum likes to share because it’s a fun learning opportunity,” Duree said. “There’s lots of fun things about Kansas.”
Duree brought pictures of a meadowlark, the state bird; barred tiger salamander, the state amphibian; the cottonwood tree, the state tree; the bison, the state animal; and a male ornate box turtle, the state reptile. She also shared different facts about them and the significance they have for Kansas.
For example, settlers used to use wood from the cottonwood tree to make houses because wood was scarce.
She said the honeybee, Kansas’ state insect, represents Kansans because both are hardworking and energetic.
Duree also brought a buffalo pelt for the kindergarteners to feel. She also talked about Kansas’ state flag and how it was created.
“The McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation strives to provide quality outreach programming to schools, care homes and other organizations,” according to a museum statement. “This week we have presented the Kansas Symbols program to approximately 120 school children in three school districts to celebrate 153 years of Statehood.”
Groves said it’s important for kids to know about the symbols of their state so they can be enthusiastic about Kansas and share that enthusiasm with others.
“If people know something about Kansas, they can share,” Groves said. “We have the buffalo, the sunflower, the box turtle. We all brag about our sunsets.”
Groves said Kansas’ greatest asset is Kansans.
“The most important thing of Kansas is the people,” Groves said. “They’re so nice and welcoming. If a child grows up with these ideas, they won’t be afraid to share.”