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Texas Buffalo Soldier Program Connecting New Audiences to Texas State Parks
AUSTIN – The Texas Buffalo Soldiers program has scheduled some exciting programs and activities for families this spring. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department programs bring history to life with stories, costumes and activities, while providing an opportunity for audiences to explore what it was like to be a Buffalo Solider.
Buffalo Soldiers were our country’s first professional black soldiers. The 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments served on the western frontier more than 100 years ago. Their posts ranged from Texas to the Dakota territories where the soldiers’ main job was to support the westward expansion of the United States.
“What many people don’t realize is that Buffalo Soldiers were some of the original outdoorsmen. These soldiers were hunting and fishing, camping, riding bikes and even serving as some of the country’s first park rangers,” says Texas State Parks outreach coordinator Ky Harkey.
“We teach outdoor skills while making connections to history and the outdoors,” say Luis Padilla, Buffalo Soldiers Program coordinator. “Our goal is to not only share history, but to share Our Story.”
“Buffalo Soldiers programs offer hands-on, interpretive exhibits where you can learn how to track an animal, fish with a cane pole, cook over a campfire, dress up in costume and even saddle a horse” says Padilla. “These programs are entertaining, engaging and fun for the whole family. There is no way anyone can leave our programs and not feel a connection to the past.”
Programs are offered across the state this spring, including several programs in the Austin area, as well as Lake Bob Sandlin and Lake Brownwood state parks. Interested audiences are encouraged to visit texasstateparks.org/buffalosoldiers to learn more and find upcoming Buffalo Soldiers calendar listings. Volunteer opportunities also exist. Learn more by visiting the Buffalo Soldier volunteer website.
To schedule a visit for your group or school, contact Sgt. Luis Padilla at BuffaloSoldiers@tpwd.texas.gov or (512) 389-8569.
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