Documentary on McGuffey Wildlife Preserve will be screened

Staff report


A documentary film about the McGuffey Wildlife Preserve will premiere Saturday at 10 a.m., at Kravitz’s Deli meeting room, 3135 Belmont Ave.

Veteran local television and radio broadcaster Tricia Perry will introduce the one-hour documentary, which she narrated. Ian Renne, a biology professor at Youngstown State University, is featured in the film, walking the facility grounds and highlighting natural points of interest.

The DVD was produced by the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society and Armstrong Cable, and it will be shown on local Armstrong community access channels.

Admission to Saturday’s screening is $6 ($5 for WHMHS members), and DVDs of the documentary will be available to purchase for $20. The event will include entertainment by Dolores DePietro and a raffle. Reservations are suggested; call WHMHS chairman Richard S. Scarsella at 330-726-8277.

A national historic landmark, the McGuffey preserve, once the McGuffey homestead, was donated by WHMHS to Mill Creek Metroparks in 1998.

Located on McGuffey Road in Coitsville Township, the facility comprises more than 70 acres of woods, reforested pastures and trails.

Features of the property include the McGuffey family well and pond, a Native American lookout located atop an unusual geological formation called a drumlin, and assorted flora, fauna and wildlife. A memorial plaque, noting the designation of the property as a historic site, is visible on a boulder, dedicated in 1966 by the society.

William Holmes McGuffey was educated in Youngstown and published his first of seven Eclectic Readers in 1836, which are still in print today. Known as “America’s Schoolmaster” and “America’s Storyteller,” he is credited with teaching millions to read.

A McGuffey Museum is located at Miami University of Ohio, Oxford, where he was a professor. He is buried with his second wife on the grounds of the University of Charlottesville, N.C.

The Youngstown WHMHS chapter is the last in the nation and seeks to keep the McGuffey legacy alive. At one time, the National Federation of McGuffey Societies had more than 100,000 members.

McGuffey Readers are still used today in Christian schools, rural schools and overseas. They are considered the first American textbook series.

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