by Cori Hilsgen
Local author and artist Douglas Wood recently performed at St. John’s Prep School to more than 500 students from local Catholic schools.
He introduced students to folklore, history and inspirational life stories about nature, wildlife and the earth. He also led the audience in a few rowdy tunes which involved hand and arm gestures.
Wood is an author, artist, musician, naturalist and wilderness guide. He has written both adult and children’s books and currently has more than 2.5-million copies of books in print.
He has received numerous literary awards, including the Christopher Medal for “Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth” and the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award for “Old Turtle.”
Wood plays 12- and 6-string guitars, banjo and mandolin. He has a special passion for communicating with words and music the inspiration he finds in nature, not just as a place to visit, but as a place to call home. His talent for storytelling helps him to discuss the beauty and mystery of nature and how it relates to the human spirit.
SJP National Honor Society students served as hosts and discussion leaders for the program. Visiting elementary students were divided by grade level, and other SJP students also joined the elementary student groups. SJP students led their groups of students through a series of discussion questions about the stories and helped the younger students grasp a deeper meaning behind Wood’s stories.
Wood’s presentation was part of SJP’s visiting author program. Principal Paul Menard said they were thrilled to welcome Wood and the visiting schools to SJP.
“We look forward to our students interacting with and serving as mentors and role models to young people,” Menard said.
The five visiting schools included All Saints Academy from St. Joseph, St. Mary’s from Melrose, St. Boniface from Cold Spring, Holy Family from Albany and Sacred Heart from Freeport. Each student received a SJP cinch sack.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.