To honor the race’s namesake, who delivered mail along the North Shore of Lake Superior for more than 20 years in the late 1800s, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon has a tradition of mushers carrying mail with them along the course from Two Harbors to Duluth. This year, a little piece of a Vista View Elementary classroom will be making the 400 mile trek, too.
A collage of sled dogs created by students in Amy Tucci’s second grade class last year was chosen to adorn the envelopes of all the trail mail at this year’s race, which starts Jan. 28.
Tucci said she had displayed the artwork at both the Iditarod and Beargrease races, and that led to in invitation to submit it for consideration. Being selected, she said, was a huge honor.
The artwork is not the students’ only connection to sled dog races. Tucci uses the races to engage students in lessons about wildlife, science, writing, mathematics and more.
“We tracked the weather and hours of daylight and snow amounts. We researched animals that mushers might see along the North Shore and wrote friendly letters to mushers,” she said about last year’s race, adding that musher Ryan Redington shared a video of an Arctic fox from when he was racing the Iditarod.
The learning experience makes such an impression that former students will even come back to Tucci’s classroom during the races to check on mushers’ progress.
Learn more about trail mail at the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon at www.beargrease.com/trail-mail.