Fort Donelson National Battlefield
Fort Dover, Tennessee
Completed: July 11, 2013
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this park was not just about the Civil War. The park site has also been interpreted to include the natural resources found here. The patch pictured above highlights an American Bald Eagle. Fort Donelson sits on the Cumberland River, a large enough ecosystem to support Bald Eagles. A nest is easily viewed within the park.
This is considered at a Junior Ranger level because the upper age group is limited to ages 9 – 12. The lower age group is for 5 – 8 year olds. The ranger on duty encouraged me to complete this Junior Ranger program.
Activities include;Create a Fort Donelson Journal, Civil War Team Players, Watching Wildlife, Honor our Heroes, What is Fort Donelson?, Highways of the 1860s, Investigating the Past and Why Should We Care?.
Besides preserving the battlefield the site also includes the Fort Donelson National Cemetery. Touring the cemetery to answer the questions on the Honor our Heroes page was enlightening. Only Union soldiers are buried here, including African American men who were called United States Colored Troops.
At Corinth railroads were critical to the war effort. Here at Fort Donelson the rivers are the highways. Besides the Cumberland River, nearby and critical to the war effort are the Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers.
The Watching Wildlife page makes you realize that once the war was over and the land preserved it became a haven for wildlife. As mentioned before an eagle’s nest can be seen down by the river. No eagle was seen on the day we visited, but we were told it is not unusual to see one in the area. Worth a trip back to this site.
Booklet and badge
Junior Ranger Certificate