River Raisin National Battlefield Park Foundation seeks to preserve, restore and appropriately develop Battlefield lands and associated sites within Wayne and Monroe Counties in Michigan for the benefit of present and future generations. National Park Service (NPS) enabling legislation for the Battlefield prohibits the federal government from using appropriated dollars to acquire properties. The Battlefield Foundation has a Battlefield Protection fund that is used to assist with the costs associated with property owners donating land to the Battlefield Foundation or National Park Service and to acquire critical Battlefield lands. Contributions to the Battlefield Protection fund are greatly appreciated.
River Raisin National Battlefield Park Foundation works in partnership with schools throughout the world to develop and implement hands-on interactive lesson plans for teachers to engage students in the history of the War of 1812 in the Northwest Territories with an emphasis on the Battles of the River Raisin. Eight curriculums are currently developed and being used by teachers with students ranging from elementary grades through high school. Additional curriculum is needed in many subjects from American Indian history to chemistry, environmental sciences and physics! Through partnerships with the Wayne County Regional Educational Services Agency and the Monroe County Intermediate School District the Battlefield has begun to fully implement its educational vision of reaching every child within a three-hour drive of the Battlefield, which is currently about 4 million school children. In addition, the Battlefield seeks to reach students throughout the United States, American Indian Nations, Canada, France and Great Britain. You can help by contributing to the Battlefield Education fund that provides stipends for teachers to work with the National Park Service to develop new and innovative curriculum and field trip experiences.
To help promote or use the Battlefield’s curriculums or plan a field trip to the Battlefield please visit the Teacher Resources section of our website or click on the link below.
Major Muskrat’s History:
The concept for Major Muskrat was created in 2011 by a group of Battlefield volunteers who were working on the development of a National Park Service Junior Ranger Program and Trail Activities in partnership with the National Park Foundation. The volunteers included young children, teenagers, educators and other adults who envisioned a positive cartoon type character that could connect the history and importance of the War of 1812 with people of all ages and backgrounds. Many animals native to the western Lake Erie shores were considered as possible mascots. The great legions associated with the muskrat surrounding the Battles of the River Raisin and local culture resulted in its selection as the mascot ambassador for the 393 unit of the National Park System. As the representative of America’s only National Battlefield Park dedicated to telling the story of the War of 1812 the distinguished group of Junior Ranger Volunteers decided the most fitting and appropriate name and rank for the mascot was that of Major. Major Muskrat was envisioned!
Once envisioned the team was challenge with how to conceive Major Muskrat in a way that he would come alive in the hearts and minds of all people. A diligent effort was made to locate an artist capable of seeing the vision for Major Muskrat. After an exhausting search artist Brad Schreiber from By Design Graphic Arts and Marketing produced the very first Major Muskrat drawing that ignited the imagination of the entire team and community in unexpected ways. On August 15, 2011, Major Muskrat was official conceived and on January 19, 2012 Major Muskrat made his debut life size appearance during the 199th commemoration of the Battles of the River Raisin Dance Through Time event.
Major Muskrat’s life size mascot was made possible by the generous contributions of many Major Muskrat Mascot Founders Club. Since the Major’s debut he has become a major magnet for the Battlefield winning over the hearts of everyone he meets.
Major Muskrat Educational Partnership:
Major Muskrat advocates for the Battlefield and the importance of a sound understanding of America’s profound history. Major Muskrat has conducted for the 126th United States Army Band and loves to visit schools and community events to bring smiles on faces as he imports the importance of history and remembering the great sacrifice paid for freedom. Each Major Muskrat appearance requires a team of three people. The Major’s on-going support is vital to the educational mission of the Battlefield and National Park Service. Please consider a major gift of time or resources to ensure Major Muskrat continues to open the doors of knowledge in youth throughout the world!