Monday Mar 31 2008
Adult School teacher hosts bus trips
By: Gloria Beverage
Tour of historic Colfax scheduled April 11
Like so many other residents, Katie Biggs is in love with the foothills. "We live in such a beautiful place," she said. "You can't drive any place without seeing animals, wildflowers, orchards and beautiful homes." An instructor for Placer School for Adults for 20 years, Biggs has found a fun way to share her love of local history with her students. Biggs' students are residents of five of the Adult School's older adult programs in convalescent hospitals, assisted living facilities and senior apartments. "I teach music appreciation, ceramics, A Day in History, current news and events and armchair travel," she said. The programs are ones requested by the residents, however, they can shift as the population and their abilities change, Biggs said. One program that has developed a loyal following are the country rides coordinated by Biggs. Since the school district has a wheelchair accessible bus, Biggs, who has had a bus driver's license for years, takes residents for country drives. It was one way to get people out to see the country, she said. Sometimes we'd go to Winchester Estates and look at the beautiful homes. Other times we'd go down Highway 193 and see the fruit trees and blossoms. Sometimes I'd take people around Auburn to see the historic areas. Since many of the residents in the centers moved here to be closer to their families, Biggs explained many are not familiar with the area. It was a way to acquaint them with where they're living, she said. On the other end of the spectrum are the students who have lived in the area all their lives, but are no longer able to get out on their own. They would share all kinds of tales, she said. Those tales range from the story behind the name of the road to the history of some of the homes. One time a lifelong Placer County resident brought her photo albums along and showed pictures of what the area looked like in her youth. That trip took us two hours, Biggs recalled. It's like a Grayline tour. I have a microphone so I can give them a running history of what's been here, describe the flora and fauna. Eventually, the students' families began asking to go along. That's when Biggs decided to offer tours through the Adult School. Last year she organized a driving tour of the state Capitol and other historic sites in Sacramento followed by tea at the Earl Gray Tea Room in Old Sacramento. In the fall she led a driving tour of Sutter Creek followed by tea at a local shop. This month she's planning a tour of the historic buildings in Colfax. The tour will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on April 11 starting at the Tech/Adult Center, 13055 Bill Francis Drive in Auburn. Imagining what Colfax was like a century ago becomes easy as you ride along the tree-lined streets that once were home to pioneer families and enterprising businessmen, Biggs said. Information for the tour was collected from Colfax Connections, a book written by former Colfax Record columnist and reporter Pat Jones as well as the Walk About prepared by the Colfax Area Historical Society and newspaper articles. Cost is $30. Seating is limited to 24 people. On May 16, she will lead a tour of Historic Folsom. Participants will visit the Folsom History Museum, the interpretative area and the historic Powerhouse. Following a no-host lunch, participants will have time to browse through the shops on Sutter Street. Cost for the Folsom tour is $38, plus the $3 admission fee at the museum. To register for either tour, call the Placer Adult School at 885-8585. If anybody has pictures or stories, this is not a totally scripted tour, she said. I don't think I know it all. I'm learning continually. That is what life long learning is all about.