Eat solar-baked cookies at Whitman Mission

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The 75th anniversary celebration continues at Whitman Mission National Historic Site, 328 Whitman Mission Road, this weekend.

At 1-4 p.m. Mission staff will bake cookies in a solar oven supplied by the Walla Walla Sustainable Living Center. The cookies celebrate innovations the park is making as it moves into the future. Whitman Mission has installed more than 70 solar panels, saving money and lessening the park's carbon footprint.

In addition to the cookies there will be other solar-related activities. From 7:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday, an old-time contra and square dance will be held. Members of the Wednesday Night Contra Band will provide the music. Each dance, a combination of simple steps, will be taught before it begins. The steps are then "called" as they are performed. The public is encouraged to come and participate or bring lawn chairs and sit and listen to the old-time music. Free watermelon will be available. This event will take place on the lawn in front of the Visitor Center.

Tuesday evening is be the second "Bird Safari" with bird expert Mike Denny. The group will meet in front of the Visitor Center at 6 p.m. The walk will last about 1&1/2 hours. There is no fee for evening events.

On weekdays, 1:30-3 p.m., visitors can join rangers as they sing songs, do crafts or practice pioneer skills.

Mondays are music days with Jeanne Newton. This week she'll be singing songs about the Oregon Trail. The rest of the week, visitors can play games, do crafts or learn pioneer skills. A different activity will be presented each weekday. The special demonstrations and activities will continue all summer. A complete schedule of weekend and evening events can be found at the park's website: www.nps.gov/whmi. Whitman Mission is open seven days a week. The visitor center is open from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The park grounds are open until dark. Every morning there is a ranger led walk at 11:15 a.m. The entrance fee is $3 for adults; children under 16 get in free. A family pass good for a whole year is $10. Senior passes and other federal passes are honored.

Visitors may view a 10-minute slideshow, visit the museum and take a self-guided tour of the mission grounds. The grounds include the original building locations, Great Grave, Whitman Memorial and re-constructed Oregon Trail ruts. The Mission is 7 miles west of Walla Walla off Highway 12. For information, call 509-529-2761 or visit nps.gov/whmi.

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