ranch life learning center cowgirl magazine

The vision is coming to life! The groundbreaking ceremony for the Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center featuring Hank the Cowdog took place Friday morning (Oct. 14) at the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

Envisioned as an indoor and outdoor comprehensive learning experience for the public, The Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center will provide all ages an immersive ranching experience, guided by the famous character of Hank the Cowdog.

“Hank the Cowdog author John R. Erickson has captured the complexities of the ranching industry in a format that is so natural for children to enjoy while learning through the character of Hank,” said Julie Hodges, NRHC Helen DeVitt Jones Endowed Director of Education. “Hank’s influence has touched audiences across the country and beyond. With Hank as the guide, The Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center is expected to be an incredible local and national-level attraction.”

The overall experience will artfully meld the latest in high-tech exhibit technology–such as holograms, video projection, and simulation tables–with authentic, hands-on ranching exploration including activities with cowboy gear, water resources, and livestock feeds.

Indoor exhibits will cover many aspects of modern ranching. Visitors will walk away with a greater knowledge of the ranching industry and its impact on their daily lives. Each exhibit will emphasize the science, technology, values, and grit it takes to be a modern-day rancher.

Outdoor exhibits will bring Hank’s fictional ranch to life. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore a half-acre of exhibits and natural areas focused on natural resources, wildlife, range nutrition, grassland, horses, cowboys, ranch equipment and roles of a ranch family.

“We want to continue telling our story of heritage and history, but how do we tell our story to a public that is largely detached from agriculture?” said Jim Bret Campbell, NRHC Executive Director. “History may not be the only story we need to tell when so many people today do not grow up around horses, livestock, and land.”

In 2016, the NRHC worked with Hank the Cowdog author, John R. Erickson, to publish a series of books and establish a classroom curriculum called Ranch Life Learning. The books and educator
resources help students learn science and social studies through Hank the Cowdog and his ranch. The Ranch Life Learning series has become a classroom staple due to its relatability and real-world application. Now, The Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center will bring those lessons to life in a hands-on way for NRHC patrons of all ages.

The groundbreaking signifies the beginning of the construction phase of The Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center. Construction is anticipated to be completed in Summer 2023.

While construction has started, there is still an opportunity to reach a fundraising goal to support this transformative facility for years to come. For more information on The Cash Family Ranch Life Learning Center and how to contribute to the project, visit ranchingheritage.org.

(Courtesy of NRHC).