CHADRON – Jon Vanderford with KOLN/KGIN TV in Lincoln and Grand Island visited the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center on the Chadron State College campus Thursday, May 26, to film several segments for the station’s human interest and rural life magazine called “Pure Nebraska.” His wife and co-anchor, Taryn Vanderford, along with Brad Anderson also filmed segments at the center.
One of the segments will likely air the week of June 13 and all three will be available online at 1011now.com later this month.
Sarah Polak, director of the Sandoz Center, said the segments on “Pure Nebraska” will be a great way to show Lincoln viewers the Sandoz Center’s great resources.
“‘Pure Nebraska’ highlights things special about our state. By having “Pure Nebraska” visit the Center, we are able to show people who may not be familiar with the Center, or western Nebraska, what we have to offer and what we contribute to the heritage of the state,” Polak said.
Jon Vanderford said his crew likes to travel around the state and show viewers interesting places to visit.
“We have been wanting to travel to the Chadron area to do some stories for a while. We wanted to learn more about this famous Nebraska author, and what our viewers can enjoy during a visit to the Sandoz Center,” he said.
Friday morning after their stay in Chadron, the film crew and Jon and Taryn’s children took State Highway 27 south of Gordon, and visited Sandoz’s grave and the family's orchard.
“The Sandhills are some of the most breathtaking we've seen. It was raining hard, but that didn't stop us. I think we were amazed at Mari’s life story and at how many books she actually wrote. It was interesting to learn about her youth and how that had an impact on her writing,” Vanderford said.
Polak said most visitors from eastern Nebraska find it interesting that Sandoz lived in Lincoln for several years and the buildings where she lived and worked are still there.
Some visitors to the center have never read Sandoz’s books and others have read all of them, Polak said.
“In general, Mari’s honesty is what resonates with people the most. The majority of visitors have read either ‘Old Jules’ or ‘Crazy Horse.’ Her examination of these two men and their lives in a rather unglamorous fashion resonates with people, especially after they have visited here,” Polak said. “Mari does a great job of describing the landscape, but once people visit, they better understand the conditions and lives that Mari describes in her books.”
The Sandoz Center is open year round and admission is free. Archival resources are open by appointment to interested individuals or groups. Details are available by contacting Polak at email@example.com.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator