WHO: Red River National Wildlife Refuge & the Friends of RRNWR

WHAT: Two public presentations by Wildwood Dean, renowned folklorist, outdoorsman & author

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 at 10:15 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. with book signing afterwards

WHERE: Visitor Center, Red River National Wildlife Refuge

150 Eagle Bend Point, Bossier City, LA (formerly 555 Sunflower Road)

WHY: Part of the day-long (8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.), public Grand Open House to celebrate the new $3.8M Visitor Center at Red River NWR

ETC: Open to the public. Activities include Exhibit Gallery, cart tours of the Refuge, speaker Wildwood Dean (10:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.), bird walk (8:30 a.m.), Art in Nature art exhibit, children’s activities & Nature Store.

CONTACT: Nancy Menasco, president, Friends of Red River NWR, 318-868-3255

Pat Stinson, manager, Red River NWR, 318-742-1219

Lynn Stewart, vice president, Friends of Red River NWR, 318-518-7295 (cell)

About Wildwood Dean’s RED RIVER JOURNEYS presentation:

Red River Journeys includes a rare insight into a letter, hand written in 1804 from William Dunbar to President Jefferson. It takes the audience around the Great Red River Raft with the Freeman-Custis Expedition, and peeks into the wild steamboat travel on the upper Red River that followed. The steamboat era between 1831 and 1872 is astounding. Viewers of the PowerPoint presentation will join Uncle Wallace in a lyrical journey, learn how Red River helped win World War II and learn about a famous journey down Red River by the “King of the Cowboys.” Also included are the unique boats Wildwood Dean has come to know, and insight into his lifelong Red River Journeys.

Background, Wildwood Dean of Bonham, Texas, from the speaker himself:

“I was born Dean Price to Joe and Sybil Price in the Red River Valley in 1941. I grew up in Dad’s footsteps and learned from him how to tie hoop nets, rig them and fish them; how to build river boats and read the river; how to trap fur-bearing animals and make leather and rawhide and tan fur. Dad taught me the uses of all the native plants along Red River. ‘Every thing has a duty in life,’ was Dad’s favorite saying and I adhere to that philosophy as well. I still rely on the properties of the Prickly Ash to treat my cuts and bruises, aches and pains, and to keep my joints limber.

“As a young man I continued to rely on nature and Red River to support my family by designing works of art and furniture from dogwood, rattan, willow, and other raw materials. In 1998 the Texas Forestry Association recognized my work by awarding me their ‘Architectural Excellence in Wood Design’ award. I appeared on local and regional TV shows including Bob Phillips’ Texas Country Reporter show, and lifestyle was the subject of PBS documentaries.

“In 2002 I retired to enjoy Red River and write about her. I made a 14-day, 400-mile canoe trip down Red River. I authored two books: Treasure River, a historical novel about the Red River published in 2006, and River of Dreams, my memoirs about growing up on Red River, published in 2008.

“I joined the Texas Folklore Society in 1998 and became a ‘folklorist.’ I presented papers at the 1999 and 2009 Texas folklore meetings and the 2010 Texas State Historical Association meeting. I am a contributing writer to the annual Texas Folklore publication.

“My favorite pastime is playing ClickySticks, an invention for which I hold a patent pending. They are similar to bones that are played around the world. I performed in 2002 as a member of the Rhythm Bones Society of America in Louisville, Kentucky, and play bones for ‘Too Long in the Saddle Band’ of Durant Oklahoma.”